London Calling as a Single LP

(More filler posting to keep this place ticking over. I will post more music soon.. honest. Like, this week).

Running with the general theme of weeding out bad songs by good bands, here’s my pick for London Calling as a single LP. Think of the wonderful album that might have been if only the dross filter had been set to a higher level when they were making their selection. For starters, the band could have taken nearly all of 1980 off, and the world of music would be none the poorer.

London Calling:

  1. London Calling
  2. Brand New Cadillac (cover version)
  3. Hateful (Jones)
  4. Rudie Can’t Fail (Jones)
  5. Spanish Bombs (Jones)
  6. Lost in the Supermarket (Jones)
  7. Clampdown (Jones sings in middle eight)
  8. The Guns of Brixton (Simonon)
  9. Koka Kola
  10. Train in Vain (Jones)

I’m pretty sure that the band would have still recieved the same amount of critical accliam for this tight, Jones-led effort as they would for the sprawling mess they released instead because they allowed Strummer’s “but I’m the lead singer” ego to get in the way. Lyrically, he just wasn’t in top form that year. Moreoever, I’m sure that you, gentle reader, can’t even remember the name of lots of the other songs of the real double LP without looking it upon Wikipedia. Can you?

As for Sandinista – I can’t even make a good single album out of the entire six sides. To Mack’s suggestion of “Somebody Got Murdered” I’d add “The Call Up” which combined could have made the basis of a decent EP, I suppose. Anyway, can anyone actually name a really good triple album? Seems like hubris of the highest order to even attempt one.

S.

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9 thoughts on “London Calling as a Single LP

  1. Sandinista the single album…

    Side 1:
    Magnificent 7
    Hitsville Uk
    Somebody Got Murdered
    One More Time
    One More Dub

    Side 2:
    The Street Parade
    Police On My Back
    Something About England
    Washington Bullets
    Lose This Skin
    The Call Up

    …would have been one of the greatest LPs in the history of LPs. I was also tempted to add Lose This Skin. While I understand that by any objective standard it is dreadful, I have a strange fondness for it. Fuck it, it’s going in.

  2. See, I’m basically too drunk to argue. So ok. You’re right. About everything.
    Now that was easy, wasn’t it?

  3. ‘Lose this Skin’ is a toss-up.
    But I still maintain ‘Kingston Advice’ is the most under-appreciated song on the album. A definite keeper.

  4. As for ‘London Calling,’ I can cut 3-4 songs, but can’t get it down to a single album without losing some gems. The first two sides are near perfect, while the last two could only use a little trimming. Nope, can’t get it down to a single album unless it is a long album.

  5. Y’see, the thing about ‘London Calling’ is that it is ALREADY a great single album (in my opinion). I just never play album two. Since it came out I have regularly played sides 1 and 2 and I love every track but I stopped playing sides 3 and 4 after a few weeks and didn’t hear them again for years – until the CD came out. Then I gave tracks 11-19 another go and after twenty years they still sound like filler. Personally, I think the only reason ‘Train in Vain’ sounds reasonably ok is that it comes after all the filler before it…put it next to the title track, ‘Clampdown’, ‘Hateful’ – anything on sides 1 and 2 really – and it doesn’t stack up. So, given that the Clash insisted that LC retail at single LP price, I’ve always thought of it as a single album with a kind of bonus LP of filler thrown in.

  6. I dunno man. Koka Kola is some pretty high quality filler.

    But I take your point. The good tracks are kind of concentrated on the first 2 sides.

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