Classics: The Clash - London Calling
antiGUY kicks off this Classics by telling us how The Clash changed the punk world.
While the Damned will always be my favorite UK punk group, hell punk group period, there is no denying the genius of The Clash and London Calling is chrysalis of the changes in punk that would follow. To punk this album was like Sgt Peppersor Pet Sounds, a bold new exploration in style and sound that opened the doors to monumental albums that followed; Sandinista! and their commercial breakthrough Combat Rock. But it will always be London Calling that people look back on as The Clash at their height in terms of creativity.
At the time it was a rather ambitious endeavor. A double album from a punk band at the height of a recession when people weren't buying albums, let alone punk albums but this album did find an audience and we still hear the reverberations of its release to this day in the current crop of punk bands that got their start right here.
Stylistically this album touched on too many genres to list; it firmly broke out of the punk rock mold and opened the doors to other genres cross-pollinating the style. Reggae, rockabilly, ska, New Orleans tinged R&B, pop, lounge are just a few of the elements Joe Strummer and Company incorporated into this masterpiece. To call London Calling a classic is a no brainer but it really is so much more than that, it is a testament to a band that wasn't afraid to try different things and some may disagree with this next statement because sonically they are rather different but this album really was the closest thing we have had to the Beatles no-genre barred execution since Sgt Pepper was released. It really is that good and really is that important. If you don't have this album in your collection, all is not right in the world and you should correct that unfortunate oversight right now. If you do have it, do yourself a big favor and after you read all the reviews here today, go grab it (if you have headphones even better) and crank that baby up and you will remember what made London Calling a classic not only for punk rock but for all music. Again, it really is that good.
Revolution Rock, you know it!
Now Greenmuse tells us how this album became the father in his musical holy trinity.
he who f**ks nuns, later joins the church
For me there are three albums in my collection that stand head and shoulders above every other cd I own. This writing is about the holy father of this trinity: London Calling. London Calling is THE definitive Clash album. Everything about this album comes to mind when I hear the words "the Clash", from the music itself to that immortal image on the cover of Paul seconds away from smashing his bass into the floor of the palladium.
But the music, oh the music. An entire double album of choice cuts. Cuts that really show why the Clash were one of the most important bands of the UK Punk Movement.(you can keep your Sex Pistols, they get a resounding "meh" from this fellow)now most albums have at least one low spot, so a double should have a few to its name. But London Calling has NONE. This release is as solid as one of the Easter Island heads. Hell its not an album, its a monolith .(granted I regard Sandinista! as the best thing ever recorded. Sandinista! is great because of its flaws). London Calling was the first proper Clash album I purchased, black market Clash was my first Clash album and first actual cd I bought(well bought is a strong word, I got it from BMG for a penny). I wish I could say I was a lifelong fan of the Clash whose dad had all their releases on vinyl, but I'm not. I didn't get into punk rock till senior year of high school(which is further ago than I care to admit). Sure, I knew of the Clash from "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" and "Rock the Casbah". But I didn't regard them as anything special. Then I got into op ivy, which is the holy son of my musical trinity. So of course I delved into op ivy and their influences and came upon the Clash. I had no money at the time and mp3's were years away so I went without. Then my first day of the first job I had, I heard it. I was there at the pizza place folding dough into garlic rolls when I heard the now, infamous opening chords to "London Calling". I got off work at 3, being paid per day, and in cash, I had London Calling in my hot little hands by 3:30.by 4pm the cd was in the cd player and I was laying on the bed, hands clasped behind head and my mind a million miles away in London in 1979.
I'm not gonna bore you with going over
the tracks on the album. By all rights you should have it yourself and
know it like the back of your hand. If not. Go out And get it. If you ever
wondered what the big to do over the Clash is, get this album .if you ever
thought punk rock is boring music played by hacks who cant Play proper
music, get this album. If you like rock music, get this album. This is
essential music for people who say they like music.
Finally Jonathon Sanders closes this Classics out with some thoughts on this landmark album.
The Clash . . . what can you say about a band that took the burgeoning punk scene of the late seventies and made it their own? The world lost a songwriting mind of true brilliance when Joe Strummer died, you'll really start to understand that fact when you sit back and let London Calling take over your stereo. It's hard to classify. From the opening staccato strains of the title track, and the signature harmonics of the vocals (and the roughness of Strummer's voice) to the almost pop nature of "Train In Vain", the album's closing track, you get something for everyone. The only setback is that everyone doesn't know it yet. This album serves as a perfect introduction to a band that really made their mark over subsequent albums, but yet never exceeded the overall feeling of rightness you'll get when you hear this album. That's why even though it's hard to quantify exactly why I love this album, it will never fall out of my top ten.
The Clash - London Calling
Release Date: Dec 14, 1979