A live version of “London Calling” recorded in New Jersey in 1980, originally the title track from the double London Calling LP, released in the UK in 1979 and in the US in 1980. Rolling Stone put London Calling at No. 8 on its “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” right behind another double album, the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street.
Sounds about right.
A couple of observations. Admittedly, I picked this song for a hokey reason – we’re going into the last weekend of the London Olympics, of course – but I’ve already written my obligatory love/hate piece on the quadrennial track meet over there, so cut me some slack. Moreover, “London Calling” is hardly a love song to the UK’s capital city:
London calling to the zombies of death
Quit holding out, and draw another breath
London calling, and I don’t want to shout
By when we were talking, I saw you nodding out
London calling, see we ain’t got no high
Except for that one with the yellowy eyes …
And another thing. Despite the line about how “phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust,” I don’t think you have to dislike the Beatles in order to like the Clash. I can imagine how tiresome it must have been for a rock band in the UK in the late 197os to try to have an impact on the music world when most pop fans just wanted to relive the 1960s, like nothing ever happened after the British Invasion. So I can empathize with their frustration, but that shouldn’t take away from what the Beatles did in their own time.
Besides, the line is “phony Beatlemania” – which implies an honest appreciation for the Beatles’ music is just fine, right? Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Anyway, here’s the “official” video for “London Calling,” released in 1979:
And – because, hell yeah! – here’s Bruce Springsteen covering “London Calling” at the Glastonbury Festival in the UK a few years back:
So there you go. Your Friday Clash Song.
Turn. It. Up.