Friday, June 14, 2013

Your Friday Clash Song: Nembutol Numbs It All …

… But I prefer alcohol!
“The Right Profile” from London Calling (1979), a tribute to the great closeted actor Montgomery Clift, who died in 1966. According to the Clash Wiki:
Johnny Green (Clash tour manager): “At Wessex, Guy [Stevens, producer] fished this book out of his bag, it was Patricia Bosworth’s Montgomery Clift biography. He was telling Joe ‘If you’re going to write a song about somebody, write one about Montgomery Clift!’”
The New York Times’ biography of Clift cites this description from All Movie Guide, which could just as easily apply to Joe Strummer, or any member of the Clash, really: “Prodigiously talented, intense, and defiantly non-conformist, he refused to play by the usual rules of celebrity, actively shunning the spotlight and working solely according to his own whims and desires.” IMDb notes that Clift’s “father was a violent, abusive, ultra-conservative bigot,” and that “whenever Clift was playing characters snapping as they went up against ignorance or brutality, Clift was said to have acted with his father in mind as an antagonist” – which also makes him an apt subject for the Clash.
Moreover, the band’s 1999 live collection takes its name from a Montgomery Clift film, From Here To Eternity. So, there you go. It all comes full circle, or something.
Anyway, it’s a great damn song. So …
Turn. It. Up.

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