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The Friday Morning Listen

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The original LP version of London Calling was released on December 14th, 1979, just a few months after that classic & iconic cover shot was taken of Paul Simonon smashing his bass into the stage of the New York Paladium.

London Calling rests easily in my list of favorite rock records of all time. It was one of a handful of recordings that kicked off my musical branching out process. The Clash made me check out reggae, ska and rockabilly. I already had punk in my backpocket (thanks to the Sex Pistols and those earlier Clash records) and then London Calling blew up in my face.

To this day I can remember where I first heard side one. It was up in my high-school buddy’s bedroom at his house on the little lake deep in central Maine. His dad’s stereo was normally used for blasting John Phillips Souza-type stuff but on that day “London Calling” and then “Brand New Cadillac” pinned me to the wall.

Somehow, a pile of years have flown by and I’m sitting here holding London Calling, 25th Anniversayr Legacy Edition in my hands. It contains the remastered original music, second disc of demos known as “The Vanilla Tapes” and a DVD of sorta-documentary material and videos & stuff. I suppose the demos disc is for completists only (count me in) but I just love hearing how these songs were hammered into their final form. Plus, the cover of Dylan’s “The Man in Me” is kinda cool.

Dammit, I still miss Joe Strummer.

(See what another BlogCritics has to say here).

(First posted on Mark Is Cranky)

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About Mark Saleski

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Mark, great stuff. I was working (briefly) in a record store when it came out and we played it over and over again. I agree about its greatness and it totally rewrote the rules for what was “punk” for the better, but I have to note on a purely muical basis, there is some weakness, some softness in the middle. You are rocking along with ocean liner momentum and then three out of four songs – “Wrong ‘Em Boyo,” “Death or Glory” (the good one), “Koka Kola” and “The Card Cheat” really clog things up. It’s till remarkably consistent for a double-album, but minus those three tunes it would be perfect.

  • i think that ‘softness’ is one of the reasons i grew to like it so much….partly because it was so unlike most of the balls-to-the-wall metal and punk i was addicted to.

  • Eric Olsen

    sorry for being unclear, I meant softness quality-wise not sonically – some of my favorite Clash songs are “soft” like “Charlie Don’t Surf” “Rudie Can’t Fail” “Lost In he Supermarket” “Bankrobber” even “Rocking the Casbah” etc etc

  • oh come now eric – the card cheat is fantastic, man!