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The Clash (US Version) – The Clash

The Clash 1977 Debut

The Clash (US Version)

(1977/1979), 9.5/10
The Clash’s debut album was recorded in three weekends, but was considered too raw to be released to the US market, although it achieved the highest ever sales for an import album. Eventually a modified version was released in 1979, replacing four of the lesser songs from the original with five non-album singles and b-sides, as well as substituting ‘White Riot’ with a newer version.

The resulting album is less coherent than the original, but more accomplished, and I rate it as the group’s strongest recording; The Clash has a conciseness and energy which is missed by its followups. Iconic tracks like ‘Janie Jones’ and ‘White Riot’ still bristle with energy. Singles ‘Complete Control’, ‘I Fought the Law’, and the reggae cover of ‘Police and Thieves’ provide diversity. The highlight is the epic ‘White Man (in Hammersmith Palais)’ which brilliantly mixes rock and reggae to preach about punk, race relations, and politics.

This bastardised version of The Clash is of historical significance in defining a genre, and is the most important work by a seminal band.

4 thoughts on “The Clash (US Version) – The Clash Leave a comment

  1. It’s a toss up for me between this and “London Calling” as their best. The latter always wins buts it’s darn close. CBS marketed this album perfectly by adding the stand alone singles, which enhanced it beyond its British counterpart. Great spot on “White Man…” which may possibly be the best white reggae/rock song I’ve ever heard. Good stuff and thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 2 people

    • When I started listening to The Clash, London Calling was at the point where it was getting a lot of the hype as the greatest album of all time, so I think I’ve always been a little reactive against that. It’s difficult for any album to measure up to such high praise.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I get your point. I was a big fan of The Clash when it was released, and to me it was a revelation, the complete rock record. The positive rhetoric has increased massively as the years have gone by, but to be there, see them live at the time made a huge difference to my interpretation.

        Liked by 1 person

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