37 years ago today….

Thirty-seven years ago today saw the release of what I’d consider to be the best punk single of all time. When I began my initial explorations into The Clash at 18 years of age in 2012, the incomplete live footage of ‘Complete Control’ from Rude Boy was one of the first live Clash videos I saw.and it just floored me. I’d never seen anyone perform like Joe Strummer in that footage and he mesmerized me. Really, that performance coupled with ‘Know Your Rights’ from the US Festival quite simply changed my life. Joe Strummer may have ad-libbed the line “you’re my guitiar hero!” to Mick Jones but songs like this cemented The Clash as my guitar heroes.

Strong personal feelings aside, ‘Complete Control’ really is such an incredible song that’s special in a number of ways. It’s unique in that it’s sung by Strummer yet the vast majority was penned by Jones and it also has the honor of being the first song recorded with a certain Topper Headon at the drums. ‘Complete Control’ was the start of a new chapter for this band, one that would see them rise to dizzying heights only to implode all too soon. It was released in 1977 as a non-album single (in the UK at least) and it comfortably bridges the gap between The Clash and Give ‘Em Enough Rope. It’s more technically proficient than The Clash, it’s more polished, yet there’s still that unmistakeable raw edge and visceral feel that made it a classic album of the genre. This is still very much punk music, and punk music of the highest order.

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Mick Jones Turns 59

As today marks his 59th birthday, it would be careless of me not to post something in relation to Mick Jones. An extremely gifted musician who in so many ways was the soul of The Clash. No one member of  The Clash carried the group exclusively, but without Mick Jones the group were considerably poorer, if not outright disfunctional – just look at the regrettable Cut The Crap album.  His brilliant studio prowess enabled Joe Strummer’s visionary lyrics to manifest into timeless songs. Of course, Mick was no slouch as a songwriter either. He wrote classics such as ‘Stay Free’, ‘Train In Vain’ and ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go?’. Perhaps greatest of all though is the classic punk single ‘Complete Control’. It’s a rare Clash song in that it’s written by Jones, yet sang by Strummer. Mick wrote it as a ferocious response to CBS releasing ‘Remote Control’ as a single without the band’s prior consent. It’s an impassioned and scathing commentary against  artistic oppression and stands up as one of the greatest punk singles of all time – it’s certainly my favourite punk song from The Clash. The song fires on all cylinders and Joe Strummer was expressing the sentiments of thousands, if not millions, when he bellows “you’re my guitar hero!”, directed at Mick, during the guitar solo. He’s much more than The Clash’s guitarist and tune-smith though – I’ve not even touched upon the innovative music Mick made following The Clash with projects such as Big Audio Dynamite for brevity’s sake. In all of his various projects though his vision and strong desire to always push himself creatively is always prevalent. And, may there be many more years of it to come – happy birthday Mick!

The Clash – Nationwide 1980

I’m sharing this video for two reasons. I love the footage and today marks the 34th anniversary since original broadcast. It’s footage of The Clash in Scotland during the 16 Tons Tour, though there’s some brief information about how The Clash formed. There’s a slight error though – the narrator of the video implies that Topper Headon joined The Clash in 1976. He wasn’t a member of The Clash until 1977. It’s a bit misleading if you’re not familiar with Clash history. Anyway, I just love seeing stuff like this, especially the pre-show material.  I’m nineteen years old with absolutely no chance of ever experiencing The Clash live, so I always love watching videos like this. I find even the footage of the young fans talking fascinating: it’s all glimpses to an era I’ve absolutely no experience of. The highlight of the whole video is the fan who states they’ve got no ticket, before the footage then cuts to Joe Strummer helping fans in via the window (which was a common occurrence at Clash gigs). Footage like that always reminds me why I’m so passionate about this band. I think this video is a delightful relic to be honest with you!