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Da Punk


Forgive my lateness on the punk memory lane trip, but: Sorry, Andrew, the
Clash were a great band. True, the Sex Pistols were THE punk band, but
that’s only because they had the good sense to implode after one great album
(‘Never Mind the Bollocks’) plus one bizarro soundtrack, (‘The Great Rock
’n’ Roll Swindle’). The Clash were the punk band that circumvented the
limitations of the genre. For one thing, they bothered to learn how to play
their instruments after their first few songs. Their first album, ‘The
Clash’ (including “White Riot,” I’m So Bored With The U.S.A.,” “Clash City
Rockers” and more) is a great punk record. ‘London Calling’ is a great ROCK
album by a band that just happened to start out punk (the title track,
“Train In Vain,” “Lost In The Supermarket,” “Clampdown,” “Spanish Bombs”,
“Rudie Can’t Fail”, etc. etc. etc.). It’s in my top ten of rock albums ever.
The follow-up, three-album set, ‘Sandinista’, was a sprawling mess, but has
many remarkable gems nonetheless. Joe Strummer and Mick Jones were, in
their own way, the Lennon-McCartney of the punk era — in all senses of that
idea (consider the Clash’s incorporation of reggae, funk and rap as their
version of the Beatles incorporating Eastern mysticism and raga rhythms in
the Fab Four’s later recordings).


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