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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
The Clash sounded like they could do anything on London Calling. For its triple-album follow-up, Sandinista!, they tried to do everything, adding dub, rap, gospel, and even children's choruses to the punk, reggae, R&B, and roots rock they already were playing. Instead of presenting a band with a far-reaching vision, like London Calling did, Sandinista! plays as a messy, confused jumble, which means that its numerous virtues are easy to ignore. Amid all the dub experiments, backward tracks, unfinished songs, and instrumentals, there are a number of classic Clash songs that rank among the band's best, including "Police on My Back," "The Call Up," "Somebody Got Murdered," "Charlie Don't Surf," "Hitsville U.K.," and "Lightning Strikes (Not Once but Twice)," yet it's difficult for anyone but the most dedicated listeners to find them. A few of the failed ideas were worth exploring, but even more -- like the children's choir version of "Career Opportunities" or the Tymon Dogg song "Lose This Skin" -- weren't even worth pursuing. As the cliché says, there's a great single album within these three records, and those songs make Sandinista! worthwhile. Nevertheless, its sloppy attack is disheartening after the tour de force of London Calling and the focused aggression of The Clash. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
Never Mind the Bollocks may have appeared revolutionary, but the Clash's eponymous debut album was pure, unadulterated rage and fury, fueled by passion for both rock & roll and revolution. Though the cliché about punk rock was that the bands couldn't play, the key to the Clash is that although they gave that illusion, they really could play -- hard. The charging, relentless rhythms, primitive three-chord rockers, and the poor sound quality give the album a nervy, vital energy. Joe Strummer's slurred wails perfectly compliment the edgy rock, while Mick Jones' clearer singing and charged guitar breaks make his numbers righteously anthemic. Even at this early stage, the Clash were experimenting with reggae, most notably on the Junior Murvin cover "Police & Thieves" and the extraordinary "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais," which was one of five tracks added to the American edition of The Clash. "Deny," "Protex Blue," "Cheat," and "48 Hours" were removed from the British edition and replaced for the U.S. release with the British-only singles "Complete Control," "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais," "Clash City Rockers," "I Fought the Law," and "Jail Guitar Doors," all of which were stronger than the items they replaced. Though the sequencing and selection were slightly different, the core of the album remained the same, and each song retained its power individually. Few punk songs expressed anger quite as bracingly as "White Riot," "I'm So Bored with the U.S.A.," "Career Opportunities," and "London's Burning," and their power is all the more incredible today. Rock & roll is rarely as edgy, invigorating, and sonically revolutionary as The Clash. [In 2000, Columbia/Legacy reissued and remastered the album to include the U.K. songs.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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For their second album, the Clash worked with the American hard rock producer Sandy Pearlman, best-known for his work with Blue Öyster Cult and the Dictators. The teaming was quite controversial within the punk community, and the sound of Give 'Em Enough Rope is considerably cleaner, yet the more direct sound hardly tamed the Clash. While the record doesn't burn with the same intense, amateurish energy of The Clash, it does have a big, forceful sound that is nearly as powerful. What keeps Give 'Em Enough Rope from being a classic is its slightly inconsistent material. Many of the songs are outright classics, particularly the first half of the record ("Safe European Home," "English Civil War," "Tommy Gun," "Julie's Been Working for the Drug Squad") and "Stay Free," but the group loses some momentum toward the end of the record. Even with such flaws, Give 'Em Enough Rope ranks as one of the strongest albums of the punk era. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Punk / New Wave - Released September 9, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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In Clash lore, the band's stint as the opening act for the Who's farewell tour in 1982 is where the band had stardom in its hand and dropped it on the floor. That's how Joe Strummer phrased it in retrospect, but in 1982 the pairing was seen as a rock cultural clash, with the Who's audience bristling at the punks, and the punks not quite being comfortable operating on a larger scale -- a suspicion somewhat proven by the band's implosion within months of the Shea Stadium gig. Given all the stories about how poorly received this tour with the Who was -- that the Clash were routinely greeted by boos as they hopped from stadium to stadium across the U.S. -- it comes as a mild surprise that this unearthed recording of the band's opening set at