The Clash

Not B.A.D.!
*special introductory paragraph!
*The Clash (British version)
*Going To The Disco: Live At The Roundhouse, London 5.9.1976
*Give 'Em Enough Rope
*The Clash (American version)
*London Calling
*Black Market Clash
*Combat Rock
*Super Black Market Clash
*Live At Shea Stadium
*Cut The Crap
*From Here To Eternity
The Clash are considered to be one of the finest punk rock bands of all time, which is awfully interesting considering that they only recorded one punk rock record. What they should be remembered for instead is the incredible level of innovation, inspiration, and diversity that they displayed on their records as they expanded their musical knowledge and... umm... you know, learned how to play their instruments and crap. Everything from dub reggae to wimp pop to boogie funk to artsy poetry and all kindsa weird stuff creeps up on London Calling, Combat Rock ("Rock," my ass! There are maybe three rock songs on there!), and Sandinista!. Real neat stuff. Unfortunately, right near the end, lead vocalist Joe Strummer tossed out guitarist Mick Jones and transformed the band into a rancid (get it?) parody of its formerly glorious self. Still, keeping in mind that Cut The Crap isn't REALLY The Clash, they were one of the very few British punk bands that stuck around long enough to prove that they were as smart as they were snotty.

The Clash (British version) - CBS 1977.
Rating = 9

An essential punk record. If you've already got Never Mind The Bollocks and Ramones, try your darnedest to pick this one up by the end of the week. It may be tinny, but almost every song books and bops along with the excitable reckless abandon of a bunch of scruffs getting a chance to make a record for the very first time! Mostly simple, poppy, and punky, the strength of these songs is multiplied ninety-fold by the rotten stinking cockney gruff shout of lead boy Joe Strummer. Ignore the happy melodies; it must be punk if the singer sounds like he's about to sock you in the back of the head!

Classics include "Career Opportunities," "I'm So Bored With The U.S.A.," "White Riot," and "London's Burning." Did I mention the word "essential?" Plus, one of the finest tracks on the disc is the incredibly well-placed 12th track, a reggae cover called "Police And Thieves" that gives ample warning that this band, though a perfectly fine punk band, isn't about to shy away from the concept of artistic growth. The flow is great, the energy level is high; basically, the only thing keeping this one from getting a ten is the inclusion of a few weak tracks (all of which would be removed for the American re-issue!).

Reader Comments (Kevin O'Driscoll)
Disclaimer: I was the NYC preppy punk, I was in Times Square all night queued up to buy Bonds tickets for the Clash in Spring of 1981. Yes of course I got seats, and no the riot wasn't because of the fire marshall's opposition. It was just to buy tickets. The fire marshalls made Bonds double the number of shows because they had oversold their capacity. I saw the Ramones at CBGB in 1977 and I popped pills and acid at the Mud Club with my girlfreind Tina dressed in faux leopard skin. Except I went to college and golly gee, the teenage lobotomy did get his Ph.D. afterall. I'm even in a punk revival band now twenty years later, and though my hair is long now, and I'm packing 185 lbs, I was only 145 painfully scrawney lbs then when I wore my hair short and spikey. Why do you care? Because the Clash discography wouldn't be the same without comments from one of those who was there when it happened.

The Clash (Brit): Never heard it, though heard it was recorded partially in an abandoned warehouse where the Clash were squatting while Paul Simonen learned to play bass. No wonder the producers cut some songs for the American release, they probably sounded like bloody shit!! (George Starostin)
The only punk album I own, and I'm not gonna get any more. Lots of people keep shouting this is one of the best punk records ever made, but I say, if this is the best punk record, then God help me what does the WORST sound like? I mean, I'll be the first one to admit these guys got a helluva talent, but they don't put it to proper USE! This is one of the most boring records I've ever heard, just because it laks the tiniest sense of diversity. Just your basic three chords, gruff 'singing' and sometimes catchy melodies - 's all. Now I know you're gonna shrug your shoulders and say: 'well, that's what punk is all about, isn't it?' Sure. That's why I'm not a fan of punk. Punk music wasn't made for the sake of music, like Johnny Rotten said: it was made only as a statement of anger and being pissed off at everybody. Most of this stuff sounds horribly dated which is no problem since it seemed to be the equivalent of something like Country Joe McDonald in the late 60-s. Bah! The only standout here is the cover of 'Police And Thieves' because a) it is long; b) it borrows from reggae; c) it has a guitar solo. Not that all of these are virtues by themselves, but at least they give you enough time to catch your breath before the final two breaknecks. SOME melodies are decent, though. Can't really argue with that. But in order for them to be of real cultural value, they need to be re-arranged. (Hans Petter Schjoelberg)
In the summer of 77 I heard White Riot (their first single) on the radio. From that moment I was addicted to the music of the Clash. Some weeks after I recorded The Clash - their selftitled debut album onto a tape.

This record may be one of the best punk albums ever, but I don't care. The thing is that The Clash was a very innovative record, a kind of music never heard before. The producer - Mickey Foote (original the soundman of 101'ers - Strummers old pub-rock band) - made a totally new sound: tiny, angry guitars - fully use of the stereo effects, drums and bass in center of the sound while the guitars is more in the background, or should I say: on the sides. The album contains tracks that still are considered as "classics" and could be heard in every corner of the world in bars, on the radio, et, etc. Songs like "Janie Jones" ("fill her up Jack"), I'm so bored with the USA ("Suck on Kojak - for the USA", White Riot ("a riot of my own"), Hate & War ("the only thing we've got today"), What's my Name ("I tried to join up in a ping-pong club"), London's Burning ("dial 99999"), Career Opportunities ("the ones that never knock"), Cheat ("don't use the rules - they're not for you - they're for the fools"), Police & Thieves ("guns and ammunition") and Garageland ("Back in my garage with my bullshit detector") are all superb examples of the late 70's and a new direction in rock.
i guess no one mentioned the cover of the album. it's damned good and they made a helluva t-shirt out of it too. my first decent t-shirt, actually. also, i don't understand this 9 in a 10 scale thing. what more does it take to make a neat 10? with a big help from the ramones on the other side of the atlantic the garage boys really saved our lives. everyone speaks about the nuclear danger and pollution and all that crap but everyone seems to forget the kind of nauseating music humans were forced to live with back then. on second thought the only reason i wouldn't give it more than 10 in 10 is that now we know that it was possible to do even better. and we know it now cause the clash themselves did it. (Stefan Hofmann)
I have to tell you why I love this album. It's pure energy. Every track is only about two minutes long (well, except "Police and Thieves"), but everyone of them is a small atomic bomb. I don't skip a track on this record.

Ok, it's punk, but I don't care much about their political ideas (even if I get a bit excited and nostalgic when I hear "London's burnig...): their music was simpley great.

More raw and less sophisticated than London calling, but also way more powerful.
This version is better than the US one. The raucous version of "White Riot" with the 1-2-3-4 intro destroys the light n' bouncy siren introed rendition on the US release, and for some reason you can't find this on any of Epic's CD compilations here. Cheat is one of thier best songs (why did Rancid leave out that cool flanging effect on thier otherwise note for for note cover?) and this is also hard to find here. Its even omitted from Super Black Market Clash, though it was on the original EP. (James A. Kelley)
the clash was an exellent album although you may notice that its not too punk thats cause they added songs for the us release the british version has a much better flow to the album and makes it just as good as the us release (Anthony Negron)
OK, I must admit, when I first bought this album, I didn t think it was anything special. Not like The Ramones self-titled debut or Never Mind the Bollocks. It took a few listens, but then I realized .

This is a great fucking record!

If you re going to buy a Clash record, start with this one. This album is the only reason the Clash is classified as punk. Joe Strummer s vocals are at their most abrasive and pissed-off (Cripes! The man sounds like he has broken glass in his throat!). The piercing sting of Mick Jones s happy-go-lucky guitar work rings throughout the entire album. Paul Simonon s chops still need a little work, but Terry Chime s well-placed drum fills more than make up for that. The band was never more raw and aggressive than this. The lyrics, IMO are much better and say a lot more society s ills than their subsequent albums. After this their lyrical content degenerated more and more into Marxist sloganeering and clich d hippie ranting. Sure, the Clash still made terrific reggae-pop music after this (let s not forget stadium punk, i.e., Give Em Enough Rope), but if you want a PUNK record (a damn good one, at that), then definitely check this one out. Be sure to get the original British version, it flows a lot better than the American version and the album version of White Riot completely outshines the single version! (Hossein Nayebagha)
If it wasn't for Joe Strummer, this album could have been a lot less interesting, 'cause that other guy, Mick Jones?, he doesn't do much for me or for anyone else for that matter. The best song of the album, if you had to pick one, is "Career Oppurtunities", and the best line of that song is "I hate the army and I hate the RAF".

"Deny" - that one's got the most amusing vox, and the only Mick Jones-sung tune that works is "Protex Blue". And then there's not much more to say about this album.

Historically it may have meant a lot, but I can only imagine this being 1977 to the extent that I'll say this album is great but it doesn't amaze me. One down for all the crappy Mick Jones songs, 8/10. (Geoff Saunders)
I'm sorry but this is shite. The most overrated band of all time. And B.A.D. were shite as well. No better now than in 1977.
Joe wrote witty,wry,intelligent,humourously observational lyrics with great scanning

"career opportunities are the ones that never knock every job they offer you is to keep you out the dock.." is a good example when heard with the clash' amphetamine fuelled noise behind it.

Musically, raw but tight,and a good backdrop for Joe's angst
Hey! I'd like to correct something: George Starostin does NOT own this album. Or at least that's not the album he reviewed on his site; the 7/10 review he gave was of the US version. The UK version, though. . . mmm, good! I think I'm beginning to understand the Prindle's love affair with simple three-chord tone-deaf vocals rock and roll. This stuff kicks! Not a bad song on the album, really. You just gotta judge it on its own terms. Take for granted that people sing this badly, take it for granted that hooks are this minimal, and you got yourself some great working-class guitar muzak. "White Riot" gets my pick: Strummer sounds like he's got two peanut butter sandwiches in his mouth singing that. Hil-arious.

I give it a 9.2 out of 10. Maybe a 9.4, if I'm drunk. First punk album I rated that high. (Matt F.)

But then again, I like "Sandinista."


Yeah, this is good stuff. I especially like the last song and the second song and the fifth song and the tenth song and the first song and the fourth song.

And the seventh song.

The rest I like too.

Really addicting. Whenever my dad plays Styx downstairs, I blast this from my bedroom upstairs and go "FUCK YOOOOUUUUU" really loudly over the songs. And I flip my middle finger the ENTIRE TIME. He can't see me, but, GOD, what if he COULD?

I got into the Clash ... um... earlier this year, to be crystal clear (as glass). This album, at first, was a bit too rudimentary to me or something. Must have been because I listened to "Sandinista" and "London Calling" a lot. But then it grew on me. It's not about being a polished cohesive album. It's about, um, pure energy or something cool like that. Everytime I listen to this CD I want to climb the walls. Not like that Radiohead song, because I hate Radiohead. They suck ugly feet. But, MAN... there's something so fucking brilliant about songs like "Garageland" and "Remote Control." Eeee.

Wish Joe was still around, though. :(

I can see how clash fans would love this album, seeing as it must have been different when it came out, it doesn't really measure up to what the clash did later. Sure it's all fun and raw and stuff, but the next releases were more interesting. It's definitely the easiest clash album to get into, aside from "Police & Thieves" which is too long at six minutes. That's actually the only weak song here. The rest are all top notch 3 chord punk songs, excruciatingly easy to play on guitar. My favorite is "I'm So Bored with the USA."

Gary Evans
This was the first punk lp I ever bought and I have to say its my favourite lp of all time.I still listen to it regularly with exception to the track police and thieves as I hate reggae.The album reflects the social climate of the uk at the time with strikes happening all the time,no jobs and the distrust of the government.Garageland and whats my name are the standout tracks for me but none are too shabby except police and thieves.As to say the lp is boring and has no musical ability is a complete joke.Punk was never about musical standards but attitude and d.i.y ethic.The album is raw all the way through and has energy and great lyrics which may not really translate well to the americans who may not really understand how things were in the uk at the time .Uk punk was completely different to the us version of it with the in your face lyrics/bands and political and personal awareness.All in all if your into punk and slate this lp then you have no idea what punk or this band were about.

Add your thoughts?

Going To The Disco: Live At The Roundhouse, London 5.9.1976 - Bootleg
Rating = 4

I like The Clash - in fact, I downright love a few of their albums - but what kind of a dumbass do you have to be to say "The Clash were the best punk rock band ever"? Answer: Somebody who doesn't like punk rock! The Clash recorded one punk album - ONE. And yes it's great, but dozens of bands have stuck to punk rock and created discographies that far eclipse the Clash's single achievement in the genre. The Ramones, Dwarves, Bad Religion, New Bomb Turks, Vandals, Subhumans and many many others. And that doesn't even count '80s legends like Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and Suicidal Tendencies (err.. for one album) or the current rash of anarcho-crust-punkers churning out raw, hooky anger all over the globe. Punk rock is a wonderful institution and I appreciate The Clash's early contribution to the genre, but come on - calling any of their post-debut output 'punk' is like calling Bruce Springsteen 'the future of rock and roll.'

Please understand -- I take no umbrance at all with somebody saying, "The only punk album I like is the first Clash album" or even "My favorite punk album ever is the first Clash album" (though that's kind of like saying "My favorite rock album ever is The Beatles' Revolver"). It's just that the declaration "The Clash were the best punk band ever" - or alternately, "The Clash were the only good punk band ever" - is completely ignorant, yet it's somehow still being plastered all over message boards by people who are afraid of aggressive music yet consider themselves experts on the punk genre. Were The Clash a great band? They put out some crap, but sure -- any band who could come up with three records as unique, creative and hooky as The Clash, London Calling and the oft-maligned Combat Rock definitely qualifies as 'great.' But they weren't a punk band, nor were they even trying to be after the first album.

And as this early bootleg shows, they didn't even start off as a punk band! Lost compositions like "I Don't Want Your Money," "I Know What You Do," "Mark Me Absent" and "Going To The Disco" are happy midtempo rock and roll music, a nostalgic return to the sounds of Hamburg-era Beatles and early Kinks as if the Stooges and Ramones never happened. Other tracks pick up the pace, but sound like the band hasn't even learned the songs yet; "Deny," "What's My Name" and "I Can't Understand Those Lies" in particular are ear-gouging collections of wrong chords and incorrect vocal keys. They really only rise above mediocrity and incompetence a few times: "Janie Jones" is already an exciting punker, "Going To The Disco" is a great hooky Beatle-rocker, and "London's Burning" is not only played correctly but also features an intriguingly disappointed-sounding vocal hook better suited to the lyrics than the later studio rendition. Plus, those who cherish The Clash for their strong political viewpoint will get a major kick out of "I'm So Bored With You," an early version of "I'm So Bored With The USA" that's about a GIRL of all unlikely political figures!

