Rocks In The Attic #462: The Clash – ‘The Clash’ (1977)

RITA#462.jpgMy love/hate relationship with the Clash continues. Re-released on Record Store Day’s Black Friday in 2015, I really only bought this because of the lovely split vinyl in white riot / Protex blue. It’s too good just to look at though.

One of the things I love about this debut album is the tracklisting versus the running time. Fourteen songs breeze past in thirty five minutes. What’s not to like about an album where the average running time is two minutes and fifty three seconds? If you don’t like a certain song, by the time you reached that decision, there’ll be another one coming around the corner in a matter of seconds.

I should like the Clash. They’re clearly the most talented of all the bands that came out of the punk movement in the UK. They can really play and they’re great songwriters, which you can’t say for a lot of the punk bands that got by on a mixture of attitude, nose rings and spit. It isn’t the band that’s to blame though for my apathy towards them, it’s the bloody fans.

Clash fans are one of the worst subcultures in music fandom. To Clash fans, the Clash are the beginning and end of everything. And don’t get me started on the deification of Joe Strummer. As part of a well-balanced musical diet, the Clash are a healthy pursuit, but moderation is everything and the Clash are really nothing more than the best of a bad bunch. Or are they something more? What am I missing?

Hit: White Riot

Hidden Gem: Police & Thieves

5 thoughts on “Rocks In The Attic #462: The Clash – ‘The Clash’ (1977)

  1. TheGoldRecord

    Really nice post & observation. Admittedly, I’m a huge Clash fan but I would have to agree with you on the points you made regarding Joe Strummer and the fandom.

    There were a lot of other fantastic punk bands that were coming out at the same time that didn’t get nearly the same level of recognition (I’m thinking The Advert, Vibrators and maybe The Damned, though I suppose they are well known).

    Perhaps it has something to do with nostalgia? I wasn’t even born when The Clash formed, but I recall a lot of people I met who were around during this time saying that they found The Clash to be more accessible to them than a lot of other bands at the time. Perhaps that goes hand in hand with what you said about bands “getting by on a mixture of attitude, nose rings and spit”.

    Great post! I look forward to reading more in the future.

    1. mrjohnnyandrews Post author

      Thanks for your comment @TheGoldRecord – it’s strange isn’t it? I can definitely see that they would have been more accessible than most other punk bands just because of all the genres they switched between. I’m probably limiting them by referring to them as a punk band. Maybe I’ll ‘get’ them a bit more if I regard them as a rock band rather than just a punk band.

      1. TheGoldRecord

        You’re welcome @mrjohnnyandrews. I definitely know what you are saying. Whenever I think of punk bands I instantly think of The Clash and yet some of my favourite tracks by them blend reggae/dub and a vast number of different genres. Still, your write-up was a really good read and I also own this record too, though I’m constantly tied between Sandinista and London Calling for a favourite!

  2. fishface

    I really loved The Clash for the first few albums, I was lucky and saw them many times in London in the late ’70s. They were a fantastic live band, far better than the Sex Pistols on stage. I began to lose some interest when they concentrated so much on the American market. This album has a nice raw sound, I think they were a great singles band and ‘Give ‘Em Enough Rope’ is a fine album in my book.


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