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London Calling Legacy Edition

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I just finished the first spin of The Clash’s London Calling, Legacy Edition, and for true Clash fans, it’s a must buy.

I emphasize the word “true” above, because the extras included in the Legacy Edition are rough bits collected before and during the recording of London Calling that function more as a historical archive than “bonus tracks”.

The extra CD in the package has the legendary Vanilla Tapes, the band’s demo/rehearsal cuts of tracks that ended up on London Calling. These cuts were assumed to be lost until Mick Jones discovered his set of tapes early this year.

The cuts are rough and often ugly. Some are very, very early instrumental-only versions of London Calling classics (such as “Paul’s Tune”, which is the band’s attempt to develop the rhythm for what would be come “Clampdown”).

Also included is a DVD called The Last Testament, which is really a re-edited collection of homemade videos and other material shot during the London Calling sessions.

Think of the Legacy Edition as a portable Clash museum. The definitive historical source for one of the greatest albums ever made.

People who are hearing “London Calling” for the first time on Jaguar commercials are better off saving $15 and buying the standard CD. But for people like myself, who already own London Calling on LP and CD, the Legacy Edition is $25 very well spent.

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About Capn Ken

  • Hey Lono:

    The set is remastered (I assume the same version as the original “remastered” release).

    I think the question you should ask yourself is why do you like London Calling? If you listen to the album and marvel at how many styles the Clash throws out, how well put-together the tracks are and still can’t believe this music is 25 years old, you’re probably a good candidate.

    If you back up to hear “London Calling” and “Train in Vain” and skip past “4 Horsemen” and “Lover’s Rock”, the original CD will probably do you.

    Hope that helps.

  • Perhaps this has been answered above, but my question is this: as someone who really digs London Calling… but already has it on CD > is it worth re-purchasing the disc for the extra goods. Also, is the set remastered?


  • godoggo

    I vaguely recall tracing an Elvis with Devil horns on my jacket around that time. Looked just like an Elvis from Hell.

  • Obviously, this wasn’t released for the casual Clash fan, but neither should it be restricted to a Clash-obsessed audience.

    As identified by a wide range of Rock critics, this album deserves a place among the Top 10 albums of all time (I would place it in the Top 3), and, if anything, has aged gracefully and remains startlingly relevant. Just listen again to ‘Spanish Bombs’ alongside news stories of the Iraq war.

    Therefore, this new material is a must-see and must-listen for anyone with a serious interest in popular music history of the past half century. ‘London Calling’ as a work towers well beyond the realm of Punk from which it originated – whether it is the local dance DJ who rightfully plays ‘Train In Vain’ as part of a Disco/Dance Retro night (yep, the songs ‘London Calling’ and ‘Train In Vain’ together reached the Top 30 on what was still called the Disco chart in the U.S.) to my 13 year old niece who, along with her best friend, thinks the Clash are cool. She talks about the ‘Clash’ t-shirts at her school. By comparison, what kids were wearing Elvis t-shirts 25-years after the fact in 1980?

    True, the casual fan may not want to shell out the extra money for this new material, but the material is of key historical importance. Wow – Brian Wilson’s ‘Smile’ and the new Clash material in one week!

  • Rodney:

    Actually, your blog post relects just what I’m saying – don’t buy the Legacy Edition if you’re looking for good “bonus material” that stands on its own. It’s an archive; a museum piece to get a look inside the boys’ evolution into London Calling.

    And let me correct something – “Paul’s Tune” is an early “Guns of Brixton” – not “Clampdown”. My fault.

  • I didn’t think it was money well-spent. My own thoughts are here.