Regardless of the surprising dearth of socially relevant messages in their early material, Joe Strummer was already a holier-than-thou asshole, giving lengthy speeches between songs and berating the audience as lazy good-for-nothings who would rather lie around, get drunk and watch TV than create something new. I've no clue whether he actually knew the people in the crowd (the band was still small enough that this is conceivable) or if he was just being a dick, but it sure makes for loathsome listening! Particularly this passage:

Joe Strummer, Saint: (*rambles on and on about stupid bullshit*)
Audience Member: "GET ON WITH IT!"

Also the sound quality is terrible. You can't hear the bass, the guitars are all mashed together into a big skrangy noise, and the vocals are often buried (and always off-key). But for the record, they play 7 songs that would wind up on their UK debut, 2 they'd save for Black Market Clash and 6 that I'm pretty sure never came out any old place where.

At any rate, that's my opinion, and I'm no longer sticking to it!

Reader Comments
The problem is that you are using the traditional definition of punk. Unfortunately, punk has turned into a marketing term that gets applied to artists that are not punk in the slightest. Here is a partial list of artists who are listed as punk on the Internet:

Fall Out Boy, Green Day, Avril Lavigne, Joan Jett, Sublime, New Found Glory, Sum 41, Oingo Boingo, and fucking Bowling for Soup

Bowling for Soup may be from my college town, but god they are lame. Their sound is stolen from Blink 182 who stole it from Green Day - none of which is punk. They even have a non-punk song called "Punk Rock 101" but I doubt they even realize that it isn't punk.

The watering down of the term punk is covered in a funny song called "Hot Topic is Not Punk" by MC Lars.

I don't blame youngsters being confused about what punk actually is. Someone calling the Clash punk is at least in the neighborhood.

Add your thoughts?

Give 'Em Enough Rope - CBS 1978.
Rating = 6

A total snore. Presumably in an attempt to refine their sound for popular American consumption, the Clashers have slowed everything down and made their songs longer without bothering to break from the three-chord pattern that, though perfectly suited to speedy angry little hardcore songs, renders a Tom Petty-length song boringer than a damn church sermon. Play it on 78 and maybe it kicks ass, but at thirty-three revolutions per minute, these songs lope along like mediocre mid-'80s glam metal. Classics include nothing. "Safe European Home," "Stay Free," and "All The Young Punks" are kinda catchy, but the "Can't Explain" rip-off (that inspired a darn fine Crass song, by the way) and the "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" rip-off are, well, rip-offs, and the other five tracks sound like Rancid. Dullsville, U.S.A. Or Britain, as it were. I don't blame a band for changing its sound, but they should at least try to change it for the better!

Reader Comments (Jim Hull)
But I still like the riff to "Safe European Home"...and the way it busses into a "reggae" thing at the end...boring stuff elsewhere, though...
You completely missed the boat on this one! The production was done by Sandy Perllman (Blue Oyster Cult) and he really punched that thang up. This is their best sounding album and songs like "Safe European Home," "Tommy Gun" and "Stay Free" are pure anthems. Play it now! It still sounds fresh.
Yeah, this album ain't that bad! I really like "Julie's in The Drug Squad" and "Last Gang In Town" which are classic Clash tunes! Reminds me of the stuff on London Calling. Also, "Safe European Home" and "Guns On the Roof" rock hard. Okay I admit that "English Civil War" and "Cheapskates" are unbearable but overall, the album's great for the sole fact that it was the last Clash album that PUNK ROCKED all the way through.. (Dean Reis)
pretty much a more produced version of the first album. Its not that it's bad, its just you hear it all before and better on the clash. However, "safe european home" and "last gang in town" are among there best songs ever. (Ben Giltay)
Personally, I love this album and I rate it as probably their 3rd best. Also, the reviewer should note that "English Civil War" (or "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" as he puts it) is a song based on the traditional anthem, and its credited as one, so its not a rip off! (Kevin O'Driscoll)
Let's face it the Clash were poor blokes from London and they were jealous and scared. That's where their energy came from. There and from the left leaning poli-sci teachers they had in art school. Witness it in the songs. They thought the Sex Pistols with Malcolm McLaren floating them down the Thames singing "God Save the Queen" were hunky dory. Except up them one, the Clash had real honest to goodness politics and not just merely "Anarchy for the UK." In little Joey's brave new world the Labor Party would feed all the hungry punks, and the Chinese communists would someday rule everyone. Who knows maybe the prophecy will be true still. When they went to Jamiaica on vacation they wanted to score some of those megaspliff rasta hemp mons and reggae beat al la Specials to boot. They scared themselves shitless in the face of Rudy himself in the shantytowns and longed to be "Sitting here in my Safe European Home, don't wanna go back there again." They weren't so much Rude boys as they were lower middle class wannabe Rudys. Like alot of the pseudo-disenfranchised youth they saw the commercialism of the USA and wanted it, but they knew their lot in the UK couldn't have it. So kill Mickey Mouse on the stage but yet cash in if you can ... and by Sid and Nancy, punk sold. Hypocrisy rules, and Nancy shit on Sid and Sid killed Nancy, and Sid's mother killed him, over and over and over, and then she gave him the lethal dose. (Gregory S. Bougopoulos)
Please listen to this album again. There is no way that this is a bore. If it weren't for London Calling this would be the 10. Basically it proves that the Clash could certainly be able to be a "rock" band, and a great one at that. And to comment on the Rancid problem, it only shows how second rate Rancid is, and anthemic-rock and 80s glam-metal. Everything on this album sizzles.
if you wanna be fair give 'em at least 9, will you? tommy gun alone would be enough rope to hang all possible critics. i guess the only reason people say it might be better is that the clash did it and people always expect god to do the perfect thing. well, suppose god really exists and he really created the world. see? the way i see it, i.e. the way i hear it, if you don't like the record the problem isn't that the record is not good enough for you. the problem is that you are not good enough for the record. so keep listening to the backstreet boys and have a nice time. (Reg Stalin)
You really missed the boat on this one pal - me likes your site but this makes me suspect you is either an idiot or just a provocative smart-arse (George Starostin)
Never thought I'd rate a PUNK album higher than Mark does, but time does work wonders. Anyway, I'm definitely with Mr Bougopoulos on this one (if I'm not mistaken, he, too, prefers it over the band's debut). So what if the songs are lengthy and slow? They are mostly well-written, and I, for one, like it when a well-written song gives you enough time to be appreciated instead of just rushing past your head in two minutes. Glam-metal? Pleeeease. This is slowed-down punk rock; it has NOTHING to do with metal, unless, of course, one defines punk as FAST heavy rock and metal as SLOW heavy rock. On the positive side, I notice some well-placed hooks in most of these songs. Mark did name some of the highlights, but what about 'Last Gang In Town'? Isn't it great how the upbeat verses alternate with the grim, moody chorus? And what about 'Julie's In The Drug Squad"? Hey, it's a nice slice of barroom rock, pretty catchy at that; it ain't even punk. Sure, a couple of the numbers, like "Cheapskates", are dull, but I'd say there's far less filler on here than on the debut. It's just that "Rope" is a bit less of a statement and a bit more of a collection of real rock songs. There's nothing innovative here, of course, and since I'm already out of my teens, these songs don't speak to me on the "social" level, but that's no reason to dismiss the hooks. I'd give it a high 7 or a low 8, whereas "The Clash" I'd rate not higher than a 6, I think, a verrry low 7 on my most pissed-offsince my last comment, but not too much anyway).
I agree with you completely on this one. About 75% of the appeal on the debut was the raw energy, and with slowed-down songs and cleaned-up heavy metal production, the band just doesn't sound as exciting. Plus, most of the songs are boring and generic. "Safe European Home," "Stay Free" and maybe a couple of others manage to join the lower realms of the pantheon of Clash classics, but the rest is just faceless. Don't put down "Guns On The Roof" for ripping off "Can't Explain" - "Clash City Rockers" was a ripoff of that song too. Put it down because it sucks. A decent album on its own, but sandwiched inbetween two epochal albums it just doesn't cut it. A highish six.
While I agree that Rope lacks the edgy intensity and fury of The Clash, I think that it still rates around a 7-1/2. You obviously overlooked the fact that the Clash was transitioning out of the pure "punk" sound , while also expanding it's scope of reference to include global concerns. With all of the talk about terrorism today, suddenly a song like "Tommy Gun" is relevant again. "Safe European Home" addresses a sort of cultural naivety; a white face in Jamaica was an "invitation to robbery". Guns on the Roof deals with international arms dealling , and the fact that we can't truly feel safe, even if we live in the USA were we believe "the wars are done." The Clash was urging us to think about these issues back then, and we are still dealling with them now.

Also, remember that the Clash were going in a direction that no punk group had ever gone before. They didn't want to stick to some restrictive "punk" formula. They were trying to reach a larger audience in hopes that they could get their message out to as many as possible. And that message was to get off your butt and be concerned about things that are happening in the world you live in.

Songs like "Safe European Home", "Tommy Gun", "Stay Free" ARE classics. This album is not a "snore". The Clash had to change and grow artistically. If you want a group who stayed "punk" listen to Sham69 or some other thicko group.
Ok, it's not great, but the bass sounds fantastic. It's round, bouncy, and crisp. And some of the songs may be throwaways ("Drug Stabbing Time", "Guns on the Roof", that one with the bastardized Who riff . . . speaking of which, didn't they already rip that off for "Clash City Rockers"?), but "Safe European Home", "English Civil War", and "Stay Free" are great. And there are plenty of other solid tracks. But I may be the only one who thinks "Tommy Gun" isn't very good. Oh well.
I think there must be a textbook for reviewers which includes the rules

1. Always mark down the second Clash album
2. Criticise the production
3. Include an unfavourable comparison to the first album

You're a good reviewer but you seem to have followed the textbook on this one. The truth is, this is a good album by anybody's standards and it's a good Clash Album.
D'you know what - I reckon this lp only sounds a bit off because it follows the bloody marvelous and speedy, high-energy debut record and pales a bit in comparison, thats all really.

I mean, for fucks sake - its got fine tunes like 'Drug Stabbing Time', 'Julie's in the Drug Squad' (remember when the ol' bill bust all that acid - Operation Julie and all that...?), 'Safe European Home' and 'Guns on the Roof'. Y'know, really good stuff actually...

I remember it got a right old slagging when it first came out because the record company had got Pearlman into produce it in the vague hope that he'd make the blooody thing more accessible (sp?) to the American record-buying public -

Aw, whatever. I still reckon 'Enough Rope's' got its own particular strengths and all...
I love everything the Clash did, I don't consider Cut The Crap the Clash, including this. The great thing about them is no album sounds the same and has many classic songs. This rocks incredibly hard on many of the classics found here, harder than anything they have done at times, and anyone calling it boring must not have listened to it with the volume at a normal level. "Guns On The Roof" boring?, "Tommy Gun" boring?, even if "English Civil War" borrows from "When Johnny Comes..." it rocks as instensely or more intensely than anything they have recorded. "Safe European Home" IS a classic. I even love the verses to "Cheapskates" even though the chorus drags it down. "Stay Free" and "Julie's On The Drug Squad" are decent and a fine changes of pace. And even though "Drug Stabbing Time", "All The Young Punks", and the mysteriously praised "Last Gang In Town" are lame, overall this is an awesome album with many classic songs.
Wow. I've never been more shocked by a review on this site.

To my ears, "Safe European Home," "Stay Free," "English Civil War," and "Tommy Gun" are absolute classics. Even the lesser songs are helped by the fact that this CD sounds twice as loud as any disc that preceeded it. (Did anyone else notice this?)

The only thing that keeps me from urging Prindle site viewers to BUY THIS NOW is the fact that many of the best songs on this album are available on compilations that they may already own. Still, there are enough good unavailabe elsewhere (as far as I know) tracks to recommend this one to people who love the Clash.

Prindle and I were born the same year, discovered punk rock at the same time, and have similar interests/obsessions/appreciations (e.g. horror flicks/Ramones/Lucky Lehrer[!]), and I don't get the lack of enthusiasm for this one.

Jeffery Hoelscher
Maybe the guy who listed the rules for reviewing this album is right. Maybe the tendency to compare it to the first record is too prevalent. Maybe it isn't punk rock. Maybe I should listen to it as though it were as different from the other Clash records as all the other Clash records are different from each other. Maybe I'd like it then. Maybe...

Stay free is a classic. I remember watching Rude Boy and Ray Gange(rude boy) wanders in while Mick Jones is practicing Stay free. He goes up to him and tells him what a great song it is and that lots of people wont get it, meanwhile you can tell mick is uncomfortable and painfully shy. (yes its probably all fake, duh". But as for the song "All the YOung Punks", just imagine it being a precurser to oi!. non racist kind of course. The clash did play rock against racism after all. Imagine coming home drunk arms linked around your mates shoulders singing " all the young punks, life your life casue their aint much to cry for, all you young CUNTs, live it now cause their aint much to die for". If I ever make a movie about punk I am going to include that scenev cause it happened to me and was funny and awesome.

Now I'm not even gonna bitch about the rating you gave this one, since everyone else on here already did. Whether this album is better or worse than its predecessor is up for debate, but it is easy to say that this album is the more interesting of the pair. I personally love the production, giving the band more of a harder and bigger sound, while still sounding like the clash we all know and love. The songs are more complex and diverse as well.

"Safe European Home" is without a doubt my favorite clash song. The riff, vocals, drums, weird ending, everything. This song is about when they went down to Jamaica, and somebody called in at wherever they were staying and claimed they were gonna shoot them or something. So they got scared and bounced. Anyway, other favorites include just about everything except "Cheapskates," which irks me more than "Police & Thieves" or "Pressure Drop" even dreamed of doing. I give this a solid 9.

Add your thoughts?

The Clash (American version) - CBS 1979.
Rating = 9

Good for America! They dumped the three weak tracks (well, "Cheat" isn't really weak; it's just not as strong as all the other songs on the debut) and replaced them with the burning hot metal single "Clash City Rockers," the skankinly oompy reggae "White Man In Hammersmith Palais," the sneery-lipped cover of Bobby Fuller Four's "I Fought The Law" (which isn't anywhere near as amazing as the original, but it's still "I Fought The Law"!!!!), and oh, some song called "Jail Guitar Doors" that I don't really think is all that great. So what's the problem? Well, the new songs are stronger, sure, but the flow is all gone. It's not a straight-up punk album any more with all them experimental newer tracks thrown in. I mean, the new opening track, "Clash City Rockers," is like three and a half minutes long!!! A far cry from the 2:05 adrenaline rush "Janie Jones" that kicked off the Brit version. Sentence fragment! Buy! Bye!

