ARTIST: The Clash
TITLE: London Calling
YEAR RELEASED: 1979
CHART ACTION: #27 US, #9 UK
SINGLES: London Calling (#11 UK), Train in Vain (#23 US, #30 US Dance)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Spanish Bombs, Death or Glory, The Guns of Brixton
LINEUP: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon. Mickey Gallagher on keyboards.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The definitive statement by the Clash, encompassing their political and musical outlooks.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s hard to imagine that the Clash moved from “White Riot”, a piercing, prototypical punk rock song, to songs as delicately constructed as “Jimmy Jazz”, or as rich as “Spanish Bombs”, but here we are.
From the title cut opener, to the almost-not-on-the-record “Train in Vain”, each song is a world of itself. When they cover songs (“Brand New Cadillac”, “Wrong ‘Em Boyo”, “Revolution Rock”) they make them their own. The real revolution is in “The Guns of Brixton”, written and sung by bassist Paul Simonon, with its menacing bass rumble, snarling vocals, and absolute sense of purpose.
I feel this is the best album of the 70’s, and was released at the very end of the decade. To me, nothing else has the depth, breadth, and commitment that this album does. Extra-ordinary.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Guy Stevens, the producer, was drunk and high during the recording process and hurled chairs and equipment around to get the right mood in the studio. The band loved him.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A+: A rare double album with absolutely no filler. Its legacy will live forever.