And it’s in Dr. Rock’s Top 10 best damn rock albums ever.
London Calling was released by The Clash and Epic Records in the U.K. 31 years ago today, December 14, 1979 (it came out in the U.S. in January 1980).
Without losing one snarling bit of the raw, nervous, socio-politically-nihilistic core of pure punk, The Clash spanned the huge gap between late 70s mainstream pop-rock, power pop and straight-up rock ‘n roll (on the one side – the left?) and the incessant driving noise of pure punk rock (on the right? – or whichever). They pulled everyone back into the middle ground. And London Calling’s no commercial sell-out. A double album (yes!), it’s is full of catchy riffs, toe-tapping rhythms, sing-along lyrics and more distinct genres than the Sex Pistols or Generation X could ever play. And it’s still very much pure punk.
London Calling mixes the shuffling reggae sounds of “Rudy Can’t Fail,” the anachronistic, danceable celebration of “Revolution Rock,” the pulsing but melodic punk of “Hateful,” the roots rockabilly of “Brand New Cadillac,” the metal-rock title track, and the hard-edged pop-rock of “Train In Vain” (which was not listed on the cover or Side 4 label of the original Epic vinyl release – but I’ve got mine!).
London Calling is an essential LP in any rocker’s collection. It’s a Grammy Hall of Fame record, #8 on the Rolling Stone Magazine list of the 500 top albums of all time, and #1 on the magazine’s Top 100 Albums of the 80s.