Reader Comments (Jim Hull)
Ya gotta have this album...I personally love "Complete Control"...with its loping bass riff, but lots of cool 2 minute and under stuff to be had...hey! 1977 wasn't such a bad year after all...goldern it...!
Every song is great. Absolutely one of the greatest albums of all time.
What's up with the stupid.. 'Remote Control' song on here?! Strummer sounds so dang dorky on this track. They should have replaced it with '1977' from Black Market Clash! Other than that.. oooohhh what a classic punk record! "Clash City Rockers" and "London's Burning" definitely rule!! (Dean Reis)
this album is ten times the debut as nevermind the sex pistols. It is way more aggresive but still very dignified and intelligent.
"the clash" written on a brick wall is what comes to mind when i think back to the punk years. (Chris Collins)
Good collection. The best Clash record, I'd say that's plain. Late period Coltrane makes me feel insane. Does it not you? Ditto to the guy who said "1977" should've been included here. It's a CRUCIAL punk anthem, along with "God Save the Queen", one which captures summer '77 hysteria. B-side to their first single, "White Riot": "No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling 1977!" There you have it. (Kevin O'Driscoll)
"You think its funny? Turning rebellion into money." Why was the Clash so big in the "USA," where they were so "Bored with it" anyway? Why of course because all the suburbanite pretenders (like me) wanted to say fuck-off to you mom and dad, and it felt good to slam dance until the 250 lb leather clad punk from Staten Island and his friends on angel dust flattened you. But then again, there were the drugs and alcohol, and "Janie Jones" just about says it all. Aren't we all in love with Rock n' Roll, in love with getting stoned, and in love with Janie Jones. My boss always thinks I shirk, my Ford won't run without fuel and it is tough to let them know (how you feel). The true essence of punkdom, even to the clang clang of "Jail Guitars" boots on the floor, as the lonely mother's son is locked away. And for what, drunk and disorderly of course mate!
Hey, whats' wrong with "Remote Control"? It's not as good as some of the other tracks, most notably "White Riot" and "Career Opportunities" IMO, but it's decent. Anyway, the album rocks, though I'm not too fond of the Marley cover, I don't know. "Clash City Rockers", "Hate and War" and all the rest rock too. The Clash get a 9!!!!! (Gregory S. Bougopoulos)
I have not heard the songs swiped off for the American release, except for "Cheat" so I essentially have never heard the album, but as a compilation goes, this is great, though putting some of the singles like "I Fought the Law" in with songs like "What's My Name" is perplexing. It gets about a 9, but I certainly wish the Brit version was released in America (after all, it can't still be "vulgar" for 1998, can it Sony?). (James L. Tichenor)
AMerican debut of the clash is their only punk record- thanks for pointing that out mark- i hate it when ppl call London Calling the best punk album. Sorry- it ain't punk!!!! Not to say that it isn't good, but if you're lookin for that poppy blissed out punk scratchy recording than this is yer poison. And those reggea covers kick too much ass. (Ben Greenstein)
THE album for speeding down the highway with the windows rolled down. Not that I speed, officers, I swear...

First, I should state that I'm not a big fan of most punk music. I find it loud and obnoxious, and think that Bollocks is one of the worst albums I've ever heard. Ugly, ugly stuff. But Joe Strummer and Co. manage to come up with raw rockers with fun melodies and harmonies that excite me and make me want to scream. "Clash City Rockers," "White Man In Hammersmith Palais," "Janie Jones," "Career Opportunities," and "White Riot" are the highlights for me - if you see me driving in my car and screaming at the top of my lungs, it's probably to one of those songs. And the rest are really, really fun as well. This is a close second to London Calling, for sure. A nine. (Rich Bunnell)
Enjoyable punk, that's the best description for this-- I have yet to buy it but I have heard it and I certainly do love it, especially the riffy songs like "Clash City Rockers" and "I Fought The Law." A lot of the songs sound the same but not nearly as much as the homogyny that plagues most punk music-- this is INTELLIGENT punk, definitely delivered like punk but with brains behind it-- sort of like a heavier version of the Jam. This album isn't as good as London Calling but what Clash album is? I give this one an 8. Oh, and for the comment I wrote about London Calling below? It's not between an 8 and 8.5 anymore, it's definitely a 9 for me now. (Ben Marlin)
Their best, in my opinion (at least, out of the two albums I've heard). Almost every song is badass: full of energy and screaming guitars, and usually featuring a great refrain. I think Joe Strummer's lyrics are overrated - more whiny and paranoid than brilliant - but his gruff, sneering voice gives these songs a lot of their passion. And Mick Jones is an awesome guitarist and songwriter. One stinker - "What's My Name" - and "Police and Thieves" is a bit too long, but stuff like "Hate and War" makes up for it. An easy high 9. (John Sullaway)
From the opening guitar riff of "Clash City Rocker" -- sonic blasts of sheer molten rage -- to the lament of "Garageland," this album is a searing statement of punk frustration. For me, the subsequent Clash albums didn't have the immediacy and authority of this record. This is a punk's-eye view of life, without the abstractions and experiments of Combat Rock or Sandanista. You get the feeling that the recording studio couldn't even contain their energy. For me, just a few lyrics sum it up: "Are you taking orders?/Or are you taking over?" That's a question everybody should ask themselves.
This version is the tops. This is the ultimate punk package from "Clash City Rockers" to "I'm So Bored" (which is a rant against the almighty Yankee dollar - think of WalMart - not unlike David Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans") to "Jail Guitar Doors" to "Garageland" (a salute to the garage scene). This 1979 version is the one to get. The UK version has weaker tracks. The most in punk rage. Have a good day.
hmmm it's soo hard to choose...i would pick the brit (the real version i.m.o)...but i so love "white man in hammersmith palais"...tough call... (Chaz)
Love your site.

The Clash may not be a true punk band, indeed their 1st lp is the only punk one, you might say The Clash are the best band of the 80s. Sadly, I guess I might be in the minority believing in their greatness. I noted that U2's Bono was quoted, upon Strummer's death, "Without The Clash there would have been no U2"!!! Now, in the billion years would I never have thought, that ANYONE, even Bono, would presume to utter U2 in the same sentence with The Clash. That's like saying "Without Led Zeppelin there would have been no Def Leopard!"

Talking about The CLASH I believe Complete Control is THE greatest ROCK AND ROLL Song ever recorded! WHY? The Sentiment, The Lyrics, The actual structure & SOUND of the tune. (my comments) (Here is a punk band's frustration with their 1st taste of the music biz. It starts with a rousing, sing-a-long "oi-punk -style riff, "They said release 'Remote Control' But we didn't want it on the label...They said fly to Amsterdam, The people laughed (show self-deprecation), the press went mad... Ooh ooh ooh Someone's really smart... Ooh ooh ooh Complete control )- ha! - that's a laugh. ("Complete Control is presumable what the record co. assured The Clash what they'd have and keep (Now the PUNK pounding kicks in with this anecdote :) "On the last tour my mates couldn't get in I'd open up the back door but they'd get run out again (Shows The Clash as punks still trying to sneak friends into the gig) At every hotel we was met by the law, Come for the party -- come to make sure!" (Here the punk rhythm hesitates beautifully as Joe pleads:) Have we done something wrong? Complete control even over this song! (Now Mick Jones plays a 'punk' guitar riff, it's no hippie solo , but it's more than a usual punk song allows, almost sounds like a British police siren. Then the rousing punk style kicks in again for the next verse) They said we'd be artistically free When we signed that bit of paper They meant , "Let's make a lotta money! An' worry about it later." oh I'll never understand oh Complete control - lemme see your other hand! (another break with Joe Strummer CLEARLY growling:) I don't trust you Why should you trust me? (THINK how gritty and radical this sounded for a rock song back then? "I DON'T TRUST YOU! WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST ME? Huh?" Joe Strummer sings in a rough Brit/cockney accent that you NEVER heard before, through years of the British invasion, etc! Joe sounds much more like a real working-class Brit, more a football hooligan than John Lennon!)... Now the song becomes transcendent! As Joe wails about the dubious trust involved in the music biz game AND life? He bitches about the Brit music press and public who befriended The Clash then put them down looking for the new trend and next big thing:) All over the news spread fast They're dirty they're filthy They ain't ever gonna last (The drumming [is it Chimes or Topper?] & Paul's bass build up and guide the song into a real punk frenzy! As Joe Strummer becomes Joe Public who is as controlled in his body and mind, just as Joe S. is controlled by the record company! Then Joe Public becomes a PUNK ROCKER, who, back then, was seen as a new breed, more discerning and critical of corporate rock culture and glamour than the hippie-style rock fan BUT NOTICE the true lyric line I add here (marked *) that is in the song, Joe shows that punks can be just as susceptible to the old trappings of drugs as the disco/hippie bands/fans they revile!) This is Joe Public speaking I'm controlled in the body I'm controlled in the mind This is the punk rockers *We're controlled by the price of the hard drug we must find (or buy) (With Mick's backing vocals wailing C-O-N Control, the song has a frantic yet haunting punk harmony!) Thematically, Complete Control makes rock and roll, as a whole, look at itself in the mirror: The song questions rock as legitimate art, as a mode of genuine rebellion, even questioning whether punk rock bands can ultimately be different from the long haired group and wonders if they can be true to themselves and their aspirations and the punk spirit! The controlled chaos of the song really builds and takes you to the top of some mountains and, unlike every other group [The Who, etc. who know how to build a song but never quite satisfy like The Clash do in this number!]. At the top of this mountain, The Clash reveal (to the listener and themselves) that there's no glorious mountaintop! (As Mick wails one last time:) Total C-O-N control It's a cliff! And we're shoved off the cliff to a sudden demise as The Clash brings this punk crescendo to a stuttering and sudden halt! It's really a great song even if you cannot understand a single word!

Add your thoughts?

* London Calling - CBS 1979. *
Rating = 10

Somebody must have complained about Give 'Em Enough Rope, 'cause this sounds like a completely different band!! No more a one-dimensional barre chord combo, The Clash here present themselves as a fully-realized (and incredibly well-produced) rock/pop/reggae/funk/soul/jazz/blues/punk/lounge act with more great melodies than J.D.'s got Considine! Nineteen tracks and two albums big, this thing is darn near perfect in composition and presentation! Cereal! Rolling Stone Magazine labeled it "the finest album of the '80s," and, for once, they're actually in the right ballpark! I can't help but exclaim! Who'da dreamt that the washed-up old men that tossed out that last clunker could have transformed into this gang of tight professional musicians? Si, senor!

Okay, superlatives aside, what does the album sound like? Well, it's reeeeeal poppy. The title track and "The Guns Of Brixton" are bitter little things, but the other seventeen numbers are happier than wallpaper. Every last one of 'em! Whether they be '50s rock and roll, swing, clompy amphetamine rushes, or "Train In Vain," they're all so bubbly and full of spirit, verve, and glee that only a bitter old snooty toot could flip them an Irish bird. I love this album. Yeah, some of the songs have stupid little bits that I could do without (the hokey middle-eight in "I'm Not Down," the ugly chorus in the otherwise beautiful "Lost In The Supermarket," the entire track "Four Horsemen"), but spread across eighty minutes of tar, you hardly even notice the minor shortcomings! No, it's not punk rock, but it's just glorious. It's got this great song about snorting coke, and another one about Montgomery Clift, and ooh! That one about "working for the clampdown" with that neat chiming guitar thing at the end - that's killer, too. So great. "The Card Cheat" is a triumph. Goddammit, they're all triumphs! You can't even tell which ones are the covers, they're so great! Purchase it!

But, and I mean this as a valid warning - you gotta like happy pop music or you'll despise this record. Of course, you also have to like Joe Strummer's voice, which immediately eliminates about 9/10ths of all happy pop music fans, but those remaining 15 or 20 of you - look out, Tokyo!!!!

Reader Comments (Jim Hull)
London Calling is shiny, and happy...but "Train In Vain" is SUCH a great fact, after reading this review, I just had to hear it again...lots of great SONGS on this album...and very dope album cover...
WOW.. what an album! Helluva lot different from the debut except for the reggae influence. But man, it's hard to believe that this came from a punk band! 'Lover's Rock', 'Rudie Can't Fail' , 'Revolution Rock, and 'Train in Vain' are my favorites on this one. (Dean Reis)
what a fuckin great album. Every song has its own personality, but every song is equally magnificent. (except for possibly "the card cheat"). One of the greatest albums of the 70's one of the greatest albums ever. No wonder why critics proclaimed them as the only band that matters.
The only recording by the Clash to surpass this one is Sandinista. "London Calling" the title track kicks. A great recording.
Mucho Grande fuckin' album. Super damn wild, especially the way "Rudy can't fail" kicks in. I could listen to that shit all day long. When i bought the album about eight years ago, I was expecting more stuff in the line of "Should I stay or should i go," so I didn't listen to it for like 2 years, and then one night I got bejesusly stoned and popped that baby on the player. fUUUUUck!!!1 (Ben Giltay)
Definately the Clashes finest hour, this album is their best ever. And as a matter of fact, its also recognised as being just that! In various magazines and music books this album has been at the top of the list as the greatest (even reached number _1_ out of 150) punk/rock album!! Just fantastic. The cover is also excellent, displaying the immortal ritual of smashing instruments. You just gotta have this album if you want good music.

Just some more comments - what makes this album the best of The Clashs and even the '80s? These following points:

1. Its a double album;
2. It has an fantastic mix of more musical styles than I can name (punk/jazz/fast etc)
3. Its cover follows the tradition of smashing a guitar and;
idden track, "Train In Vain" (track 19) (Elliot Imes)
There's that stretch between after "Koka Kola" and before "I'm Not Down" that I just don't listen to. I don't know why. And I usually skip "The Right Profile" and sometimes "Spanish Bombs". "Revolution Rock" isn't too good, though it isn't bad. Other than that, this album is great. Any band that can do something as adrenaline-rushing as "Guns of Brixton" and still manage to stay at a slow pace while doing it is extremely talented, in my book. The title track also is a rock classic. By the way, I'd like to hear Cut the Crap sometime. Just to laugh. (Chris Collins)
Never bought this record. Neither should you. You deserve better than this. (Kevin O'Driscoll)
The Clash get produced, or actually double-recorded as it were. The epic (Pun intended) double album defines "The Only Band that Really Matters" to the USA. Though we just didn't really get it at the time, London called to the faraway towns and yes they came, but were they really still punk? No they had an identity crisis, Mick Jones' beautiful melodies had to come through and give them their first pop hit "In Vain." But like the macho poser he was Strummer insisted that they miss the "Train" off the liner notes and record and instead allowed the record company to put a silly sticker on the cellophane as warning that you might be offended by fucking nuns and priestly rockers. Still, "Every cheap hood strikes a bargain with the world" and "Death or Glory+ Clampdown" totally defined the saga begun by Janie Jones' lover, wearing blue and brown (not black leather) and working (imagine that) when he wasn't "slapping the kids around" or "teaching his twisted speech to the unbelievers." The rest was the sentimental longings of artschool reds, wishing for another ice age to chill off their hangovers, and a revival of the Spanish Civil war, without the blunder of Franco's righ wing facist victory. But then again, you almost started to believe that Strummer really thought he could change the world through rock n'roll, which was the true beauty of it all. And we spit on him. And he loved it.
The Clash are not my favorite band of musicians, and it took me a while before I even took to liking the band. This was my first Clash album, and let me tell is fucking awesome!!! There really is no other way to put it. London Calling grows on you like a fungus, with catchy songs like "Spanish Bombs" and "Lovers Rock" sprouting up everywhere I can say that I am simply amazed that a punk band who sounded as ragged on their debut album could sound this focus and concentrated just a couple of years later. If you ask someone what their favorite song is you are likely to get about 11 or 12 different responses-honest to god there are that many good songs here.
You can't really beat London Calling at its best moments. Granted, it has its share of irritating numbers, but best tunes are catchy, funny, angry, and cool all at the same time. "Rudie Can't Fail" is incredible when it "kicks in". Most of the other songs (I agree with Elliot about "The Right Profile" and #'s13-14, and "Four Horsemen") are great POP. It rules. Another 9 for tha CLASH (Gregory S. Bougopoulos)
What is there more to say. An absolute 10.

