The Clash’s London Calling rammer de 40 år i december, og derfor skyder artikler, genudgivelse, ja, selv en udstilling i London op i denne tid. Lige her er det The Independent‘s Chris Harvey, der hylder det skelsættende dbl-album.
“In some ways, London Calling was not even the most radical UK album of 1979. The Slits released Cut, PiL’s experimental Metal Box opened with 10 and a half minutes of the near unlistenable “Albatross”, The Pop Group set off a post-punk chain reaction with Y, while Joy Division subtly tilted rock on its axis with Unknown Pleasures. London Calling only just made NME’s top 10 albums of the year, at number eight. Meanwhile, in Coventry, the 2-Tone movement was producing multiracial bands that did more than just pay homage to Jamaican music like the punks.
But London Calling had something unique. It was lightning in a bottle. All the shades of The Clash’s music – anger, passion, swagger, political fury, romantic heroism, anguish, dread, hope, innocence, humour and exhilaration – had been caught by producer Guy Stevens. It had street smarts and grandeur. In The Last Testament, Clash guitarist Mick Jones was at pains to point out that the songs had already been written, the arrangements already worked out, during a sustained period of intense writing and rehearsing at Vanilla Studios, behind a garage in Pimlico, before Stevens arrived on the scene. But the producer, a famously erratic alcoholic, whose techniques, as Letts’ film shows, were unconventional to say the least, wanted something more. Smashing chairs, pouring wine over a piano as Strummer played, swinging a ladder violently around his head, Stevens captured the spirit of The Clash. As the band’s former manager Kosmo Vinyl puts it in a quote from the Museum of London exhibition: “Guy Stevens wanted to make a record that sounded like scoring a goal at a Wembley Cup Final.””