London Calling Turns 30 (Originally published January 5, 2010)

The Clash is my favorite band of all time.  London Calling is my favorite album, and “Train In Vain” is my favorite song.  How one band managed to win the Triple Crown with someone like me, who can barely stand to listen to two songs in a row of the same genre, is beyond me.

What it boils down to is this: variety.  Punk rock, while thrilling and different upon first listen, is intrinsically boring in large doses.  And The Clash were initially lumped in with The Sex Pistols, The Damned, and The Ramones as bastions of punk.

But they didn’t stop there.  Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Topper Headon got together, threw their collective influences into one big pot, and out came London Calling, the definitive “punk” album.

Today marks London Calling’s thirtieth anniversary (at least in the U.S.  Technically, all those “Best of the ’80s” lists are wrong, because it was originally released in 1979 in the U.K.).  I felt like I should share a nice little piece of pop culture history that means so much to me.  So, without further ado, is a rousing live version of my favorite song of all time, the final track on my favorite album, played by my favorite band.


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