I agree with Rolling Stone as this is the best album of the 80's. But how can some of you skip "The Right Profile?" That fabulous tune sticks in my mind. Let anyone who likes even a scoche of loud music listen to this recording to get them hooked. I'd like to visit the supermarket did Mick got lost in. No set of music is better than this one.
being a double album why not give it a 20? add 1 for the cover and you'll have a 21 in 10, which is more or less half of what it deserves. i'll just add a piece of useless but perhaps curious info for fans: when the clash came to portugal they had just done sandinista! and it was not yet released in portugal. so only about seven guys in the entire nation - a friend of mine and half a dozen of enliightened citizens - had ever listened to sandinista! so you had a 150% full house of kids who got, how should i put it, somewhat surprised when the clash started, and kept on, playing the better part of sandinista! instead of london calling, which by the way was the only clash album released at the time back here. we're better now, thank you, we even have the new euro-coin. the point is: if it were any other band you'd have got a regular riot there, 'cause the kids were really disapointed. but they kept there and got a kick out of it. just another and shorter piece of curiosity: when the clash arrived and some reporter asked them if they really were the biggest or best or word to that effect rock'n'roll band in the world they (i mean one of them, i guess it was simonon but i won't swear) flipped a coin and gave the answer: yes. that's enough now. (Rich Bunnell)
On first listen I was thinking "What?!? #1 album of the 80 s? Are they KIDDING?" and only thought that the wonderful title track was the album s standout song, but it s much better than I initially thought. It bogs down at the end with a few nondescript songs that don t seem to distinguish themselves, but man, "The Guns Of Brixton," "Clampdown," "Lost In The Supermarket," "Brand New Cadillac," "Spanish Bombs," "Death Or Glory," "Train In Vain" every one of them excellent songs, and the only song on the album that I don t like is "Jimmy Jazz," mainly because it s way too minor-chordy and annoying, unlike the straight-ahead rock of the other tunes. 8/10, maybe 8.5.
london calling is the best god damn record i have ever bought. buy it, don't even think about it, just go now and buy it. do it, im seroius. 10/10. (James L. Tichenor)
The first album I ever got by the Clash and I went "huh? this ain't punk" But to my surprise, after like three listens I was totally blown away by how many really catchy tunes are present in this 1 hour-plus disc. The Guns of Brixton kicks TOO much ass, and brand new cadillac is midtempo rock in the vein of what the Stray Cats would soon be doing. This album is really amazing because its so poppy without ever really getting cheesy. And believe me, that might not have been hard with all the saxophones and piano riffs all over the place. Go out and buy this one now kiddies. (Ben Greenstein)
Probably not the best album of the 80's (Talkin Heads' Remain In Light, XTC's Skylarking, and Elvis Costello's Blood And Chocolate kick its measly buttocks) but still a superb album - best one this group ever recorded and a solid ten. There are a couple songs scattered about that do nothing for me, but the title track, "Lost In The Supermarket," and "Train In Vain" are all great radio classics, and "Clampdown," "Spanish Bombs," "Rudie Can't Fail," "The Guns Of Brixton," "Death Or Glory," and "The Card Cheat" should have been hits. A near perfect album - probably right behind those other three I named earlier.
All I know is when I go to put on some music my hand automatically goes for this album.........I have to force myself NOT to listen to it sometimes !!!! (Zach English)
One HELL of a rock album, something that groups like the Pistols and the Damned could never have pulled off in a million years. It kicked off my fascination with dub, reggae, The Fall, and other great stuff that you may not see on MTV these days. To these ears, the debut sounds dated, but this stuff is just mindblowing. Yeah, yeah, we all know that the Clash were not really "political" per se, and that they weren't true "punk rockers" or whatever, but I love 'em because they refused to be generic. "Guns of Brixton" could never have come out of a Johnny Ramone or a Johnny Rotten. This is the kind of stuff that really stands the test of time (also along these lines, I'll include the fantastic Marquee Moon and Pink Flag). As much as I can respect the Ramones' debut, no one in their right mind can claim that it's impact hasn't been SEVERELY blunted by all the Green Days and Descendents out there. I love London Calling because it's a true original, and no matter how they try, Rancid will never be seen as anything more than corny revivalists living in a long past era. 10/10 (Lester Family)
This album is great, no doubt. Every song is a classic, even 'The Right Profile' and 'Four Horsemen', both of which i didn't like at first. Best songs: 'Guns of Brixton', 'Train in Vain', 'Jimmy Jazz', 'Lost in the Supermarket'. But what is with LC being "Best Album of the 80s?" Wasn't it released in 1979???
Yeah, really great album. If not a 10, a 9.8 or something. It manages to be catchy and fun yet still emotional and powerful. As for Rancid, no.. they're not as good as The Clash, but "...And Out Come The Wolves" has some VERY fun stuff on it.
Awfull!!! I love The Clash but this is lame! lame! lame! Someone should've burned that fucking piano and used a picture of that as the cover. Its a disgrace! (Ben Marlin)
I don't get this one. There are some really nice songs: "Spanish Bombs," "Lost In The Supermarket," "Train In Vain," "The Card Cheat" - especially that last one. But there are a lot of unremarkable songs too. Now, I'm not saying this isn't a great album - but it's nowhere near a 10, and even farther from the best album of all time. I think people who say that are just trying to sound knowledgeable. In my opinion, if you made an album out of London Calling's weakest half, it would be pretty damn mediocre. Catchy maybe, and varied, but the songwriting (when they actually wrote the songs!!) would be uninspiring. And that does not an all-time classic make. Low 8, and feel free to flame me for song-by-song details.
London Calling is hands down the greatest album that will ever be recorded, period! The Clash took on every single form of rock n roll and spit it out better then anyone has or ever will. Every track is magnificent. The Clash are the greatest rock n roll band ever and London Calling proves it. I love all the old 77 punk groups (except the Pistols, XRay Specs, and a couple others) but none of them could ever pull off something like London Calling. No one has or ever will pull off something like this again. The Strummer/Jones combination (and even Simonon on this one) was at its finest on this album. This album is CRUCIAL to every record collection. If you do not own it YOU NEED TO! TO ZACH ENGLISH: You have unbelievably great taste. Wire and Television are two of the most underrated bands of all time. Pink Flag and Chairs Missing are so damn good! Oh and The Fall too! DAMN. Live From The Witch Trials. Excellent album!!!!You just named 3 of my favorite bands (behind The Clash of Course). To Ben Marlin: You obviously are missing out. Do not get me wrong I give you high marks for commenting that you like the album, but you just do not understand. That album is matched by no other. I really can not describe it. Just listen to it again. I do agree with you on one part though. I do suppose a few people say that it is the greatest album ever because they read it in Rolling Stone or heard some critic say it. BUT to those kids out there, like myself, who have caught on to it there really is no doubt or turning back. We are forever tainted by London Calling. No other album can ever touch it. Coming in remotely close to London Calling are: Clash self titled,Clash Give 'em enough rope, Clash Sandinista, Wire Pink Flag, Buzzcocks Singles Going Steady, The Fall Live From The Witch Trial, Television Marquee Moon, and The Ramones self titled. The Clash truely are the greatest band of all time. Thank you. (Jason Adams)
An album that truly makes more sense cranked all the way up until the tinny speakers of your Altima start to distort. The title track and "The Guns Of Brixton" especially. Makes me think that if this were blaring out my car window twenty years ago (when I was two!), I might have been mistaken for someone hip. I was into Neil Diamond exclusively back then.
London calling is by far the best ever punk recording that I have ever heard. It makes me happy, it makes my angry and it makes me feel enlightened it is that good. It has a little bit of everything and it does everything well.

This is an awesome album. The Clash's high point ever. I mean punk, lounge, rockabilly. London Calling had it all. The opening track is a definent saying that this album has power. Every song is a masterpiece in itself. The album is so well constructed Strummer, and jones were and still are fucking geniuses. They created an album with power and endurance, and they called it London Calling. "Jimmy Jazz" is the best damn song on that album. I know how some people dislike it but it's so great. No more done. LONDON CALLING (Malcolm Forbes)
In response to the guy who questioned it as an '80s album: I believe the U.S. release date was December 7, 1979, so it really just barely made it into the '70s. It was the harbinger album for a lot of 80s sounds. LC, and David Bowie's Let's Dance, issued the same year if I remember correctly, were the two of the most influential albums of the 1980s as far as production values and the "feel" of the top 40 music of that decade. I recently revisited LC after a long break from it - the sounds are masterful and have stood the test of time. I don't know why Card Cheat gets such a polarized reaction - I consider it the second most emotional song in the Clash repertoire - Stay Free being the first.

LC falls into a category of works in rock history I call "alignment of the stars" albums. Albums where everything necessary to maximize the artist's potential comes together: The artist hits a creative peak at a time when the record label is strongly supportive (e.g. if they want a ten piece horn or string section there is a budget for it and they get it toute suite). They get a producer who understands exactly what the artist wants, in an almost telepathic fashion. There is also a sense of the band/artist wanting to prove something, to push whatever limits they felt at the time. The albums wind up with a sense of time and place, with a level of impact on other musicians that is beyond all expectations. All are overpowering to a large segment of the population. All are potential "desert island" material for my suitcase.

A short list of such albums would have to include:

Sgt. Pepper (The Bee-uhls)
Exile on Main Street (Stones)
Born to Run (Springsteen)
London Calling (The Clash)
Nevermind (Nirvana)
Quadrophenia (The Who)
From Elvis in Memphis (Elvis)
River Deep, Mountain High (Ike and Tina Turner)
Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde, or Blood on the Tracks (Mr. Zimmerman) - I can never pick between these three.

Anyone care to add? Or comment?
Amazing record! One of my absolute favorites. Catchy, fun/funny, interesting... all that good stuff, with some phenominal production. The title track and "Guns Of Brixton" are indeed the only musically bitter songs on here, although you have your "Spanish Bombs", "The Card Cheat" (quite possibly the most underrated track on the album. It's beautiful and i love it), "Hateful", "Clampdown" and "I'm Not Down" (ill also agree about that hokey middle-eight) which are catchyly awesome, fun and beautiful but with some disturbing, real and raw lyrics. Then again, you also have your awesome, straight-up catchy as hell fun like "Rudie Can't Fail" (pure ska awesomeness), "Lover's Rock", "Brand New Cadillac", "The Right Profile", the pure reggae of "Revolution Rock", etc. I also love "Four Horsemen" (accept the end was pretty unnessasary) and "Wrong 'Em Boyo" has some great brass. Everyone knows "Train In Vain" is a classic too, of course. "Koka Kola" is the only one i could do without, but its short and still fun. An absolute classic. 10/10. (Mike Trier)
I bought this album because Rolling Stone ranked it as number one of the 80's. Judging by the cover art and the fact that The Clash were a "punk" band, I expected something heavy. I was surprised at what I heard, and I loved it. There isn't a bad song on the album, and most of them simply soar. It's excellent. (Anthony Negron)
In response to a previous post how does Springsteen and the Clash end up on the same list of favorite albums??!!

Oh this is a great album by the way. The only completely solid double album ever made (but what about The White Album? Uhhh no.). It s also one of the most over-scrutinized ones too. So, yadda-yadda-yadda, sounds, nice, poppy and cheery. I don t think I can find anything to say that hasn t been said already on this message board.

So buy it now, and put some money in the pocket of old, crusty Joe Strummer.
punk? nah. the clash were never a punk band, except in spirit. punk called for the denouncement of all previous forms of music, the clash did the opposite - openly drawing from a huge array of past influence, mick jones even nicked keith richard's entire image!

i read an earlier comment that the clash weren't very political. erm, wrong. an entire generation of english kids had their eyes opened to politics by this band. london calling, with the exception of train in vain, is as political as any record can be. u.s. readers will probably find it hard to understand, cos in terms of political maturity americans are well behind us europeans. ha, inflamatory! let me point out that we in england had OUR revolution 140 years before both america & france! we chopped the king's head off, and the clash symbolised that EXACT same thread of english insurgency, but for the modern age. let's see.........topics covered by this album: war; racism; feminism; poverty; crime; fascism; communism; religeon......etc sounds to me like a political study worthy of any phd thesis.

as time filters the wheat from the chaff, this band are coming to be recognised for their full worth - something, i'm afraid, that didn't happen back when they were around. add to this the fact that out of all those "punk" bands they're the only ones that haven't reformed for a lucre-spinning jaunt, makes em the true embodiment of punk (even if they don't sound like it!). paradox? indeed, but punk always was.
London calling, to me, is just bad. The production is BAD. its actually GOOD, but it just kills them. The lyrics are really damn good, which is why it hurts for the music to be oh so bad. Everybody will tell you this record kicks some kind of ass. And maybe it does, but to this young boy, its terrible.
Great album... didn't like it at first... the gruff shouting of London Calling really turned me off at first listen. I came around. The phased guitar pop stuff really drew me in, I love that, it's all so neon blue. Even the gruffer stuff started to become more appealing and I just love this album. I'd say that Rudie Can't Fail right through to The Guns of Brixton is one of the greatest succesions of songs ever ... my favorite tracks are Spanish bombs, train in vain, jimmy jazz, and rudie cant fail. actually Lost In The Supermarket is by far my favorite... nothing about that song is ugly, it's all fantastic. Musical ecstasy (Eric Sweenor)
London Calling is, of course, incredible. But I couldn't give a ten to an album where the last quarter of it is so weak in comparison! On an album where there are no real highlights because the first 14 tracks are all absolutely amazing, it takes a complete nosedive. "Lovers' Rock" only gets interesting when it's a little bit funky, "Four Horsemen" sounds like a weak Give 'Em Enough Rope outtake, and "Revolution Rock" is six minutes of stoned-out rambling with some admittedly cool horns, but it's a good thing "Train In Vain" ends the album on a high point. Still, few could record a double album of such consistenly high quality - it's bookended by "Train In Vain" and "London Calling", what more could you want...? 9/10
Probably the greatest accomplishment of the British punk scene in the late 1970s. It explores more styles than the Pistols ever did and the Buzzcocks never wrote a record that was this together, though a case could be made for their "Singles Going Steady" compilation. Of course, it is sort of overrated just like other generational standards like Sgt. Peppers, Nevermind, and that goddamn Joshua Tree. But so what if it's not really the best album of the 80s, it's still good. (It was released in 1979, btw...though it's impact occured in the following year. )

It has a good range of styles with classic songs such as the apocalyptic "London Calling", the beyond groovy "Jimmy Jazz", the accordian driven punk of "Hateful", the blissful Big Star-esque power-pop of "Spanish Bombs", the pretty ballad "Lost in the Supermarket", a pair of pop-punk numbers in the middle of the record, and, of course, the poppy-as-all-fucking-pop single "Train In Vain" which concludes the album. A very fine selection of songs and the Clash's peak musically. I haven't heard the triple album yet, but Combat Rock sucked a dick save for "Straight To Hell". It was pretty much just down from here it seems. Of course, this record isn't perfect. "Wrong Em Boyo" may be the most annoying song ever. It's certainly one of the worst in my completely unvaluable opinion. I also can't help but hate "The Card Cheat". "Lover's Rock" and a few other songs on the second side ain't too great either. The second half of the record is definately weaker than the first. Perhaps a single album or a five song decrease would've worked in this album's favor. Zen Arcade and Double Nickels on the Dime it's not.