Shea Stadium isn't bad at all. There were some signs prior to this 2008 archival release that this particular gig was pretty good -- some of the cuts surfaced on the posthumous live 1999 comp From Here to Eternity and the video to "Should I Stay or Should I Go" came from this gig -- but all the decades of disastrous myths help turn Live at Shea Stadium into a pleasant surprise. That doesn't mean that this is a definitive portrait of the Clash live, or even that it captures the band at their best, but it's fascinating to hear how they pitched their set to the Who's audience, only slowing down for the reggae of "Armagideon Time" and "The Guns of Brixton," but otherwise sticking with high-octane, breathlessly paced rock & roll -- the kind of set designed to placate a stadium full of classic rock fans, or at least keep them buying beer instead of throwing it. As a historical document, it's a worthy one. It not only illustrates that the Clash did turn in some strong performances on this often disaster-plagued tour, but it gives us the first officially released Clash concert instead of the re-creation of From Here to Eternity. And if it's not all terrific -- strangely, the Combat Rock songs can sometimes sound stiff, particularly "Rock the Casbah" -- when the group clicks, as they do on a closing stretch that includes "Career Opportunities," "Clampdown," "Should I Stay or Should I Go," and a furious "I Fought the Law," they sound like the greatest band on earth and a sure bet to have blown the Who off the stage. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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Punk / New Wave - Released August 23, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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A tie-in to the exhaustive 2013 box set Sound System, the 2013 compilation The Clash Hits Back is a novel approach to a career retrospective: it mirrors the 24-song set list for the band's July 19, 1982 concert at Brixton Fairdeal, then adds eight bonus hits at the end. The Clash Hits Back slightly tweaks the running order of the original set -- "Bankrobber" arrived five songs into the concert but appears eighth here -- but that doesn't matter much, as this swap doesn't alter the impact of the original set. The Clash were plugging Combat Rock so songs from that LP -- the singles "Rock the Casbah," "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" and "Straight to Hell," plus "Ghetto Defendant" and "Know Your Rights," adding up to just under half the album -- sit alongside a heavy chunk of London Calling and early hits, plus a few stabs at Sandinista!. What's added at the end is a mix of their high-octane early material ("White Riot," "Complete Control," "Clash City Rockers," Tommy Gun," "English Civil War") and their more adventurous studio recordings ("The Call Up," "Hitsville UK," "This Is Radio Clash"), adding up to a strong overview of all the band could do. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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A tie-in to the exhaustive 2013 box set Sound System, the 2013 compilation The Clash Hits Back is a novel approach to a career retrospective: it mirrors the 24-song set list for the band's July 19, 1982 concert at Brixton Fairdeal, then adds eight bonus hits at the end. The Clash Hits Back slightly tweaks the running order of the original set -- "Bankrobber" arrived five songs into the concert but appears eighth here -- but that doesn't matter much, as this swap doesn't alter the impact of the original set. The Clash were plugging Combat Rock so songs from that LP -- the singles "Rock the Casbah," "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" and "Straight to Hell," plus "Ghetto Defendant" and "Know Your Rights," adding up to just under half the album -- sit alongside a heavy chunk of London Calling and early hits, plus a few stabs at Sandinista!. What's added at the end is a mix of their high-octane early material ("White Riot," "Complete Control," "Clash City Rockers," Tommy Gun," "English Civil War") and their more adventurous studio recordings ("The Call Up," "Hitsville UK," "This Is Radio Clash"), adding up to a strong overview of all the band could do. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released February 7, 2020 | BBM2

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Pop - Released August 30, 1994 | Epic

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Punk / New Wave - Released January 28, 2010 | Sonic Book

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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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Rock - Released February 7, 2020 | BBM2

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Rock - Released February 7, 2020 | BBM2

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Rock - Released February 7, 2020 | BBM2

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The Clash in the magazine
  • London Calling: 40 years later
    London Calling: 40 years later On the 14th of December 1979, Joe Strummer’s band released their 3rd album, a double feature now considered to be one of the best rock albums ever made…