Tuesday, July 19, 2011


YEAR: 1979


TRACK LISTING: London Calling, Brand New Cadillac, Jimmy Jazz, Hateful, Rudie Can't Fail, Spanish Bombs, The Right Profile, Lost in the Supermarket, Clampdown, The Guns of Brixton, Wrong 'Em Boyo, Death or Glory, Koka Kola, The Card Cheat, Lover's Rock, Four Horsemen, I'm Not Down, Revolution Rock, Train In Vain

BONUS TRACKS: "Train In Vain" was originally a hidden track and not listed on the label or the cover. The song was originally going to be a free giveaway from the NME but somehow it never happened and the song was added to the album.

IMPRESSIONS: What can one say about the monumental megalith that is the Clash's LONDON CALLING double album? It's got something for everyone from the clarion call of the title track (partially inspired by the Three Mile Island meltdown) to the classic punk of "Clampdown" -- from the smoldering reggae beat of Paul Simonon's "The Guns of Brixton" to the driving rockabilly of the cover song "Brand New Cadillac" (later to be covered again by Stray Cats' Brian Setzer) -- from the manic energetic silliness of "Wrong 'Em Boyo" to the poppy "Train in Vain" which pointed the way to Big Audio Dynamite even at this early stage. It's the album which cemented the world's opinion that the Clash were the only band that mattered in 1979.

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: London Calling, Spanish Bombs, Clampdown, The Guns of Brixton, Wrong 'Em Boyo, I'm Not Down, Train In Vain

FACT SHEET: LONDON CALLING was the Clash's third album. After being in the vanguard of punk, The Clash experimented with many different styles of music here including ska, funk, rockabilly, jazz and reggae. The double album contains a few covers including Vince Taylor's "Brand New Cadillac" and a magnificent version of the ska group the Rulers' 1967 classic "Wrong 'Em Boyo". LONDON CALLING was famously proclaimed "the greatest album of the 80s" by Rolling Stone magazine despite the fact that it was released in 1979; perhaps the January 1980 U.S. release led them to rationalize that it was an 80s album but its not. The justly famous album cover photo by Pennie Smith shows Paul Simonon smashing his bass in a fit of anger; the photo is slightly out of focus because the frightened photographer was literally snapping the picture as she was backpedalling on her heels. The cover design of course is an homage to Elvis Presley's eponymous first album. The cover is so iconic that it was issued as a stamp by the Royal Mail in 2010 as one of their 10 "Classic Album Cover" sets.

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