Study Guide

London Calling Introduction

London Calling Introduction

In a Nutshell

"London Calling" is set in post-apocalyptic Britain, where human technology has failed and people have to fend for themselves. Think 28 Days Later, but maybe not the terrible sequel.

So, if that doesn't seem relevant to your life, what about the issues vocalist Joe Strummer sings about? Oil shortages, nuclear threats, global climate change? Nah, none of those things have been in the news lately. (P.S. If you didn't catch on, we're being sarcastic.)

But seriously, "London Calling" is a high-energy tune that will both pump you up and make you fear for the end of the world—if it isn't here already. An almost universally admired band, the Clash delivers a hit that's a heck of a lot of fun, considering all of this heavy subject matter. 

Prepare to battle with the zombies, put on some comfy dancing shoes, and see where "London Calling" takes you.

About the Song

ArtistClash, The
Year1979
LabelCBS Records (UK), Epic Records (U.S.)
Writer(s)Joe Strummer, Mick Jones
Producer(s)Guy Stevens
Musician(s)Joe Strummer (lead vocals), Paul Simonon, Topper Headon, Mick Jones
Learn to play
AlbumLondon Calling

Music Video

Influences on Clash, The

The Rolling Stones
Mott the Hoople
The Who
Bobby Fuller Four
Elvis Presley
Junior Murvin
Reggae
Dub

Influenced by Clash, The

U2
Minutemen
MDC
Arctic Monkeys
Rancid
The Slits
Senor Flavio
Operation Ivy
The Dead 60s
Red Rockers
M.I.A.
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs
No Doubt
Massive Attack
The Wallflowers
The White Stripes
The Strokes
The Vines
Sublime
Manic Street Preachers
Bad Religion
NOFX

London Calling Resources

Books

Pat Gilbert, Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash (2004)
Pat Gilbert's definitive, authorized biography of the band is an essential look into the band through historical accounts and interviews with the former members of the band, Strummer, Jones, Simonon, and Headon.

Marcus Gray with the Clash, The Last Gang in Town: The Story and Myth of the Clash (2004)
Marcus Gray's unofficial story of the Clash seeks to separate myth from reality, originally published in 1995.

Chris Salewicz, Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer (2007)
This nicely written biography of Joe Strummer by Chris Salewicz also reads as an overview of the Clash's music.

Albums

London Calling (1979)
Easily one of the greatest records, this is punk's White Album, though the Clash and most all of punk rock would detest the metaphor. The title track is one of many excellent tracks; "Spanish Bombs," "Clampdown," "Guns of Brixton," "Revolution Rock," and "Train in Vain" are all of the same caliber. This release features the demo tapes—dubbed "The Vanilla Tapes"—and a DVD documentary.

Combat Rock (1982)
This is the Clash's most commercially successful record, and it's great to listen to, if you don't mind disco here and there, with an incredible A side with songs like "Rock the Casbah," "Straight to Hell" (which M.I.A. samples heavily on "Paper Planes"), and "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"

Images

Elvis Presley and London Calling
This is the debut Elvis album that the Clash copied in style for the release of London Calling.

"London Calling"
The single cover art continues the '50s theme of the cover.

The Clash
The Clash isn't really interesting photo-wise. In fact, all of their band pictures look pretty much exactly like this one.

Websites

The Clash Official Site
This pretty flash website is the official page for Clash news, information, and galleries.

Video & Audio

"London Calling" Music Video
Here's the official video in all its Clash glory.

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