Life in England was pretty rough in 1977, especially if you were a young person. The economy was struggling, jobs were scarce, and those jobs you could get had little or no regard for your safety. That was the environment that surrounded the creation of the latest EHSDA Song of the Week, the Clash’s “Career Opportunities.”
Band leaders Joe Strummer and Mick Jones wrote the song to illustrate the dreary career prospects available in Margaret Thatcher’s England, where the choice for working class folks seemed to be menial labor or unemployment. The 2-minute blast of vitriol fit right in on the Clash’s explosive debut album, widely regarded as one of the greatest punk albums ever made.
CBS decided not to release the album in the U.S. in 1977 because it wasn’t radio friendly, it was only available as an import and ended up selling over 100,000 copies. Eventually, a reworked version of the album was released in the U.S. in July 1979, after the band’s second album Give ‘Em Enough Rope, and six months before the classic double album London Calling.
“Career Opportunities” cemented the Clash’s position as a champion of the working class and a sharp critic of governmental corruption. And it didn’t hurt that they rocked furiously in the process.