:: Wednesday, September 08, 2004 ::

Punk Rock Countdown: No. 27
"London Calling," by the Clash
The Clash's 1979 double-album London Calling (released in 1980 in the US) is the greatest record ever made. Though not a pure punk album -- with London Calling, the Clash pulled from a variety of styles, including calypso, reggae, rockabilly and Dixieland jazz, to create a true tour de force -- the title song was a call to arms. Come out of the cubbard, you boys and girls... Opening with a martial, apocalyptic guitar and drum in lockstep, with Paul Simonon's bassline quickly entering in, the stage is set for Joe Strummer's caterwauling. "London Calling" takes on the urgency of a communique from some underground freedom fighter -- Strummer's hoarse lead vocals lending a desperate quality to the song -- and ends with Strummer's voice trailing off, morse code sounding in the background, an indication that the enemy has discovered the freedom fighter's hideout and quashed the revolt once again.

This is an underlying theme of the album: the punk rebellion of '77 is in its death throas. The enemy is at the gate, and punk has been quashed, compromised or at best -- as "London Calling" seems to indicate -- banished to the underground. But the Clash, while acknowledging that the battle has now gone subterranian, aren't willing to give up the fight just yet.

:: Andrew 08:08 + ::

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