“London Calling” is the second album I’ve written about during this exercise that holds a permanent place in my top 5 favourite albums. It was released (in the UK) on the 14th December 1979, my 17th birthday. It’s been shining a light on future possibilities for me ever since. One of the greatest and most important albums ever made.
I’ve written about “London Calling” in this blog before, in fact in my very first post here listing those top 5 albums and my reasons why (you can read it here https://www.whiterabbitrecords.co.uk/blog/read_142215/welcome-to-the-white-rabbit-records-blog.html to save me repeating myself, it all still applies).
To many, The Clash were “the only band that mattered”. They didn’t quite hold that position in my life back in ‘79, that spot was reserved for The Jam at the time. However, in later years I find myself turning to their debut and “London Calling” far more often than I do to “All Mod Cons” or “Setting Sons”. I think that may well be as a result of my relationship with Joe Strummer and Paul Weller’s solo records than any lack of love for The Jam. We’ll get to both of those guys eventually and I can explain more.
“London Calling” carries absolutely none of what the music of Punk Rock was accused of peddling, nihilism. There’s no belief that everything is meaningless on this album, no pessimism, exactly the opposite in fact. In 1980 Rolling Stone magazine described the album as being "merry and tough, passionate and large-spirited" and a celebration of "the romance of rock & roll rebellion in grand, epic terms”.
A friend recently opined “Good record. Always think it tails off towards the end…” and it struck me that on Side 4 you get, one after the other to end on, “Four Horsemen”, “I’m Not Down”, “Revolution Rock” and “Train In Vain”…most bands can’t muster that many great songs on a single album yet that’s The Clash tailing off.
“London Calling” is the sound of a band having a great time, exploring what they are capable of and communicating that life is great if you grab hold of your own and do something worthwhile with it, whatever you decide that that is.
I’m Not Down - https://youtu.be/uV6-vY4O5us