Route 19 Revisited: The Clash and London Calling
Now the breakthrough album from the foremost band of the punk era gets the close critical eye it deserves. Marcus Gray examines London Calling from every vantage imaginable, from the recording sessions and the state of the world it was recorded in to the album’s long afterlife, bringing new levels of understanding to one of punk rock’s greatest achievements. Leaving no detail unexplored, he provides a song-by-song breakdown covering when each was written and where, what inspired each song, and what in turn each song inspired, making this book a must-read for Clash fans.
London the night before the band recorded ‘Lost in the Supermarket’. Although known as a blues artist, Taj Mahal always refused to recognize boundaries. His International Rhythm Band included musicians from Jamaica and Africa as well as the USA, and their sound incorporated elements of jazz, reggae, funk and other musics from around the world. Topper noticed that drummer Kester Smith played a lot of what would usually be snare drum beats on his floor tom instead. So Topper does the same in the
illustrate that song in the Clash 2nd Songbook. ‘(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais’ was released to tie in with the Out on Parole UK tour that followed their pigeon shooting court appearance, and Nic Egan’s label illustration is based on Roy Lichtenstein’s for the June 1968 Time cover story, ‘The Gun in America’. Paul told Negative Reaction, ‘I’d like to act in films like Clint Eastwood,’ and his fantasies were clearly still very much movie-led. Within a year of moving into Number 42b, to his
well-recorded on 24-track [during the Combat Rock tour] only a handful of shows with Topper on drums were ever recorded, some of them none too well’. Given the choice available, as much material as possible featuring Topper was included. Even at the time of From Here to Eternity’s release, Joe - who had little to do with the album - said he didn’t believe the Clash had played more than one good gig after Topper left. It was an overstatement, but a strong indication that he for one did not believe
quotes and key information are, alphabetically: Jon Bennett, Mojo (2002); Ian Burrell, the Independent (2004); Garry Bushell, Sounds (1978) and, with Dave McCullough, Sounds (1979); Matthew Caws, Guitar World (1995); Caroline Coon, Melody Maker (1976 and 1977); Sean Egan, Billboard (2008); Bill Flanagan, Musician (1988); David Fricke, Rolling Stone (1981); Vic Garbarini, Musician (1981); Pat Gilbert and the Q Classic Clash special team (2005); Simon Goddard, Uncut (2003); James Henke, Rolling
Rope tour. About as far as they were prepared to go to acknowledge that the Clash might in any way present a challenge to the status quo was to illustrate ads and posters with a representation of the Statue of Liberty trussed up in rope. And, as the band discovered when they arrived at the venues, promotion was at best half-hearted-afew record covers stuck to a wall at one venue - and at worst non-existent. On 9 February several Epic representatives gathered backstage at the Santa Monica Civic