The Clash - London Calling (Cover Artwork)

The Clash

London Calling (1979)


(circa 1979) Little Timmy told me some history of punk a few days ago, he wasn't the brightest, or the coolest kid on the block, but he sure knew what was going on with the whole punk scene.

"The Sex Pistols broke up last year. Little rebellious punkers have lost their idols in the span of 2 years. The Damned broke up too, at least they got back together, that won't happen with the Pistols. So the Ramones will just carry on for them...But they haven't released a new record since last year. And that Rock and Roll High School movie didn't do much.

"Well, I hear there are these rumblings going around the U.S. mainly in California. Some new type of harder faster punk. Black Flag looks promising, though that Nervous Breakdown ep is kind of short. Some band called the Dead Kennedys released some pretty cool singles, but their album isn't out yet."

"Ah, I think this new type of punk should take a few more years to develop, nothing to special is going on yet. So I dont know whats up with the punk scene these days. Is it dead right now? We're all still shocked at Sex Pistols, though you know, I never liked 'em anyway. So who's going to be our new "leaders"? Is Punk really dead?"

Well little Timmy it's December 15th right now. Wednesday afternoon indeed. Something special happened yesterday. A new record came out. By a band called The Clash, you may not know it right now, but the album they released is quite good.

So good, it's a masterpiece of an album. Easily one of one of the greatest albums of all time. Not just rock, but it is encompassing punk music, into a true form of importance and meaning, not just guitar with words yelled over. This is an album that can do something for you. Open your eyes, change your life.

Little Timmy told me a few days later "Hey man, I like this album, it's pretty good. The Clash shows potential"

What you don't know is that they'll be dubbed the only band that matters. And as of Dec. 14, 1979 they are the only band that matters. Polictics, life, love, happiness, anger, it's all here. The Clash have a lesson to teach to the kids of the post-Sex Pistols era....That there is a future, that things do matter.

The Album has just started, a guitar marches forward as a ominous bass line builds and builds into a burst of sound as Mr. Joe Stummer takes over to serenade us. "Finally Beatlemania has bitten the dust" It really has....a new generation and form of music is documented and solidified with this album. Call it talent, call it respect, call is credibility, it was the Clash that brought that to the table. It made people look at this as an actual threat to the senses, to the masses, something you can't brush off or ignore.

It's January of 1980. A punk band can be taken seriously now. Joe Strummer and Mick Jones grace the cover of Rolling Stone. No longer can parents just turn their head to those strange looking individuals they see in the Newspaper or cover their ears to the sounds coming from their childrens bed room.

Now it's "Punk" bands headlining the Palladium of New York City, a place where the Grateful Dead used to play. The place where a man like Jerry Garcia used to stand solemnly playing a guitar is now a place where Joe Strummer now rolls around in a fit of fury, Mick Jones lays down guitar solos the way they should be, something many of the Clashs contemporaries couldn't even do. Paul Simonon lays down solid bass grooves moments before smashing his bass neck off and is imortalized in a picture that graces the cover of 'London Calling.'

As well as being a tremedous live band that brought all the fury and anguish of their albums to the stage for the punk masses that would witness it, The Clash really hit the mark with London Calling. Every musical style they are capable of playing is played to perfection. The Trudging rockabilly of "Brand New Cadillac" the relaxing reggae of Jimmy Jazz. Styles punk kids never knew about were opened up. Trumpets blared on "The Right Profile." Keyboards infest "Wrong 'em boyo" The crunch of London Calling and Clampdown prove effective. "I'm not down" features trade off vocals. as Joe Strummers vocals are proven at their top form, as does Mick Jones, with perfect structured songs, top notch lyrics, and tight musicianship.

The lyrics of this album are some of the best in rock history. Lyrics many punk bands would use to expand their views on the world and the polictical aspects of their countries. Some even took the Clashs polictical lyrcis to further extremes(Crass, Dead Kennedys). But for the most part, The Clash were one of the first punk bands to delve straight into politics.

The Clash also were a band that preserved punk for a few more years in the late 70's so bands that were inspired by them could again preserve punk in the 80's and 90's. Though the hype would prove to big for The Clash, their first three albums prove what you can do with music and what heights you can bring it to.

London Calling is an album really deserving of 5 stars, along with a few other punk albums, this will remain being played somwhere around the world in 20 more years. If you do not own this album, or any Clash album, you must get one as soon as possible. I will not say the Clash are the greatest punk band ever, but they are definitly one of the most important.

On last note....Many people are quick to judge this off as a not-so-punk album, it's an album of music. Magnificent music that would inspire many, and remains to this day a significant part of music history.

The Sex Pistols were far off when they said No Future, when they said they had no future, they were right, when they said punk had no future they were wrong. That future rested in the Clash.

Thats why the Clash mattered.