ARTIST: The Clash
TITLE: The Clash
YEAR RELEASED: 1977 (1979 US Version)
CHART ACTION: #126
SINGLES: White Riot (#38 UK), Remote Control, Complete Control (#28 UK), Clash City Rockers (#35 UK), (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais (#32 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I’m So Bored with the USA, London’s Burning, Career Opportunities.
LINEUP: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Terry Chimes (UK), Topper Headon (some US tracks)
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Stunning debut by the Only Band That Matters, not released in the US until two years after the fact and swapped out four songs with five others and added a new version of a fifth.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: No matter what version you listen to, the Clash’s first album is attention grabbing. Joe Stummer’s bark and snarl, the pop sensibilities of Mick Jones, Paul Simonon’s bass and the songs and lyrics that encapsulate a bored, unemployed youth in the UK during the time.
The UK version, which came out in 1977 but the US record company deemed it not worthy because it didn’t have ‘singles’, is almost all raw power and fury with just enough of a pop edge to make it go down somewhat smoothly. I said somewhat. “White Riot”, “Career Opportunities” and “I’m So Bored with the USA” are full of acid, but “Janie Jones” and their cover of “Police and Thieves” show another side to the band.
After selling 100,000 copies as an import, their debut was finally released in the US (after their second album had already landed over here). The Clash had recorded some outstanding tracks between albums, and here we got the pick of the litter. The brilliant “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais” is the highlight of the new songs, along with “Jail Guitar Doors”.
The version now streaming in the UK version, the Clash’s original vision. The other tracks are all streaming in a big compilation. You can easily put together both versions. It’s worth it.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The songs left off from the US version: “Cheat”, “Deny”, “Protex Blue” and “48 Hours”, while “White Riot” added the siren at the beginning of the track over here.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: A. Both versions have cuts which I skip over from time to time, but this is a crucial and vital work.