Still, I admire The Clash for attempting something so ambitious and whether the album is perfect or not, it cemented them as a great band. As if they weren't before...
i've been reading all these reviews about london calling and I can't believe that no one has mentioned one of the best things about this fabulous record.....drummer Topper Headon! the drumming on this album is just awesome. Just listen to songs like "clampdown" and "death or glory". or "spanish bombs". hell, so many songs I could mention. what a great drummer this guy is, probably very under-rated I suppose. Yet now I know why Sandy Pearlman referred to him as "the human drum machine". Pearlman said during the sessions for "Give em enough rope" that Headon never missed a single beat, hence the nickname. However its unfair that he outlived Strummer, since Strummer was adamant against drug use and Headon was as we all know a heroin user. Hey, who else loves the drums on this LP?
London Calling reminds me of The Sugarcubes, only wihhtout Bjorks wonderful voice you're left with that talentless moron Einar singing. It's annoying guitar pop. And I'll never understand why people foam at the mouth for Aerosmith going somehwat more mainstream while The Clash are almost universally admired- for being poppier!
Yeah, finally a reviewer who gives this record a 10 or a 5 or an a+ or whatever that the best score is. This album isn't like Physical Graffiti, which is grand at first but gets OLD quickly........ it's not as sprawling and everything is focused. Some people say that it's uneven, I disagree, I DO think that becuase it is eclectic there is some songs that not everyone is a-gonna like right away or at all, though. I don't particularly like 'Brand New Cadillac' and 'Lover's Rock'........ but the rest is stellar, there only a few that sound like they shouldn't be a part of a 'greatest hits' collection....... the title track, 'Spanish Bombs', 'The Card Cheat', Train In Vain', 'Wrong 'Em Boyo', 'Lost In The Supermarket', 'The Guns Of Brixton', 'Hateful', and 'Rudie Can't Fail' are absolutely stellar pop songs that deserve to be in anyboy's collection. The rest of the songs are good, just a small level below these. London Calling is an absolute zenith of the new wave movement. Only Elvis Costello can boast such great new wave pop. And that IS what London Calling is, it's pop, not just mere punk. That's what makes the Clash one great band, the incorporation of new styles of music..... oh yeah, and talent to burn. One of the few essential albums, in my top 10. The only problem is that 2 out of the 19 aren't some of my favorite and the low level of production can get to you at times. It's really one of those moments which you didn't think would/could happen. Like David Bowie making the Berlin Trilogy and Hunky Dory, Elvis Costello making Imperial Bedroom, The Beatles making Rubber Soul and the Rolling Stones with Beggar's Banquet(the best of the Stones).
London Calling is a great album. If you've never heard the Clash, or even heard of them, check this out. The title track is one of the greatest rock-raga songs ever, and the album covers so many different styles there is bound to be something for everyone. Two such talented guys as Strummer and Jones were destined not to be able to work together forever (though, is that a bad thing - see Stones releases of the past 20-30 years...), but when they were on, they were ON!
Oh yeah, this is new wave pop at its best. Rudie Can t Fail is catchy beyond words; it s like the poppy offspring of Paul McCartney and Sting, which is a good thing!! And the other songs are great as well yea u know the songs clampdown , guns of brixton etc etc etc. Still I really have a problem with Jimmy Jazz , despite the catchy melody, its sooooooo annoying it would fit better on a solo David Lee Roth album then on a friggin Clash record!! Ha still I love the album, and now my friends are into it coz I insist playing this album at parties, instead of fucking Usher or that guy who pisses on 2 yr old girls. 10 (Ron)
Call this sacrilege, and I defended this album at the time against my friends who were hung up on Supertramp and Styx, but I'm not one of those who thinks this record is a classic. There are some good moments here, but a lot of it sounds contrived. "Wrong Em Boyo" steals from "Sea Cruise"...a precursor to the endless lack of originality of today's acts. The title track has some nice screams, but I find songs like "The Right Profile" frankly unlistenable. Give me "Safe European Home" or "White Man in Hammersmith Palais" instead.
This is the only Clash album I like. I don't think they're a good punk band. I think they're too idealistic and not snotty enough. But, London Calling is such a great album. I think it's the single greatest party album ever recorded. Every song is danceable and I just love the Clash's phony but way cool 40s/50s Hollywood working class tough guy look. "Stand by Me" used to be my favorite Clash song until I realised "The Right Profile" is about Montgomery Clift.
Another Clash classic, "I Believe in this and its been tested by research. He who fucks nuns will later join them church." Punk. Yes, but who cares the music is great for the most part. I of course see the album having some filler, but not much. The covers do suck! "Brand New Cadilac" everyone seems to like and I can't understand why and "Wrong Em' Boyo is as stupid as the title. So why include these lame songs when the originals are so much better, I have no clue. Of course I think "The Card Cheat" is one of the best songs ever and many seem to put it down, so I guess some would think I don't have a clue. Other classics include, "London Calling", "Koka Kola", "Rudie Can't Fail", "Spanish Bombs", "Death Or Glory", "Train In Vein" and "Lost In The Supermarket". I also find "Lover's Rock", "The Right Profile", "Clampdown" and even "Four Horseman" entertaining even with the idiotic lyrics of the latter. I don't go crazy over "The Guns Of Brixton", but it has grown on me and is another favorite. "I'm Not Down", "Hateful" and "Jimmy Jazz" are ones that may be lower on the Clash quality level, but pretty good filler. So besides the covers and the only really annoying song, "Revolution Rock" this album deserves all the praise it gets. A classic. (Tucker Phelps)
I don't know if I would call them "the only band that matters," but the fact remains London Calling is a great record. Strummer's voice gives the music enough edge to fool you into thinking that you aren't listening to lovable pop. At any rate London Calling displays a brand of pop that infuses reggae and ska and rock and remains unafraid to even get a little funky. "Rudy Can't Fail" is a great ska inspired track that fails to sound like emotionally charged circus music (as most ska does). "Guns of Brixton" is the coolest track with a reggae funk beat and a vocal delivery that is more like rapping than singing. Only "Train in Vain" disappointed me on the album and not because I don't like the song, but it is possibly the poppiest track on the record and I wish they hadn't ended the album with it. Elvis Costello is the only better song writer of the era and London Calling displays the Clash at the top of their game.

Jeffery Hoelscher
This is what this record did for stupid teenaged me. It made me confront homosexuality and declare that it was OK to dig men. Why? Because I didn't know anything and I thought that 'Rudie Can't Fail' or some other song with a man's name in the title (it wasn't 'Jimmy Jazz', that would've been 'Jimmy Jiz') referred to the singer's affection for the male sex. Yes, I was an idiot, but no, I wasn't a fucker. I declared to my father that I didn't care if the Clash were gay, I liked them because I liked their music and the placement of their cocks was of little interest to me. My dad just smiled. My dad's pretty smart.

Add your thoughts?

Sandinista! - CBS 1980.
Rating = 6

Good lord. You know, with the teeniest bit of editing, this could have been a phenomenal single album, or even a really good double-album. But a TRIPLE-ALBUM??????? WHY THE HELL WOULD WE POSSIBLY WANT TO SIT THROUGH EVERY FRIGGIN' DUB REGGAE BLOOP THESE GUYS FEEL LIKE PUTTING ON TAPE????? Oh, enough bitterness. There really are some wonderful tracks on here; lots of dippy pop stuff ("Hitsville UK," "Somebody Got Murdered" - both great tracks), some delightful funk ("The Magnificent Seven"), gospel ("The Sound Of The Sinners"), novelty (child-sung versions of "Career Opportunities" and "The Guns Of Brixton"), and other neat experiments in that vein.

The problem is that, between every couple of great melodic trackers lies a bunch of boring interchangable reggae crap. Now see, if you're a reggae AFFICIONADO, you might really dig sittin' through this guff, but aside from the stand-out tracks "The Crooked Beat" and "One More Time," I personally can't find anything interesting to grab ahold of in any of these slug-paced ganja anthems. Your best course of action would probably be to find somebody who owns the record, borrow it, and just tape your favorite songs because, trust me on this, the thought of sitting through all 36 of these tracks on a regular basis is daunting to the point of inducing seasickness, or at least carsickness, slight nausea, or tinnitis. Not lupus, though. That kills people, and isn't funny at all. Unlike tinnitis, which is hi-friggin'-larious!!!!!

Reader Comments
Well, gotta strongly disagree with the Prindle review. Sandinista! deserves 3 more of those red dots giving it a 9 of 10. Granted, there are some slow, uninteresting moments here. Thing is, there is SO much originality - in expertly crafted songs with melodies you'll be singing out and lyrics you'll be writing down - that those slow moments kinda serve to give you a rest, pull your thoughts together. Most bands can't pull off such consistency (again, INCREDIBLE songs, 36 total) over a SINGLE LP or CD. These guys can play. Sing. Write. None of their other efforts approach this, IMHO. Buy it, make a LONG tape. Play it loud with friends. Play it low for yourself. (Dave Weigel)
I think you're selling this album short, Mark. Sandinista! is currently my favorite Clash record (I've heard the debut and London Calling too often). Out of 36 tracks, about 26 are amazing. That's more than any other album I can think of. In addition to what you mentioned, "Something About England", "Up in Heaven", "The Sound of the Sinners", "Police on My Back", "The Call Up", "Lose This Skin" and "Charlie Don't Surf" rank among my favorite Clash tunes. And certainly none of their records can match the breadth of the styles on here. There's not that much reggae--go listen to Super Black Market Clash. Now, that's too much reggae! (And on only one CD too!). While I did make a 90 minute dubbed tape to listen to, I can listen to the whole thing with few complaints. Only on side 6 does it start to run out of ideas. An 8 or 9 out of 10.
Okay.. just bought this one. Hmmm.. Markey's right about it not being listenable all the way through. Lots of incredibly weird garbage on this CD! But on that same token, the other stuff is some of the best Clash I've heard.. and yes there is alot of reggae on here!! and that's what I like! Who the heck sings on "Living in Fame"?? That's a dopey ass tune! And so so is "Junco Partner"! Strummer definitely had t'have been smokin' a fat one on that track! (Dean Reis)
You know, this album is really not that bad. Even if i have had this album for about two years now and i'm still trying to get through the third record. The are some mediocre ideas here, but there are some really brilliant ideas here too. The trouble is finding them. None of the songs are terrible though. Here is some advice, just spend the extra ten dollars and get on the two disc cd instead of the three disc lp. It is a lot easier to find the gems on this album that way. (Kevin O'Driscoll)
Oops the Clash found themselves with too much powerful herb and way way too many studio toys. Plus a record company that wanted another hit double album from their bad boys. Wish it never happened. Junk-O partners, Charlie don't surf, he sank. And drowned. Ollie North and the Contras on the other hand did alright and Ronnie Reagan ruled the 80s much to Joe's sandynisty political demise. The album had to be a loser. (Gregory S. Bougopoulos)
After all the bad reviews I've read on this album, all I can say is that one has to listen to many different opinions. It would've been better if the dead wood had been cut, but most of that stuff is on sides 5 & 6. Sides 1-3, even with the dubs and novelties, is still great. The messiness of this album actually makes it more interesting. Like the White Album, there is something for everyone here. This is also a triple-album, on 2-cds that usually sells for more than $5 less than 80 minute 2cd albums, like The Wall. Great value and great music. An 8.

After getting used to the initial tone of this recording, I can say that "Look Here", "Midnight Log", "Lightning Strikes", and all of side 5 [minus "Mensforth Hill"] are all good. But, if you are about to break in the CD, don't play this random! Instead, "The Magnificent Seven", with mobsters, lobsters, and cheeseboigers, sets the listener up for the remaining 35 songs. When it's time for side 6, or songs 31-36, start yawning or reading something while the music is on. "If Music Could Talk" is my all-time favorite for headphones when I'm half asleep.
everyone says it's got too much music and most of it not clash standard, but noone seems to remember thay charged regular album price for the triple. so, once again it is proved that this world did not and still does not deserve the clash. and yes that includes sandinista! the people must have something good to listen to, these days. let that be these magnificent records, o people-san.
prindle my boy, how can you call yourself a music reviewer when you give sandinista! only 6/10 ? this IS the album for all music reviewers bored out of their heads, like you seem to be. yeah sure it got s it s less exciting moments, but you can hear history being made on this album. sandinista! simply had to be made, and only the best band in the world could do it. so here it is, sandinista!, by The Clash. (Reg Stalin)
This proves that you are either an idiot or a provocative smart-arse. The best album ever made by anybody but only someone with the limited brain and attention span of an american would fail to see this. Stick with your guns and your god yankee and leave taste to those with the ability and culture to appreciate it.
This took a reeeeeeally long time to digest, but I've finally decided that I've given this album enough listens to rate it. Listening to what everyone says about Sandinista!, it would seem like the album is nothing but four good songs hidden beneath approximately seventy-three layers of indistinguishable, plodding reggae. I don't get it. Yes, there's definitely reggae, and there's definitely boring reggae, but are you people serious? This album is loaded with great tunes! "The Magnificent Seven" funks like the best of 'em, "Hitsville UK" is gorgeous dippy pop, "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe" leads the pack in pure catchiness (who cares about the Space Invaders sounds? They enhance the song! BLOOBLOOOBLOOBOOLLOOOOOLLBLBBLOOB!), "Lightning Strikes" is chaotically percussive, "Police On My Back" ROCKS, and "Somebody Got Murdered" is a nice, straightforward pop tune. And those aren't the only good songs!

