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London Calling

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London Calling is the third studio album by the English punk rock band The Clash. It was released in the United Kingdom on 14 December 1979 through CBS Records, and in the United States in January 1980 through Epic Records. The album represented a change in The Clash's musical style, featuring elements of skafunkpopsouljazzrockabilly, and reggae more prominently than in their previous two albums.



The album's subject matter included social displacement, unemployment, racial conflict, drug use, and the responsibilities of adulthood. The album received unanimously positive reviews and was ranked at number eight on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003. London Calling was a top ten album in the UK, and its lead single "London Calling" was a top 20 single. It has sold over five million copies worldwide, and was certified platinum in the United States.Edit

Recording and productionEdit

After recording their second studio album Give 'Em Enough Rope (1978), the band separated from their manager Bernard Rhodes. This separation meant that the group had to leave their rehearsal studio in Camden Town and find another location to compose their music. Drawing inspiration from rockabillyskareggae and jazz, the band began work on the album during the summer of 1979. Tour manager Johnny Green had found the group a new place to rehearse called Vanilla Studios, which was located in the back of a garage in Pimlico. The Clash quickly wrote and recorded demos, with Mick Jones composing and arranging much of the music and Joe Strummer writing the lyrics.

In August 1979, the band entered Wessex Studios to begin recording London Calling. The Clash asked Guy Stevens to produce the album, much to the dismay of CBS Records. Stevens had alcohol and drug problems and his production methods were unconventional. During a recording session he swung a ladder and upturned chairs – apparently to create a rock & roll atmosphere. The Clash got along well with Stevens, especially bassist Paul Simonon, who found his work to be very helpful and productive to his playing and their recording as a band. While recording, the band would play football to pass the time. This was a way for them to bond together as well as take their mind off of the music, and the games got very serious. Doing this helped bring the band together, unifying them, making the recording process easier and more productive. The album was recorded during a five- to six-week period involving 18-hour days, with many songs recorded in one or two takes.



Track listingEdit

Standard editionEdit

All songs written and composed by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "London Calling"   Strummer 3:19
2. "Brand New Cadillac(written and originally performed by Vince Taylor) Strummer 2:09
3. "Jimmy Jazz"   Strummer 3:52
4. "Hateful"   Strummer 2:45
5. "Rudie Can't Fail"   Strummer, Jones 3:26
Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Spanish Bombs"   Strummer, Jones 3:19
2. "The Right Profile"   Strummer 3:56
3. "Lost in the Supermarket"   Jones 3:47
4. "Clampdown"   Strummer, Jones 3:49
5. "The Guns of Brixton(written by Paul Simonon) Simonon 3:07
Side three
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Wrong 'Em Boyo" (written by Clive Alphonso; originally performed by the Rulers; including Stagger Lee) Strummer 3:10
2. "Death or Glory"   Strummer 3:55
3. "Koka Kola"   Strummer 1:46
4. "The Card Cheat"   Jones 3:51
Side four
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Lover's Rock"   Strummer 4:01
2. "Four Horsemen"   Strummer 2:56
3. "I'm Not Down"   Jones 3:00
4. "Revolution Rock" (written by Jackie EdwardsDanny Ray; originally performed by Danny Ray and the Revolutionaries) Strummer 5:37
5. "Train in Vain"   Jones 3:09

On the original version of the album, "Train in Vain" was not listed on the sleeve, nor the label on the record itself, but an extraneous sticker indicating the track was affixed to the outer cellophane wrapper. It was also scratched into the vinyl in the run-off area on the fourth side of the album.

[edit]25th Anniversary Legacy EditionEdit

The 25th Anniversary Edition of the album was released in 2004 and contains The Vanilla Tapes (an early version of the album based on a lost master tape, and previously only available as a bootleg) as a bonus disc, and a DVD featuring the making of the album, the music videos and video footage of The Clash recording in Wessex Studios.

Bonus disc track listing
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Hateful"   Strummer, Jones 3:23
2. "Rudie Can't Fail"   Strummer, Jones 3:08
3. "Paul's Tune"   Simonon 2:32
4. "I'm Not Down"   Strummer, Jones 3:24
5. "4 Horsemen"   Strummer, Jones 2:45
6. "Koka Kola, Advertising & Cocaine"   Strummer, Jones 1:57
7. "Death or Glory"   Strummer, Jones 3:47
8. "Lover's Rock"   Strummer, Jones 3:45
9. "Lonesome Me"   The Clash 2:09
10. "The Police Walked in 4 Jazz"   Strummer, Jones 2:19
11. "Lost in the Supermarket"   Strummer, Jones 3:52
12. "Up-Toon" (instrumental) Strummer, Jones 1:57
13. "Walking the Slidewalk"   The Clash 2:34
14. "Where You Gonna Go (Soweto)"   Sonny Okosun 4:05
15. "The Man in Me"   Bob Dylan 3:57
16. "Remote Control"   Strummer, Jones 2:39
17. "Working and Waiting"   Strummer, Jones 4:11
18. "Heart & Mind"   The Clash 4:27
19. "Brand New Cadillac"   Taylor 2:08
20. "London Calling"   Strummer, Jones 4:26
21. "Revolution Rock"   Edwards, Ray 3:51
DVD track listing
No. Title Length
1. "The Last Testament: The Making of London Calling"  
2. "London Calling" (Music video)
3. "Train in Vain" (Music video)
4. "Clampdown" (Music video)
5. "Home video footage of The Clash recording in Wessex Studios"  

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