Joseph Hill Speaks on “Two Sevens Clash”

Remembering Culture’s Armagideon Theme Song

Thirty-five years ago was July 7, 1977—a numerological cataclysm of epic proportions in a year of turmoil and great music. (Seven/seven/seventy-seven was sorta like the original 12.21.12.) But none of the the apocalyptic anthems released during that fraught year could touch Joseph Hill’s inspired ravings on the classic Culture selection “Two Sevens Clash.” Before the late great Mr Hill’s passing, we had a chance to reason with him about the tune. Here’s what he had to say…

Tell me about the song “Two Sevens Clash”

I never know that the people would take it in sucha  context. But it was all about the people. Because there was a cotton tree outside Federal Police Station under which they used to carry slaves, tie them, beat them. So one Friday evening I was going over my mom’s house. Sat in the back of a bent overland bus, and a spirit came to me and said, what if God cut down this cotton tree right before these policemen? Could they arrest God? And I came back the morning and I went to the hills and I saw my bredren and I start to tell them how I heard it and what I started writing. And by the end of the day the tree was being chopped up right before the police station.

So you must have known you were onto something.

I was black up in me righteousness.

Chris Wilson (Heartbeat Records founder): There was a lot of people who said to me, Nuttin don’t clash. But you don’t know what happened on that day. We might know some day. When Christ was born, nobody knew til 30 years later. When Mohammad was born, nobody did know he was gonna be Mohammed. We don’t know what happened on that day. We might know some day. Somebody might have said something on the day and we’re still feeling it but we don’t even know.

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