Seriously, there's not as much chaff on this comprehensive conglomerate of compositions as everyone claims. The remixes are interesting and atmospheric and at least two-thirds of the actual songs are well-written. I don't WORSHIP this stuff, and "Lose This Skin" gives me a headache (I know it's an obvious comparison, but the guy's voice sounds like someone tightened the vice around Geddy Lee's balls a few more notches), but it's a very, very interesting listen. Plus, I agree with Dave Weigel's comment above-- even though not every one of these 36 songs works, at least 25 to 28 do, and with the re-release of the album going for a really cheap price of only 21 bucks, that's a VERY good deal. I can't give it a 10 because I don't go around handing out 10's for pure ambition and scope alone, plus London Calling is as close as the band got to a perfect album, but I'll go with a 9. Currently my second-favorite Clash album, unless Cut The Crap is some sort of underrated masterpiece (which for some reason I doubt). (Pete Egan)
Okay, it's late and my review is probably a little all over the place, but then again, so is Sandinista! Where to begin! Well, all right, Mark let's say you're The Clash. You've made London Calling, a record which would gain the status of "classic" and takes up four sides of punk, rockabilly, jazz, reggae, pop etc. Then, for your follow-up, you create a triple album, making it nearly 2 and a half hours long and not only including all the aforementioned styles, but also adding even more, which I'll get into later. (Yeah yeah, I know I'm shamelessly rewriting from Ink Blot Magazine but so what?) You title it as a tribute to the commie insurgents in Nicaragua, you'd offer the thing for the price of a double album, you'd include a giant lyric sheet called 'The Armiggedeon Times,' you'd put a cool message on the run-out groove of the vinyl, and a lot of people would say it was too experimental and over-indulgent. Well dammit I say, I will forever praise this album and defend it against every poor criticism I've heard.

You say The Beatles' White Album gets a 10 because 'it's longer than the others and more beatles is better beatles.' I guess that same logic doesn't apply to The Clash, eh? To be fair, I think your review is actually more coherent and uh, understandable than some who just seem to slam it for no reason at all. It's true that there IS a lot of reggae on this ("One More Time," "One More Dub," "The Call Up," "The Crooked Beat," etc) but I think all are at least interesting, to say the very least (which is more than I can say for some of Combat Rock) and they benefit from being 'toasted' by Mickey Dread. Only "The Equiliser" gets repetitive and boring. Yet there's plenty more then just reggae on this album. There's the New York-style funk of "The Magnificent Seven" and "Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice)." There's the wimpy pop of "Hitsville U.K." There's a flirtation with disco (!) on the Topper- sung "Ivan Meets GI Joe." There's some swinging jazz in the cover of Mose Allison's "Look Here." There's more rockabilly in "The Leader." There's gospel in "Sound Of The Sinners." There's rhythm and blues in "Version City." There's Callypso-like ska in "Let's Go Crazy." And of course there's some out-and-out rock ("Up In Heaven," "Somebody Got Murdered," "Police On My Back," the latter is the closest Sandinista gets to 'punk'.

What's cool about Sandinista is how everyone always says there's too much garbage that should have been shelved, yet you ask ten people or so to list there three favorites from this album, and no two people will mention the same three. This is a known fact! Now I'm not saying that this is a flawless album, by any means. As much as my uncle loves "Rebel Waltz," I think it downright sucks ass, I could certainly do without "Junkie Slip," and despite that cool background piano "Midnight Log" isn't too great. "Mensforth Hill" is an interesting idea; a song played backwards with synthesizer overdubs, but the song they chose was a bad choice ("Something About England") because even backwards it sounds very similar. Yeah, I know many who say that for every great tune there is some crap, but MAN, just listen to thosegreat tunes. IMO, a couple of the songs on Sandinista! blow the doors off of anything on London Calling, which is not an easy thing to say. Heard "Broadway" lately? How about "Charlie Don't Surf" or "Kingston Advice"? The remixes at the end, well, "Living In Fame" is worth hearing once or twice, the rest are basically filler. But that only slightly hurts the record. You gotta love the introductions to "Lightning Strikes," "Let's Go Crazy" and "Version City." I could go on and on but I think I've ranted enough.

I almost forgot: "Junco Partner" is from the old old days, written by Strummer when he was in his first band. That's why the song isn't credited to 'The Clash' on the label.
this is one powerhouse album. london calling had surpassed it's hype. this paid back the loyalty and reverance - imagine if they would've followed with Combat Rock! this is the goods. songs weave, meander and tromp. reggae and dub were still mere thoughts of tactic among the music intellects - here it was more than filler - it was foreshadowing.

if you honed Sandanista down to two albums it would be as stylistically important and musicaly adept as London Calling. in my humble opinion, of course. (Sergio Miguel Magnacca)
have to say i generally agree with most of your reviews but you should go back and listen to sandinista a bit more. let it sink in.. i think it gets either a 9 and a 10... the three greatest clash albums are the first, london calling and sandinista (which for some reason- probably length or stylistic diversity, experimentatin) gets a very undeserved bum rap... the clash's taking on of gospel (sound of sinners) and early hip hop is AWESOME
How wonderful it is to realize there are other people who gave this record a chance and accidently found it's not even close to half as bad as all the critics said! I mean this thing is spat on by Christgau-humping turtlenecks. Notoriously. Here's the truth: they romantasized this myth that London Calling was brilliant and fun and never drags and rocks the best and blah blah blah- Bullshit. Sandinista is the one, folks. Yes, if you can't stand reggae, keep a distance, but if you can't stand reggae, why the hell would you listen to the Clash?! The worst songs on here are the rockers! "Somebody got murdered" is weak and uninspired - how could anybody play rock drums like that? (heroin, Topper?) If you want to rock, grab that first record (yes, the Brit. vers.) See, critics didn't know too much about reggae then and they sure didn't take kindly to "dub". But this is decent dub. Great dub. Mikey Dread lending a hand, phased high hats and analog synth bleeps-all the dub stuff works great! Then there's the offbeat things: surf, bossa-nova, jazz, lounge, disco-good disco! Un-ironic punk disco! And funk. Much better than most of London Calling I think. The Clash had an incredible talent for assimilating foreign genres into their music and not doing it in ways clumsy or blatent. Except Motown. Man, "sound of the sinners" is not very good.

Is there any pretention? Yeah, but it's at least interesting. I can seriously listen to this album all the way through-no joke. It's damn long, though. If you can, do what I did and locate an old double cassette copy at a record shop and give it a few solid listens. At least two-thirds great, which is more than I can say for the overated London Calling. So glad to see other people aggree. Sandinista 9, London Calling 5.
Here's my condensation: a 7" 45rpm "Police On My Back" b/w "Somebody Got Murdered" (Uncle Buzz Records)
You don't just sit down in front of your stereo to listen to Sandinista like you would a pop album. Sandinista is an album you live with. It's an album you grow up with. It's a travelogue. It may take years to really digest the whole thing, but what's your hurry? The journey is the thing. This is the moment where the Clash are true originals. They re-established the definition of "Punk" with Sandinista. There aren't really any true "reggae" tracks on here........This is CLASH-REGGAE. There's a difference. The Clash have got their own thang goin' on here, a harder edge. Show me a reggae record that sounds just like this, because as lengthy as some folks claim Sandinista is, I want more! Sandinista is the best Clash album, hands down. Play it again and again ( and again ). It's guitar-driven ambient music. (Fabio Rios)
ZZZ (Nathan)
For once, I completely agree with Mark. There's some really great stuff on here, like "Somebody Got Murdered," "Something About England," and "Charlie Don't Surf," but then there's some real crap they shoulda just left out. I really don't think we need all those crappy remixes like "One More Dub." If they had cut this down to a double album (or, even better, a single album) this could have really RULED. Probably their second best (slightly above the debut, and below London Calling, obviously.) so.....yeah. That's really all I have left to say. Keep up the good work Mark!
The Call Up is a great song. In the age of CDs as well, maybe we should be happy they released double and triple albums, cause one can easily edit out the pure dreck you don't like!







































Sandinista is WAY BETTER than London Calling.My marks:

Magnificent Seven 5; Hitsville UK 9; Junco Partner 8; The Leader 8; Ivan meets GI Joe 7; Something about England 9; Rebel Waltz 6; Look here 7; Crooked beat 5; Somebody got murdered 10; One more time 8; dub 6; Lightning strikes 8; Up in Heaven 9; Corner soul 9; Lets go crazy 7; If Music could talk 8; Sound of Sinners 9; Police on my Back 8; Midnight Log 8; The Equaliser 8; The Call up 9; Washington Bullets 9; Broadway 8; Lose this Skin 9; Charlie don't surf 6; Mensforth Hill 8; Junkie slip 4; Kingston Advice 8; The Street Parade 10; Version City 6; Living in Fame 7; Silicone on Sapphire 8; Version Pardner 5; Career Opportunities 5; Shepherds Delight 9.
I had been poo-poo-ing this album for 20 years, with the usual complaints that it's got about 4-5 great songs and 30 songs of filler, but I finally gave it an open-minded chance a few weeks ago, and I love it now. If this LPs been gathering dust in your collection, try what I did on a Friday night (make sure you've got plenty of free time available):

Buy a six-pack of beer. If you don't know where to buy beer, ask your mom.

Put on side one, which you're probably well familiar with by now, because that's as far as you've ever gotten before. Drink the first beer. Get the juices flowing with "Magnificent Seven," "Ivan Meets GI Joe", etc... and whet your appetite for more subtle material with the unresolved mysteries of "Something About England."

Take a whiz and pop open beer #2. Flip the record over and catch your breath to "Lover's Waltz." Snap your fingers to "Look Here" and start wishing you had a doobie available when "Crooked Beat" comes up. Back to reality with a true London Calling shoulda-been, "Somebody Got Murdered". Then whip out the imaginary bong for the closing "One More Time" sequence.

By now you should have a small buzz. Keep it going with #3. Kick-start your mood with the trebly funk of "Lightning Strikes" and get your fill of Mick Jones pop with "Up in Heaven". Enjoy it, too, because things get kinda weird from here on out. You get some unexpected calypso ("Let's Go Crazy") and gospel ("Sound of the Sinners") that start to make you think you've started hallucinating a bit.

Side Four brings on the fourth beer and WHAMMO! You're back in business with some amazing Mick Jones pop again (courtesy of Eddy Grant, but hey, who's keeping track?) - "Police on my Back". The rest of the side is pretty accessible too - "Equaliser" is standard Clash reggae (which is still worthwhile, if only as a place holder while you take a piss), but "The Call Up" and "Washington Bullets" are both as catchy as anything on the album. And catchier than anything you'll find from here on. The side four closer "Broadway" is much more typical of what you'll find of sides five and six: hallucinogenic mood music that appears to be in a standard style, but you can't quite place it - is "Broadway" a reggae song? jazz? a show tune? It's so nondescript it's actually fascinating. I listen to it a lot just to wonder what the hell they were trying to accomplish with that song.

Ok, anyway, here's side and beer five: WEIRD. It starts kinda poppy with "Lose This Skin" but it's sung by someone named Tymon Dogg or something (a chick, I gather) and her/its voice is totally strange. Make sure your beer is cold for this one. "Charlie Don't Surf" is a nice respite from this shock, more Mick Jones pop. Kinda sounds like the melody was later used for "Inoculated City" on Combat Rock. Still, the song never quite hits the "mainstream-sounding" groove that you expect it to, and that makes it kinda eerie. The rest of the side is kind of a blur. Experimental reggae, weird remixes, and oddly-placed semi-pop. By this time you're wondering if you should have gotten another six pack.

Side Six offers little hope of resolution or meaning for this evening of Clash indulgence. "Version City" is slinky and catchy, but by now you're on your toes because you've been lured into that pop trap before on previous album sides. To be honest, by this point the album just seems like it's grown on you, for better or worse, and the individual songs don't grab you as much. Which isn't to say it's not enjoyable - on the contrary! By now (oops - forgot to tell you to drink beer #6) you can just enjoy the sheer weird unpredictability of the album, and understand that you STILL don't really understand it, even after six beers. (Or twelve, if you gave in to that urge in the last paragraph).

In conclusion, Sandinista makes for a great way to fill an otherwise boring Friday evening. It's not going to knock down your door begging for your attention, but it you give it a couple of hours of dedicated listening (which admittedly took me 20 years to do, but I'm glad I finally did), it just might grow on you. No hurry though - it'll be there when you're ready.
crash bandicoot, what a guy...

cannae beat a bit of playing that game with a bit of the crooked beat in the background OH YEAH!

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Black Market Clash - CBS 1980.
Rating = 8

A collection of odds and sods, rarities, missing links, fazed biscuits, and some cool dub reggae, this 'un gives a good demonstration of how they switched from kidpunk to adult-oriented pornography, but it's not seamless enough to be a good introduction to the combo. The reggae stuff is awesome, but it all sounds the same, and the punk stuff is the teeniest bit below usual Clash standards, renderenderenderin' the cute lil' ten-inch thang a keen catcher-upper for long-time fans missin' semi-legendary tracks like "Capital Radio One" and "Armagideon Time," but not the most amazing conglomerate of Clashy songs ever etched on a little black or silver round deal.
Reader Comments
Some cool leftovers on here, but mostly ugly remixes like with "Armagideon Time", "Bank Robber", "Call Up" etc.. Worth getting only because "1977" is on here!! (Dean Reis)
Now here you have the essence of what was great about the punk, he could "Cheat" and get away with it, "no rules, they're for the fools" but at the same time enjoy some over dub ska dance music. Headbangers, moshers and rasta dance craze delight. Buy it if you can find it. Capital radio Indeed! (Deborah Sheldrick)
Having been turntable free for a number of years I acquired one and decided to play some old tunes...I played their first album, followed by give 'em enough rope topped off with Black Market Clash.... Wow! I had forgotton the pure punk energy that were the Clash. I saw them many times in and around SE England in the mid-late 70's and loved every performance. I am 41 now with kids who are looking very discusted with watching me 'spotty-dogging' in the lounge....Oh well

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Combat Rock - CBS 1982.
Rating = 8

Cheese Louise, is this a weird album. Starts off innocuous enough, with the brash chanka chank rock of "Know Your Rights" (followed by the poppy reggae "Car Jamming" and the classics "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" and "Rock The Casbah"), but soon takes a weird left turn followed by a couple of swerves around in a circle before coming to a standstill somewhere in the middle of Amsterdam. Side two is so weird! Funk, sure, but what the hell is that other stuff? Poetry? Pop? Ambient lounge jazz? Strange and DEFINITELY not "rock," these tracks nevertheless present a defining truth about this here combo - they had aspirations far beyond anything that anybody ever gave them credit for.

Sorry about that preposition at the end there, but, again, people still call The Clash "a classic punk rock band," and everyone talks about how Rancid "sound just like The Clash!," but the truth is that Rancid most likely will NEVER come close to sounding like the true Clash - the Clash that took musical chances and stepped all over the globe for positive influence (unlike Rancid, who can only play "boring midtempo retro-punk" and "white reggae," but ooooh! They have mohawks!!!). This is The Clash that blows me away. Why would anyone in their right mind put out an album full of disjointed unconnected genre-bending little thingamajigs and dare to call it Combat ROCK??? Oh man, what a band. Don't buy this expecting twelve variations on "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?," though, 'cause, as great a little rock and roll song as that is, Mick and the gang had other plans. Now, of course, everybody trashes this album, but they can frig off, because it's actually really great. "Straight To Hell?" Heard that one? Man. Sell-out? Aaaaah, no. Generally, when a band desires to "sell out," they record songs that people might actually want to BUY!

