Everybody knows The Clash, and everybody smart loves The Clash. Smart punk. Power chords and attitude, complete with a fully realized ethos. The closest comparison in the modern generation is probably Pearl Jam. And I do love Pearl Jam, but I just don’t think they compare. PJ’s songs are great, but I can’t imagine them being performed by anyone other than Pearl Jam.
The Clash, on the other hand, were great songwriters.
Case(s) in point to follow . . .
A is for Arcade Fire-Guns of Brixton (live)
B is for Beethoven! White Riot-Camper Van Beethoven
D is for Die Toten Hosen-Guns of Brixton
E is for Edwyn Collins-1977. If you only download one tune today, make it this one. This version is so cool, so different.
F is for The Fiery Furnaces-One More Time.
H is for Hammersmith Palais-311
I is for I Fought the Law-Waco Brothers (live). Originally by the Bobby Fuller Four, but this will always be a Clash song in my book.
J is for Joe! Straight to Hell-Joe Strummer. A live version.
K is for Kate Beckinsdale, who starred in Brokedown Palace, whose soundtrack featured this song: Rock the Casbah-Solar Twins.
N is for The National-Clampdown.
O is for a neat little tribute song: The Old Clash Fan’s Fight Song-Billy Bragg
P is for Pete Wylie-Stay Free
Q is for a quick, short set by Billy Bragg (a mini-Clash set from a larger show he did).
R is for Radio Clash-Rays Music Exchange
But for those who don’t dig jam bands, S can be for The Strokes-Clampdown.
T is for Rock the Casbah-TICA. An odd remix.
U is for Uptight Casbah! Clash vs. Stevie Wonder mash up. I think this was originally done by Dunproofin’, but I don’t remember.
V is for Version City by Terry Edwards & The Scapegoats. A very cool instrumental track.
W is for Whiteman in Hammersmith Palais-Joe Strummer. From an April 2002 live show, my favorite Clash member does my favorite Clash tune. And I still can’t understand most of the lyrics.
It’s time for the real thing. Just once. Nobody knows for sure who wrote this blues standard, but here’s the Clash themselves performing it at a soundcheck. Crappy quality, but worth it for the curiosity factor. X is for the mystery writer. Baby Please Don’t Go-The Clash.
Z is for Zebda and the Asian Dub Foundation-Police on my Back. Yeah, this is an Eddy Grant song, but The Clash made it their own. Kinda like after Aretha Franklin covered “Respect.” It just didn’t belong to Otis anymore.