In the same way that the first albums released by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were revamped and even drastically modified for US release, The Clash’s eponymous album underwent the cut-and-paste treatment when it was released in the States in the year 1979.
Every person who has listened to the original album (released in 1977, obviously) arrives at the same conclusion: the original has a more organic flow, whereas the American edition features better individual songs. That is nothing surprising – the US edition ended up resembling a sort of mini compilation of their best songs up to that point. Songs that were added to the American release (which boasted 15 songs, as opposed to the 14 the British release included) featured the hits “Clash City Rockers”, “Complete Control”, “White Man In Hammersmith Palais” and “I Fought The Law”, a song which stuck out like a sore thumb because the production values were so much higher. That is something to take into account – the original LP was recorded in a dilapidated warehouse, and it sounded like that. You put something like “I Fought The Law” in the middle, and it feels like placing a scene from “I Am Legend” into “The Omega Man”. Continue reading →
There are many misconceptions surrounding The Clash. Regarding them as nothing more than punk rockers frequently tops the list. This happens because they started as that, and because one of their most successful songs from later on is a very loud number (you know which one – the one posing the existential dilemma).
Out of the six albums they were to release, only the first two ones deserve a “punk” label. They are the self-titled record (1977) and the one named “Give ‘Em Enough Rope” (1978). The third one (“London Calling”, 1979) had them diversifying their sound notably, until they experimented as much (or even more) than the Beatles in their triple album “Sandinista!” (released in 1980). The final album by the classic lineup was “Combat Rock” (1982), and it yielded two major American hits: the banal “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” and the so-so “Rock The Casbah”. These are the two songs most people associate with the band, and it is a bit shameful because they were capable of so much more than misconceptions arise and it is difficult to set things to right sometimes, even when you are talking to people who are music-educated.