Here goes with day 54 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection. They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released. You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions. Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).
The Clash – The Clash
The Clash is the eponymous debut studio album by English punk rock band The Clash. It was released in April 1977, it shook the UK music industry to the core and after that everything changed. Most of the album was conceived on the 18th floor of a council high rise in London in a flat that was rented by Mick Jones’ grandmother. The album was recorded in just 3 weekend sessions and by the third of these sessions the album was recorded and mixed to completion. Fast work for something that was to change the music world.
As you might expect for something put together so quickly in a council flat the mix isn’y perfect, the sound isn’t flawless, it is raw and with all its imperfections it is as close as you can get nowadays to hearing the Clash play live. At the time of release the 16 year old me simply categorised the album as punk rock. The much older and more musically educated me now recognises the diversity of influences that combined to make this album an essential cut. It is one of those rare albums that doesn’t have a bad track on it. Only the sound quality and the lack of variety of mood stop it from being one of my top 10.
As a 16 year old this album really spoke to my heart. It was raw and angry, anger at the class system, anger at politicians and the political elite, anger at inequality, anger at unemployment, anger at racial problems, anger at teenage alienation, anger for anger’s sake, even (“Hate And War”). The fact that these young guys were standing up and shouting about this stuff spoke to a whole generation and gave birth to a generation of youths and indeed bands who cared about the world and were not prepared to sit back and take everything at face value just because that was how it had always been!
The 1977 version of the album was seen as too raw for the American market and a new version was launched in 1979 which had a few of the weaker tracks cut and some of the clashes best ever songs added, “Clash City Rockers”, “I Fought The Law” and “White Man In Hammersmith Palais” were amongst the newly added track. The latter is one of my all time favourite songs by anyone and a remarkably astute social commentary it most definitely is.
Frontman Joe Strummer’ lyrics were often hard to understand as he growls and snarls his way through the songs, you had to listen over and over if you wanted to sing along and this no doubt added to the allure of the record, especially when you parents were yell from downstairs “turn down that bloody racket”. You don’t have to understand the words to feel the anger and the vibe though. The bass lines resonate deep down in your gut and Jones wields his axe like a demented lumberjack on speed. The album is a treasure trove of great track with Janie jones, I’m so bored with the USA’, White Riot, Hate and War, Police & Thieves, Garageland and Career Opportunities all being classics. If you don’t already own this album then shame on you. Go buy it today!
- 75 Essential Albums – #1 – Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
- 75 Essential Albums – #2 Van Morrison – No Guru, No Method, No Teacher
- 75 Essential Albums – #3 Stiff Little Fingers
- 75 Essential Albums – #4 The Levellers
- 75 Essential Albums – #5 Van Morrison – Into The Music
- 75 Essential Albums – #6 – The Clash – London Calling
- 75 Essential Albums – #7 Ramones
- 75 Essential Albums – #8 Nirvana – Nevermind
- 75 Essential Albums – #9 Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
- 75 Essential Albums – #10 RedHot Chili Peppers – Californication
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