The CLASH – ” London Calling ” Classic Albums Released 14th December 1979

Posted: December 14, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Image result for london calling the clash

This day in 1979, I walked home from Virgin Records exactly 38 years ago today with a plastic bag containing the double album by The Clash. It was priced as a single LP but had two vinyl records tucked inside. The inner sleeves had “hand written” lyrics and it has to be the lyrics I’ve read most often. Both historically and personally  The Clash, London Calling had a huge profound impact.

The Punk-Rock legends’ third album was released in 1979 by CBS Records. Like so many great albums included on the Best Of’s lists: genres switch and there is an ambitious mix of sounds and musical ideas. London Calling addresses social displacement, unemployment and racial conflict – drug use and responsibility was also touched upon. From Lover’s Rock’s messages of safe sex to the anthemic rally of the title track; it is an album that has defined the decade and continues to influence bands. It has sold over five-million copies and is thought of as one of the defining records of the Punk era. London Calling captured The Clash’s energy and primal urges; their loud and vital voice and social consciousness. If previous albums (from the band) focused on British sounds and ideas: London Calling incorporated more American sounds and suggestions. Rebellious, romantic and exhilarating: a true one-of-a-kind treasure from one of Britain’s greatest bands of all time.

It was released in the United Kingdom on 14th December 1979 through CBS Records, and in the United States in January 1980 through Epic Records. The album represented a change in The Clash’s musical style, featuring elements of ska, funk, pop, soul, jazz, rockabilly, and reggae more prominently than in their previous two albums.

London Calling was widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time. In 1987, it was ranked on Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Best Albums of the Last Twenty Years”. In 1993, NME ranked the album at number six on its list of The Greatest Albums of the ’70s. Vibe magazine included the double album on its list of the 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century. Q magazine ranked London Calling at number four on its 1999 list of the 100 Greatest British Albums, and, in 2002, included the album in its list of the 100 Best Punk Albums

This fantastic catchy song was not listed on the cover of the original album so it was my first experience with so called bonus tracks that is so common these days. The Lyrics was however printed on the inner sleeve.

This album has been in my top ten since it was released, it is a classic rock’n roll album that everyone should own. I do not concider it a punk rock album musically but the attitude that reeks off this album is quintessential punk. The styles and genres are excitingly mixed and woven together, but laid on top of  a punk rock foundation.

Depending on the source, the working title for what would become London Calling was either The New Testament or The Last Testament. The story works better if you believe Kosmo Vinyl’s argument for The Last Testamentthat The Clash intended London Calling to be the last rock ‘n’ roll album, the paired bookend to Elvis’ first album, right down to the pink-and-green lettering.

Since The Clash continued to make rock music after London Calling, it’s silly to take the “last rock ‘n’ roll album” assertion literally or as evidence of a collective ego gone mad. I think it’s more accurate to say that The Clash approached London Calling from the perspective of “What if this were the last rock ‘n’ roll record—what would that sound like, feel like, be like?” Given their concern about impending world doom expressed so clearly in the title track, they may well have felt on a subconscious level that London Calling could very well be the last rock ‘n’ roll record.

I can’t think of any other album that triggers as many different emotions, ignites so much passion and authenticates so many deeply held personal values. A work of tremendous energy, London Calling is also extraordinarily energizing. At the end of the record you may not be any clearer than Joe Strummer was about what we can do to change this fucked-up world of ours, but you leave with more confidence that somehow we’ll figure it out. More than any other record in my collection, London Calling can pick me up when I’m down, and give me hope whenever I feel all is hopeless.

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