The CLASH – ” The Clash ” Released 8th April 1977

Posted: April 8, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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On this day in 1977, The Clash dropped their self-titled debut album on CBS Records, and it still stands up as one of punk’s most essential releases. With their speedy and reckless yet musically adept political punk rock, The Clash arguably became the most influential punk band of their era. On their debut LP, frontman Joe Strummer took on uncomfortable topics like class warfare and imperialism, and their gritty songs exuded a frantic rage and the spirit of alienated youth.

Released on 8th April 1977 .Written and recorded over just three weeks in February 1977 for a paltry £4,000, Most of the album was conceived on the 18th floor of a council high rise on London’s Harrow Road, in a flat that was rented by Mick Jones’s grandmother, who frequently went to see their live concerts, it would go on to reach No. 12 on the UK charts, and has been included on many retrospective rankings as one of the greatest punk albums of all time.

Songs on the album were composed by guitarists Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, with the notable exception of the reggae cover “Police and Thieves”. Several songs from these sessions, including “Janie Jones”, “White Riot”, and “London’s Burning” became classics of the punk genre and were among the first punk songs to see significant presence on singles charts. The album featured Jones and Strummer sharing guitar and vocal duties, with Paul Simonon on bass and Terry Chimes on drums. The subject of the opening track, “Janie Jones”, was a famous brothel keeper in London during the 1970s. “Remote Control” was written by Mick Jones after the Anarchy Tour and contains pointed observations about the civic hall bureaucrats who had cancelled concerts, the police, big business and especially record companies.

“Career Opportunities”, the opening track of the second side of the album, attacks the political and economic situation in England at the time, citing the lack of jobs available, and the dreariness and lack of appeal of those that were available.  “Protex Blue”, sung by Mick Jones, is about a 1970s brand of condom. It was inspired by the contraceptive vending machine in the Windsor Castle’s toilets.

The version of “White Riot” featured on the album was not recorded for the album; the original demo (recorded at Beaconsfield Studios before the band signed to CBS) was used instead.

“Police & Thieves” was added to the album when the group realised that the track listing was too short. Another cover the band played at these sessions was The Wailer’s “Dancing Shoes”. “Garageland” was written in response to music critic Charles Shaar Murray’s damning review of the Clash’s early appearance at the Sex Pistols Screen on the Green concert – “The Clash are the kind of garage band who should be returned to the garage immediately, preferably with the engine running”

The Clash’s first official recording was the single for “White Riot”, that was released by CBS Records in March 1977. Then in April, CBS released their self-titled debut album, The Clash, in the United Kingdom, but refused to release it in the United States, saying that the sound was not “radio friendly”. A US version of the album with a modified track listing four songs from the original version were replaced with five non-album singles and B-sides—was released by Epic Records in 1979, after the UK original became the best-selling import album of all time in the United States. Terry Chimes left the band for the second time soon after the recording, so only Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon were featured on the album’s cover, The album’s front cover photo, shot by Kate Simon, was taken in the alleyway directly opposite the front door of the band’s ‘Rehearsal Rehearsals’ building in Camden Market. Chimes was credited as “Tory Crimes”.

In the same month, the band also released an EP single, Capital Radio, which was given away to NMEs readers. In May, CBS released the single “Remote Control” without asking them first, and, in September, “Complete Control, produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry, was Topper Headon’s first recording with the band.

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