Album of the Day: The Clash- The Clash
Album: The Clash
Artist: The Clash
Year Released: UK Version 77, US version 78 (this is the U.S. version)
How obtained: I bought this version used when I was in high school at Pepperland Records
(Disclaimer: I'm tired and my allergies are killing me today. My eyes are watering so much that I have blurry vision and my sinuses are so congested that wearing my glasses is too painful to actually do. Therefore, this is a stream of consciousness ramble chock full of typos, grammar errors and spelling mistakes because I'm too tired and lazy to do anything but write it and post it.)
There are some things in life that simply cannot be explained adequately unless one has superb writing skills, the audience has a rich imagination, or a lesser combination of these two elements applies. However, since I didn't sleep well last night and I worked a really long day today my vocabulary has diminished of all color and I don't think I can fully describe the Clash's contribution to modern music to those that didn't live through it the first time. I don't mean to sound like a middle aged music snob. I've had people tell me that I couldn't appreciate the Monkeys because by the time I heard them the secret was out that they were a manufactured band. Just because you may have access to a different perspective on a band than the original audience did doesn't mean that you had a lesser experience, just a different one.
When the Clash came on to the punk scene they were one of the few acts that wrote songs about politics that went beyond "F*ck you" to the people in charge. They were one of the few acts that was able to meld punk, early rock-n roll influences and reggae into a new sound. These days people mix musical genres all the time, but it actually used to be a rare thing. Back in the '70's before most of you were born, The Police became popular because they blended reggae and rock. It used to be a rare thing to mix two divergent types of music into a new sound.
When I listen to the Clash, I tend to get nostalgic and it reminds me of events from my youth. For example, the very first time I saw an actual punk rocker in person and not just on a 20/20 expose on the news. I have a lot of vivid memories from growing up, but this is one of the few where I actually remember the month and year. December 1977, the family was waiting in line at Sear to see Santa Claus at the Westminster Mall. I was standing there waiting, bored out of my mind, daydreaming and generally spacing out like disenchanted youngsters do, when I happened to glance up. Coming down the escalator were four punks: two boys and two girls who appeared to be in high school. The girls were the early punkish prototypes, short hair, heavy make up, kind of looked like the girls in the Human League. One of the boys had a brown buzz cut and leather jacket, but the other one was the coolest guy I had ever seen in my life. Bleached blond hair with brown roots about 3 to 4 inches long and sticking out randomly in every direction, like a haystack. He had a black leather motorcycle jacket on with chains and graffiti. It was a killer outfit and his hair fascinated me at the time. He was also wearing a Sex Pistols shirt.
None of that experience really has anything to do with the album, though. Songs on the U.S. version of the album include:
- Clash City Rockers
- I'm So Bored With the USA
- Remote Control
- Complete Control
- White Riot
- White Man in Hammersmith Palais
- I Fought the Law
- Janie Jones
- What's My Name
- Hate & War
- Police & Thieves
- Jail Guitar Doors