I have to admit that I’ve never heard the last “Clash” album. Without Mick Jones they aren’t and can’t be The Clash and Strummer had some nerve pretending otherwise.
This Bill Wyman guy amazes me. How can anyone be so knowledgable and so clueless at the same time? Of course a lot of this has to be pure opinion, but I think the story of this band and therefore their best songs is simple: they started, they had talent, they developed their abilities to the fullest as much or more than any other rocknroll band ever, and they declined. But at least they declined experimenting rather than repeating themselves, musically anyway. As for the lyrics, the politics that began so refreshingly honest quickly devolved into boilerplate leftism. But even in decline they came up with a few more great songs.
To me it is completely and utterly obvious that the best Clash song is Complete Control.
Their second-best song is also obvious to me: Safe European Home. One of you should post that, because I want to post my 3rd-fave, which I must have posted before. I absolutely love this song, and to fully appreciate it I believe everyone should sing along with it. Jones puts everything he’s got into it, the guitars are pure killer, the backup vocals, the rhythm section driving it all.
And here’s the link:
Gene, put this on the list of things to discuss in-person at Shandlerfest. Just four quick things for now:
1) Guessing snooty Bill Wyman’s first Clash album was “London Calling.”
2) Interesting that I think The Clash are really, really good, but I’ve never grasped their greatness as much as most of the music world. Same thing for “Complete Control.” It’s a fine Clash song, but I’m not in on the consensus Rock Remnants orgasm.
3) My favorite is. . .AMAZINGLY. . .”White Man In HP.” Me and Bill Wyman – bosom buddies!
4) Second favorite – bibbity-bobbity bass version of “White Riot.” Does Wyman even acknowledge this one? For me, that bass makes it a whole different song.
The greatness of the Clash starts with great songs, big ambitious poppy rock songs that combine catchy melodies with all sorts of syncopated rhythms. And often startlingly apt and intriguing lyrics. There are some miscues on those five albums, nine disks of music, but in many case those are more matters of taste than a creative breakdown. That came immediately after.
I look at Wyman’s Top 40 here and like just about all the songs, but the real value of the list is the stories and descriptions for each tune, more than any ranking. I’m pretty sure any song on the first album, UK version, US version and b-sides, has at one time or another been atop my list. This one came to mind first when thinking about this:
Yes, Janie Jones holds a special place for me as the first Clash song I ever heard, definitely in their top 10. Plus Mick is playing my guitar in the video. I mean same year, same model, same color. 1959 Les Paul Jr.