Reader Comments (Jim Hull) paraphrase Ren Hoek:..."how easily we could...end the FARCE...just one quick TWIST!! *snap!*...and it'd be OVER..."

Oh well...having said that...I was really disappointed when this came out...I wanted more punk guitar, ya gad-dang limeys!! *Sigh!*...anyway...some interesting things...but I don't want interesting...I want slam it in your face, up against the wall stuff...sonically it doesn't deliver...but if you have a it up...

I give this album a 6 on the no way does it deserve a 9...interesting does not keep it from becoming boring...and I think they knew it...
Ya.. this is such a lame album. You might think they didn't sell out on this one because most of the tunes are weird and offbeat, but hey, it's gotta appeal to SOMEONE! "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and "Rock the Casbah" are the ONLY listenable tunes on here.. then it all goes down the drain starting from "Red Angel Dragnet" (what a dorky song!!!) to the very end.. (Dean Reis)
i have to agree with everything you say on this album. I feel that this is one of there most underrated albums next to sandinista. it just takes some getting use to.
"Know Your Rights" is effing brilliant. The rest is crap. (Ben Giltay)
Out of all the albums of The Clash I have (nearly all) this is definately number two, behind London Calling. Why? Because its the result of a band who started off in one genre of music, but then evolved and expanded their horizons. In short, its the result of experimentation, which is exactly what punk is supposed to be about. And the title, Combat Rock. Ok, well its not rock, like Metallica is rock, but the naming of the album simply means they decided to call it combat ROCK because its the product of punk ROCK. Well, thats my theory anyway. Just buy it and enjoy! (Truth be told, it _does_ make a pleasant change from heavy punk like "Clash City Rockers"....) (Mike Semcheski)
London Calling isn't THAT happy. (that's not why it deserves stars, either)(it gets 10 stars cause the songs are all bombs). Can an album get 9 stars and contain (ohh popasan, please take me home, everybody, they wanna go home) "Straight to hell"? "Red Angel Dragnet", "Should I stay" are good tunes. Best song ever: that's "rock the casbah". (Kevin O'Driscoll)
No mortally wounded and bleeding fast. Even the bellicose Alan Ginsburg poetry couldn't ressurect this one from the tomb of the known soldier. Its not even ironic that their big USA hits "Should I stay or go" and "Rock the Casbah" came here. Once the Clash made it on Mainstream US radio they were buried alive as a band. Absolutely, the horror, the horror of "Know your rights" made me wish I was heading, yes it was "Straight to Hell." Strummer languishing his political brow beating of the US politics of Vietnam in the plight of Amerasians at least score a humanitarian point or two. The critic has no taste if he likes this one, except he probably works for some pop radio station, and that explains everything quite nicely actually. The Clash had been forced to make mass consumable music and there was no more edge, even the new mohawk and bursting veins on Strummer's temples couldn't make this album rock my Casbah. Sharif didn't like it and neither did the punks. It was almost over. (Gregory S. Bougopoulos)
When I first heard the album the first couple of times, I was confused. How in the hell is this a sell-out, I thought. I also did not care much for the album itself, but I was patient and I can see how you like it a lot. I would give it an 8, not a 9, but I still think it proves how damn great The Clash were. A weird album, but much more interesting than most major-label, production heavy alternarock albums of today.
of course i for one would give it a 10 instead of a 9. but then again you have a right to free speech, even if you are not dumb enough and actually try it. listen to combat rock and go straight to hell. or heaven. or straight to work or home or wherever you might be heading for, if you happen to listen to it in your car like i use to do (relax, not in your car, in mine). overpowered? over and out. (Kevin E.)
Both The Jam's The Gift and The Clash's Combat Rock represent two bands very capable of producing an entire record off of a very good template but instead traveling in the opposite direction and, in their dying days, producing a product that stands as the finest representation of their entire body of work. Songs like "Inoculated City" and "Red Angel Dragnet" are exceedingly ambitious works that are by no means startingly original; the context in which they are presented speaks worlds for both. A very solid record. (James L. Tichenor)
Like you said Mark- Combat ROCK??!!!?! Hee hee ha hoo hoo ho!!! This is about as much of a rock album as any Micheal Jackson album. But that don't mean it sux. Actually quite the opposite. This is a really colorful album, with more really catchy melodies and funny lyrics. What an 80's production though- with all those damn samples and the techno drums throughout half the frickin' album. But even that doesn't mar this album too much- great songwriting is half of the task of making great albums, and most of this is really great. (Rich Bunnell)
THIS! IS A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT! WITH......GUITAR!!!!!! Waaaaaay under-rated. You're really on the right track for this one, Mark, even though I really don't care for "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" very much at all (too simple, and not in a good way). "Rock The Casbah" is a great example of a non-sellout pop song, but I like all of the dumb crazy offbeat experiments on here a great deal. The Ginsburg cameo is stupidly funny, "Sean Flynn" is pretty good world beat (good background music for sure), and....that funk song! It's generic, but it rules all hell! Yes, you heard me! Maybe not a 9 for me but an 8 for sure. (Brad Hunsinger)
Dean Reis hit it right on! The Clash is one of the top bands ever and kicks the Pistols ass all over london. Anarchy in tha UK ? BOLLOCKS! It's not anarchy when it's under someone elses boot, be he punk or whatever. The Dead Kennedys had it right with Nazi Punks Fuck Off. All the Pistols did was slag everyone and act like arrogant children. LONG LIVE THE CLASH!!!!!
For me Combat Rock has always been the greatest CLASH album-with hindsight I can see how they looked outward and musically embraced the world.Despite my love of fast hardcore punkrock this gets a 10.
Straight To hell is one of the greatest songs the Clash ever recorded. Number three behind Complete Control and White Man In Hammersmithe Palis. As for the rest of the album it is also magnificent. I must say that London Calling and The Clash (Self titled) are quite a bit better, but this still ranks right up there with Sandinista and Give 'em Enough Rope. And hey it was by The Clash so that alone tells you that it is better then pretty much anything else ever recorded. As far as selling out that is complete bullshit. The Clash have always been true to their music and their fans.
Hey Prindle, I find it quite ironic that you continually make fun of Rancid when you said (to me at least) that you've only owned one Rancid album and don't have it anymore. Check out their most recent self-titled album, with no boring white reggae in sight and a considerably increased tempo than And Out Come The Wolves or the horrendous piece of shit Life Won't Wait. (Even if Tim & Lars still have mohawks) And of course Rancid is nowhere as good as The Clash when it comes to musical experimentation. Who could be? The Ramones (as much as I love 'em) hardly took any chances after establishing themselves, but that's part of their appeal to me. Part of The Clash's appeal to me is their ability to create incredibly well-written songs in so many different genres. (Although I really don't like Rock Then Casbah all that much.) And Rancid, well, they were one of the first punk bands I got into, and the only one of the first few I heard that I still listen to, along with Bad Religion. Though, in retrospect, if I hadn't heard them before The Clash I'd probably hate them as much as some of you do, even with little to no background on them. (And I'm looking straight at you on this one, Prindle.) What I find fascinating is The Clash's appeal to people who claim to hate punk, like several on this page or my friend Brian, for example. It just goes to show how great their songwriting talent could be. Or, at least, could be when Mick Jones was in the band. Cut The Crap was just plain terrible though, and even though I bought it as a joke I still feel ripped off. Oh well, cheers to all. (Eric B)
ha. so far this is actually my favorite clash album. selling out?! two "normal" songs and the rest are weird songs that don't make any sense weird what the hell?

variety wins the day here. of course if you want "slam them up against the wall rock" like one guy said then listen to rancid. obviously you don't want to listen to a band that experiments. and i'm not saying htat in a bad way. you just don't want a band who changes so listen to rancid.

oh yeah. uh, weird as FUCK way to sell out. the only clash album id on't have is sandinista so i don't know if that will be my favorite, but so far this is. thanks.
A few years before I'd actually heard it, I remember wearing a Clash shirt and someone I know offhandedly mention that this was their favorite album of theirs. And now that I've actually heard it I'd have to say it's likely they actually meant it was the only album of theirs they'd heard. That said, while I wouldn't give it a 9, it's better than it's generally given credit for, and is in fact too weird to be a "sell out" album. The two hits are pretty commercial (although, actually I even find "Rock The Casbah" kind of weird too. I mean the groove was apparently pop-friendly enough to be recycled by Will Smith of all people in that one song about it almost being the year 2000 7 years ago, but it's upbeat danciness is so out of sorts with Joe Strummer's bitter punk guy vocal delivery, plus there's all those dubby sonar-ping sound effects and whatnot), but the rest of it feels like a slight streamlining of the whole kitchen sink dub-funk-rap-reggae-punk-pop Sandinista thing. And even then it's really only streamlined in as much as the album's not 20 years long and there aren't any dub instrumentals; if anything they've brought in a few more weird ideas, such as taking a perfectly normal reggae-rock song that would otherwise almost fit in on London Calling and getting Alan Ginsberg to recite things like "do the worm on acropolis, slam dance cosmopolis, enlighten the populace" over it. Oh, also, "Know Your Rights" kind of makes me think of The Fall, primarily because it's got that whole repeat-the-same-simple-riff-over-and-over-and-just-rant-over-it kind of structure. All in all this ain't the most melodic album in town, but it's an interesting listen.

Jeffery Hoelscher
How can anyone help but love this album? You're all idiots (except those of you who agree with me, of course). This is my favorite Clash record. Mostly because of side 2 (and the last 2 songs on side 1). I love it? I love it! Holy shit!

I'm pretty sure this is my favorite Clash record. Least favorite songs: 'Should I...' not because there's anything wrong with it, only because it's the least great of everything else. Then 'Rock the Casbah' for similar reasons but Topper's fiddling about on the bass makes it better than the former. Then 'Know Your Rights' only because I'm wrong and I know it. This is a great song but I can't convince my heart of this fact. Everything else: holy shit! The drum beat on 'Car Jammin'' is such fun to play with a fork on a high school lunch counter. And the lyrics [sigh]. And when I hear 'Red Angel Dragnet' I'm watching Robert DeNiro on another plane. And 'Straight to Hell'? I can't say anything about this. 'Overpowered by Funk' is one of a fistful of raps that I like (sorry) and the rest of side 2 melds together in a perfect melange of art and poetry. By including all the songs in this one rubric isn't to say they're all the same. But they transport me to the same place, knowing that so many know these songs, yet we feel blissfully solitary listening to them. I love side 2. I love it so much. [sigh]

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Super Black Market Clash - Sony 1993.
Rating = 7

Yeesh! They've expanded that nice lil' Black Market Clash record to a TWENTY-ONE-TRACK compact dick! But bigger harn't nessensarily butter, and thus it's a lil' harder to trudge through. Still lots of nice reggae dubbish tunes, and a couple decent rockers. But essentially Outtake City, and it shows. Like an attractive man bending over with his hairy butt showing!
Reader Comments
THE MOST incredible version of Pressure Drop - play it and ROCK! (Dave/Patti)
I never listen to anyone concerning music. I do my own thing and I'm happy. But boy am I pissed that I listened to all the reviewers saying that this was a must have for any Clash fan. One word ruins this sorry excuse for an album...remix. Do we really need a Rock the Casbah dance version? The Clash should hold a reunion tour to apologize for this crap.
Lots of filler to be sure, especially towards the end of the disk, this does however contain what I consider to be one of thier very best songs- "Gates of the West" (originally issued on 'The Cost of Living" ep). I've been obsessed with this song for fifteen years now. No one else seems to agree with me though.

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Live at Shea Stadium - Epic 2008
Rating = 6

Thank you America for 'Barack'-ing The Vote yesterday and creating an 'Obama'-rama on behalf of Saddam 'Hussein' because now America has its first half-black president! Sure, Sherman Hemsley might call him a 'zebra,' Spike Lee might accuse his mother of having 'Jungle Fever,' and Ben & Jerry might say his father was 'down with the swirl,' but that's because this famous actor, director and ice cream duo are small business owners with no time for liberal "tax and spend" policies. Don't you Demoncrats realize that Obama's 'trickle-down' policy of helping the less fortunate will ultimately lead to a National Socialist Movement? That's right - Barack Obama is a Nazi.

Mark Prindle
Music News Commentator (Three Times)
Fox News

P.S. Great work banning Gay Marriage (or 'Fairyage'), California! After all, the pornography company's called Adam & Eve, not Adam & STEVE!

When The Clash opened for Pete Townshend's Who on October 13, 1982, they surely must've been aware that their radical politics and innovative punk/rock/reggae compositions were no match for It's Hard. Sure, they could go on and do their 'La-de-da look at me, London's calling pbbllll' schtick for 40 minutes, but at the end of the day, they couldn't hope to compete with such Who classics as "Dangerous," "It's Hard," "Eminence Front" and "Cry If You Want," all blasted out with reckless abandon by wildfire drummer Kenney Jones. I'll give 'em points for trying, but the 'Only Band That Matters' was the one performing "Sister Disco" and "The Quiet One" that long cold night in '82!

On a related note, The Clash performed five London Calling tunes, one Black Market Clash and two each from The Clash, Combat Rock, Give 'Em Enough Rope and Sandinista!. The recording sounds fantastic, with strong punchy instrumental tones and even some surprisingly melodic vocals, but a sketchy set list and overall lackluster performances bring down the enjoyability quotient quite a bit. The Give 'Em Enough Rope tracks obviously suck because that album sucks, but even studio standouts like "Train In Vain," "The Magnificent Seven" and "Spanish Bombs" sound amelodic and cheerless here, as if the band's spirit has been sucked into a vacuum cleaner by the negative Who audiences.

Also, and I realize they were upset, but it hardly helped their cause to patronize the crowd with snotty comments like "If you don't know what's going on, just ask the person next to you!" What was going on is that a bunch of old people were being forced to sit through depressing performances of songs they'd never heard by an opening band they had no interest in. Apparently the Clash agreed because they broke up a few months later.

Only to come back STRONGER THAN EVER for the AWESOME Cut The Crap LP!!!

Reader Comments
I was lucky enough to see the Clash in the early fall of '79 at the old NY Palladium, a perfect venue, a mid-sized theater. It was there 2d US tour, and they played basically the best of The Clash debut album, Give 'em Enough Rope, the early singles (dicks that they were, they opened with I'm So Bored With the USA), and previewed a few songs from London Calling, due out a few months later (in fact the cover photo from London Calling was taken at the show I attended, I remember Paul smashing his bass spontaneously after experiencing some equipment frustration). Anyway, I've soured on UK punk over the years, none of them produced a drummer or a singer worth a damn, and the "I'm on the dole and want to break things" ossified into schtick as quickly as gangsta rap did; BUT the Clash show was possibly the most exciting nite of live rock and roll I've ever seen, they were just phenonemenal onstage. In the wake of Strummer's death, much has been made of how he really wanted to democratize pop music -- one thing noticeable about the Clash in concert is that he really didn't seem like a frontman, just some yob who took the mike, and the three axe-wielders bobbed around each other and shared the mike so much that is seemed as though Mick and Paul were as much up front as the nominal lead singer.

