Following on from my Joe Strummer post, I'd been thinking a lot about The Clash as I always do this time of year. Looking back on their catalogue of albums and singles, I still find it difficult to select my favourite tracks but compiling a list of my own top 10 should not prove too arduous. One hour later, and I'm ready.Note, these are in no order of preference (except for maybe the number 1 spot).
1/ White Man In Hammersmith Palais. "I'm the all night drunk prowling wolf who looks so sick in the sun". Their finest hour in my humble opinion, with a giant of a vocal performance and lyrics that are a joy to read. Inspired by an event at one of my favourite London music venues, this is a mighty 45rpm-er and a live highlight.
2/ Safe European Home. "Well I just got back and 'ah wish I never leave now". From the once-hated 'Give 'Em Enough Rope' album. Much dissension from those who wanted a clone of the magnificent first LP (same folks who stopped following bands once they reached The Lyceum "cos they've sold out") but no matter. This track made for a fine rabble-rousing opening to Rope and was often used to open their live sets.
3/ Career Opportunities. "Career Opportunities the ones that never knock. Every job they offer you is to keep you out the dock". Snarling vocals,a beat that moves like an express train. Sadly, it's just as relevant today. Come a long fucking way, haven't we?
4/ Janie Jones "He's in love with rock 'n' roll woah. He's in love with getting stoned woah". Another one from that classic debut. Joe gets naughty with Janie, while the crowd goes wild. Let them know, let them knoow!
5/ Clash City Rockers. "You owe me a move say the bells of Old Groove. Come on and show me say the bells of Old Bowie". Name dropping here in this top-notch single release (we won't mention G******) from a band on fire. Do your stuff, Topper!
6/ Police And Thieves. "And all the peacemaker turn war officer. Hear what I say" Used to love this one live (and not because it gave us a breather). Joe really lived this song live, and the sight of him shimmying across the stage while Mick, Paul and Topper stayed rock steady will stay with me forever.
7/ London Calling. "London calling, now don't look to us. Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust". Thank Christ for that! Probably the standout track from the fab album of the same name, and you can take the lyrics any way you want. Uplifting every time I listen.
8/ Stay Free. "When you lot get out, we're gonna hit the town. We'll burn it fackin down, to a cinder". Back to Rope for this one. Such an emotional song. If there's one Clash track that's tear-inducing, this is it!
9/ Complete Control. "They said we'd be artistically free, when we signed that bit of paper". This one always went down a storm live. One of the greatest guitar openings in musical history? Oh yes.
10/ Capital Radio. " Wanna tell your problems, phone in from your bedsit room. Havin' trouble with your partner, let us all in on the news". Got the Clash debut week of release, and it did have that red sticker for a copy of this single. Ashamed to say I didn't send off for it. Ah well, loved this song to death and the lyrics still bring a smile to my face.
So, that's my 10 faves but I'm sure most of you will have different choices. Might do this one again, with bands like The Jam and The Banshees.