Friday, December 7, 1979

The Clash released the single “London Calling”

London Calling

The Clash

Writer(s): Joe Strummer, Mick Jones (see lyrics here)

Released: December 7, 1979

First Charted: December 13, 1979

Peak: 1 CL, 1 CO, 11 UK, 28 AU, 5 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.4 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 46.6 video, 213.84 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Clash’s “London Calling” was the first single and title cut from their third studio album. While the song reached #11 in the UK, it didn’t chart in the United States. The band would break in the U.S. because of a single from the album, but it was “Train in Vain,” which reached #23 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The “apocalyptic, politically charged rant features the band’s post-punk sound, electric guitar and vocals.” WK It is “a witty but powerful manifesto for post-punk rock & roll.” AMG The title is an allusion to the BBC and its station identification, “This is London calling” used during World War II in broadcasts to occupied countries. WK

The lyrics “read like a call to order for all post-punk generation rockers.” AMG Singer Joe Strummer addressed a multitute of issues including the coming of the ice age, starvation, war, police brutality, the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor meltdown, the fear that if the River Thames flooded most of central London would drown, and the band’s struggles with debt and lack of management. Strummer, a news junkie, told Melody Maker “I read about 10 news reports in one day calling down all variety of plagues on us.” SF

Musically, All Music Guide’s Donald A. Guarisco says the song “has a hypnotic sense of drive” AMG that “cleverly crossbreeds anthemic hard rock with reggae by juxtaposing slashing, staccato guitar riffs with an undulating rhythm section beat as Strummer lays down a snarling vocal.” AMG


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First posted 10/8/2021; last updated 10/28/2022.

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