The opening acts were even cool -- The Undertones, in their first US show ever (great!) and Sam & Dave, though one of them wasn't the original. I also had to pee during the Undertones set, and either Sam or the False Dave was using the urinal next to mine! I asked him for his autograph and he fled!

David Darianto
The Clash was a very good live band, but this LP catch them not in their peak time. The energy, rawness and their enthusiast seems to sucked up by the big stadium atmosphere. They should released the Bonds series performance or the 79 Palladium show for example. IMHO, those shows caught them in their prime time big time.

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Cut The Crap - CBS 1985.
Rating = 1

I know this is obvious, but how am I supposed to resist pointing out that if you replace the first two words of the album title with "Worthless Fucking," you've got a pretty good idea of what Joe Strummer and his gang of scabs have recorded for your listening pleasure here. This record is offensively atrocious. With Mick out of the way, Joe tries to make every song recapture the lost glory of old school Clash (Give 'Em Enough Rope) by piling on the boring chord sequences, ridiculously bombastic band choruses, and utterly moronic lyrics. An appalling degeneration in every way. Not only is it full of the worst songs ever recorded by any band called The Clash ("Fingerpoppin'" is, in fact, one of the worst songs ever recorded by ANYBODY), but they're all full of cheesy mid-'80s keyboards and fake drums!!!! Classics include flushing the damn thing down the toilet.

I'm not saying that Mick's Big Audio Dynamite was any better (I wouldn't know; I've never heard them), but at least he didn't claim to be The Clash. Darn that Joe Strummer to heck! You know what you should do now? Go over to and download the "Jared" software. It's pretty darn entertaining.

Reader Comments (Alexandre Linhares Matias)
The Clash are the Beastie Boys of the late seventies. They started as a silly hardcore band (OK, a "London" hardcore band) and then they discovered that were universes beyond that punk alley. They didn't go as far as the B-Boys, but remember the 70's were a decade that even a band like Pere Ubu were considered "serious". Then they repeat a good album - think London Calling as Check Your Head and Sandinista! as Ill Communication (and the Central American guerrillas as the buddhist monks, is not difficult, innit?). Then, after a period of serious indefinition they record a good record and end. Well, since we're in the indefinition period of the B-Boys, think of their next album as the last. And I guess MCA will start the Big Audio Dynamite and Mike D will return with a fake B-Boys. Ad-Rock will do what he was born to be - a human Bart Simpson. (Dave Weigel)
Just picked up the new Rolling Stone and found some interesting Clash-related news. Coming this fall--the Clash tribute album! Yes kids, 311, Rancid, all plenty of other laughably unworthy bands will cover your favorite Clash tunes! How many nights have you cried yourself to sleep in absence of a hip "ska" version of "Rock the Casbah"? Don't answer that. (Greg Ellis)
weird...for some reason, though i hate most of cut the crap, "this is england" has come to be my fave clash song. so what if it doesn't have "jonesy". somebody is playing some snotty-ass guitar, and the words are the best strummer ever written. sounds like he's about to keel over and die...yeah cut the crap is the most aptly named slab in the history of recorded music, but for some reason "this is england" appeals to me. it sounds half like "fuck you mrs. thatcher" and half like joe strummer's suicide note. very moving, i think.
Just bought this one.. Sheesh, why does everyone slam this record?? It ain't the worst recording everyone makes it out to be. So it's got drum machines and keyboards.. so what? It was done in the middle of the 80s! whaddaya expect?? Sure it also has some grotesque tracks like "Dictator" and "We are the Clash".. but I'm greatly partial to "This is england", "Dirty Punk" and "cool under heat". At the very least, there's some guitar distortion on here.. unlike Combat rock. whoaa.. Okay... okay.. This record blows.. but STRUMMER MAKES UP FOR IT. HE's got the best voice in punk rock. If it weren't for him, okay, I'd toss this done the shitter. (Kevin O'Driscoll)
Without Mick Jones, the only really talent for song writing in the Clash, it was over. Dead. Rotting, putrefying, nauseating death. Stunk like crap on a hot day too.
Excuse me if you get upset... But, your feelings on Cut The Crap and Big Audio Dynamite are deeply rooted in your bitterness that the Clash had to end... I can understand that.

But, The Clash made the trip to New York in 1980 and it changed everything. They found a thriving underground that would go on to inspire what popular music has become... And, (Like all the new ideas and musical genres the Clash encountered..) it was something the band wanted to part of...

But, the kind of revolution that technology was bringing to music was something bigger than The Clash had ever faced.... The band was known for it's wide-open ears; but, the possibilites, expectations, and desire to be such a part of where music was going was too big a job for the band to take on.....

The kind of rock star egos that the band developed didn't do much to help them agree on where the band was going, either....

Getting to my point: I have to disagree with you..... I'll agree that Big Audio Dynamite and Cut The Crap did have some absolutely horrible tracks... But, Sandinista! was the beginning of the bravest experimenting the band had ever done. And, that energy was further demonstated on both of these projects.

Your prejudice against keyboards and the kind of disco, funk, hip-hop, dub sounds that influenced the band so much is annoying... And, (as time goes on) it has become clear that The Clash was (once again) pointing squarely into the future of music...

I respect your opinion. (In fact, I used to share it.)... But, I'm not 15 anymore; and, it's amazing what kind of appreciation and enjoyment I've found in all kinds of different music that The Clash inspired me to check out...

Young punks grow up and discover new worlds... ..Just like The Clash did...
ok ok ok ok. so it's not the most spectacular and genuine and fabulous thing in the world. so it was a mistake. but let me ask you: how many bands recognised their mistake and cut their own crap or shut their own trap after it? if they did, 99% of them wouldn't record their second track, for pete's sake. suppose the clash had finished when mick jones left. suppose that's what they should have done. and now suppose you let me ask you: do you think the clash got to be the clash because they always did what they were supposed to do? well, this is not england (this is portugal and the sun is shining like crazy, by the way) and it's not 1977 and i don't hope i go to heaven but nevertheless and however i feel an irresistible urge to sing'n'scream'n'shout: WE ARE THE CLASH!!!!!!!!!! (Andrew Pazulla)
Aptly named. (Will Wood)
Although I was not alive at the time of The Clash I am proud to say they are the greatest punk rock and for that the greatest band ever! Without the input of The Clash modern music would even worse than it is now. They revolutionised a movement taking the mantle of the Pistols and taking it to a new height. They captured the voice of a generation and brought it into the public domain. (Damon Chetson)

If you haven't heard the new Clash product, From Here to Eternity, may I humbly recommend it (and that you review it). It starts off with a kick-ass version of Complete Control - slightly slower than the studeo version - but Mick's intro is phenomenal. Other gems - White Man in Hammersmith Palais, Train in Vain, Capital Radio, Know Your Rights, Straight to Hell, Armigideon Time. Straight to Hell is terrific here - better than the Combat Rock version, which I don't particularly like.

It's got a song from every album, except Give em Enough Rope (Safe European Home would've been nice). It's a great cross-section of some of their best stuff but sadly there's only so much they can fit on one album. The quality is exceptionally good - I've got a bunch of pretty bad bootlegs. You can even hear a guy in the audience singing along badly to Straight to Hell, at which point Strummer yells "Sing in tune, you bastard"

Also, I would not recommend you buying it if you're not a huge Clash/Strummer fan, but Rock Art and the X Ray Style by Strummer and the Mescaleros is quite good. There are a half dozen really nice, but extremely poppy songs on the disc. If you see it cheap, pick it up... you won't be disappointed (at $5).
I would like to second Mr. Chetson's emotion about From Here to Eternity. Here's what my fourteen-year-old brother said about the live Clash album: "Dude, that's, like, one of the best albums I've ever heard."

Capital Radio, White Man in Hammersmith Palais, Complete Control, Armagideon Time, Straight to Hell; damn, the live album makes me love the Clash. Buy It, Review It, Rub It All Over Your Body.
Cut The Crap was a mistake, but there are COUPLE good tracks on it. First of all there is way too much chanting on it. Too many damn sing alongs. This Is England though is a fantastic song. Sure it was pretty bad, but hey Strummer later admited it. Come on. It is worth at least three stars.
The day Joe strummer got his rotten teeth fixed was the day punk died. I saw the cut the crap tour....Joe up there with his new pearly whites and his clash wannabes...what a disappointment indeed.
Last night I was about to write a meek little e-mail defending this album, which I had only listened to once on the stereo of my shitbox Toyota. Good thing I listened to it again today. It offended me, embarassed me, and made me want to vomit and cry.

All I can ask is WHY, WHY, WHY? Why did Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon hire this group of unworthy, apparently worthless scabs to help them record this pile of shitty half-assed 80's synth-rock?! The songs are horrible - "Dictator"? "Movers and Shakers"? "Fingerpoppin'"? And worst of all, "We Are the Clash"? NO YOU'RE NOT!

Pathetic performances abound too - every song seems to have a chorus where you've got an apparent gang of lads behind you screaming. Need I remind you, Mr. Strummer, that you are not leading the second coming of Sham 69! (Ouch.)

1/10. Someone should put "This Is England", the only listenable song on here (actually, a pretty damn good, edgy song), on the boxed set and forget the rest of the album ever existed. "Worthless Fucking Crap" is a very apt title, Mark. Go get Strummer's two albums with the Mescaleros, they make up for this atrocity.
Pitiful as this album is, it does include the amazing "This is England". I think this a fantastic track. Strummer's vocal is so despairing and heartfelt.
Uhhh...has anybody read that book that got written about the Clash back in the 90s? Joe Strummer left Bernie Rhodes before this album got done and the "scabs" that got hired didn't actually record it (just overdubbed guitar parts) and Simonon wasn't on it and on and on. I used to think Strummer was a musical idiot until I found out HE wrote Lost in the Supermarket, Police on My Back, Rebel Waltz, and the music for Jail Guitar Doors. This album was really Bernie Rhodes' album. The Clash just wanted to be popstars while making believe they didn't want to be popstars. (Mihajlo Lalic)
Now, this album is really, really bad, of course. However, there is more to it than meets the, um, ear. The album wasn't really recorded by The Clash, and I don't mean "it's not The Clash without Mick" - it wasn't recorded by the musicians Strummer hired either. What the new Clash did was only record the demos; then Bernie "hopefully rotting in Hell real soon" Rhodes took Joe's demo vocals and provided the "music" by programming the drum machine and playing bass, rhythm guitar and keyboards himself, and getting some idiot guitarist to do the solos. That's why Joe now disowns the album, and it really pains me that it turned out that way, because some of the songs could've been great ("North and South", "This Is England", "Three Card Trick", even "Dirty Punk" and "We Are the Clash", if they were recorded without the atrocius ten-million people choruses). I've heard some of these songs' live versions, and they sound real good (as do the unreleased songs like "Glue Zombie" or "In the Pouring, Pouring Rain"). Try tracking down the live versions or the "This Is England" B-sides "Sex Mad Roar" and "Do It Now". They're not essential Clash material, but if you're a big fan you'll like them. And don't miss out on Joe Strummer's post-Clash recordings: the "Walker" soundtrack is a wonderful, mostly instrumental Cuba-Latin-Morricone mixture, "Earthquake Weather" is a real good rock album (although nothing exceptional), and the stuff he is putting out with the Mescaleros these last couple of years is phenomenal.

Great site, by the way. I often disagree with your opinions, but at least you have opinions, unlike most other critics. Fantastic sense of humor, too. Good work.
one joke for you! avril lavinge loves this record! she loves the groove of the 80's keyboards, computerized synthesizers, electronic drums, and cheesy guitars! she sings like this! cause i'm the wackiest there is no question i can just dance! dance in my pants! and in yo' face! i love my bra, my skirt and my sexy sweet panties! i got sun i got shine move back hardcore cause i'm going for mine! did i mention before i can dance? i'm wacky dee's in da house! let's rock and roll! give me a break, avril! see you kids don't know the clash. you and the rap shit is not gonna last! remember black and white tv gone! rememer 8 tracks? gone! betamax? gone, gone, gone, gone, gone, gone! no way this is shit is gonna last cause rap is the devil's music! (Ed Hunter)
Juliorey sent in some neat information about Cut The Crap. However, he credits Joe Strummer with writing Police On My Back, which was actually written by Eddie Grant. (I think I'm right on this one.) I've always disliked Combat Rock and felt that Sandinista was at least one disc too long. It took Cut The Crap for me to appreciate those stinkers.
YES YES YES....Eddy Grant DID write Police on My Back! I need to stay off the ganga (my butt is stating to hurt). I meant to say "Somebody Got Murdered" (I guess all two uptempo Clash songs from Sandinista sound the same to me). And I also found out that Mick wrote the music to "Lost in the Supermarket" -- but Joe wrote the music to "Rudie Can't Fail" AND he was the main musica force behind the immortal "White Riot." Mick is starting to look more like "Joe's guitar player."
Live this song s rock ass(like roskilde,stockholm 1984) but on the record it s sucks.. Sadley...

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From Here To Eternity - Sony 1999.
Rating = 9

Excellent sound, excellent playin' and singin' and a wonderful penchant for slightly changing the songs in the live setting make this a keeper worth keeping. Which is why I kept it. This disc covers the entire Clash career of hits (except for the Cut the Crap stuff), so you can slam in your mosh pit to "What's My Name," smoke your reggae ganja to "Armigideon Time," bounce your pop sister to "Train In Vain" and

Sorry, I got really tired of that sentence. This is a really really great live CD. And I was prepared to be bored! Godfuck me to douche!

Sorry, typo. "Godbless me to Heaven!"

Reader Comments (Jose Alfredo Neto)
here we go again. few times have the four little letters l-i-v-e meant what they're supposed to mean (prindle-like, i don't know how to get out of this sentence). anyway, this is the kind of record that will surely make it to eternity. which of course makes one wonder why the hell it comes out with a mere 9 and not a fair 10, as 1 would expect. so, here we go again (all together now, o my brothers): LONG LIVE THE CLASH!!! (Pete)
Well, as a fellow Brit. I should be supportive to the Clash, in fact as a Brit of working class origin I think that they are phoney and overrated to a degree that verges on the surreal.A bad pub band, with ludicrous , dated, psuedo-political views, they sang of the dispossed while living in swanky country houses. (See also The Manic Street Preachers.) Listen to The Libertines instead.
Fuck the Fucking Libertines, man. They can't and shouldn't get compared to The Clash, because the Libertines are a marketed band and suck goat balls. Fuck Peter Doherty, fuck that stupid fashion victim, Fuck Kate Moss!!!

How on earth could a Libertines fan dismiss The Clash? Nuff said.
The song selection is excellent. The first half gives you the punk rock experience, classics like "London's Burning" or "What's My Name", the second half includes the more pop-orientated, funky, dark, whatever songs (Guns of Brixton, London Calling, Straight To Hell etc). I have a complaint about the mix. It sounds like Joe Strummer is standing in front of your CD player and the band is somewhere in the back. He is too loud! (or too wide, i don't know). It irritates me. Also, the drums are a mess, so this record doesn't exactly rock. Still it is a pretty good live record and as mentioned an excellent compilation of the Clash's Best.

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