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If that was no toe tapper or no body shaker, boy you need to see the undertaker!
March 31, 2011 6:30 PM   Subscribe

"It was fantastic to be undeniably receiving radio from Britain. Ever since then I've always wanted to spin records on the World Service." Former Clash frontman Joe Strummer first listened to the BBC World Service while visiting his father in Africa as a teenager in the mid-1960s.

Over three decades later, he would host his own series of broadcasts, "London Calling," playing an eclectic mix of his favourite tracks from around the world.

Broadcasts also available through iTunes as free podcasts.
posted by futureisunwritten (54 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
For Dylan's 60th birthday ten years ago Joe (and Stevie Wonder!) visited the BBC studios for a chat (link for the audio is on the left).
posted by jeffen at 6:41 PM on March 31, 2011


I would very much prefer to live in a world with Joe Strummer (and D. Boon) still in it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:45 PM on March 31, 2011 [13 favorites]


I only saw Joe live once. He had a fight with a TV camera and told us not to accept surveillance or restriction of our liberty in any form. Then Ash played and it started to rain.
posted by howfar at 7:02 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Strummer deserves a better documentary than "the Future is Unwritten." Like I care what Johnny Depp thinks of him.
posted by puny human at 7:04 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am still bitter that the BBC World Service stopped their shortwave service to North America. I grew up fiddling with my grandpa's old Panasonic shortwave and loved tuning in the BBC. It really is one of the greatest cultural institutions on Earth. Now, I can get the broadcast from Ascension Island every now and then, but it's intermittent. I listen to NPR's BBC news hour on the way home from work, and i can listen on the internet, but it's just not the same, damnit!
posted by TrialByMedia at 7:05 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


And if this government has its way, the rest of the glory the BBC will be gone soon enough. We fucked up the world and made one truly great thing, and this bunch of bastards want to take that away.
posted by howfar at 7:10 PM on March 31, 2011 [4 favorites]


Loved that doc punyhuman (obviously given my user name) but man, some of those celebrity cameos really irked me. Fortunately they had enough of his old friends there to not let that ruin it for me.
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:19 PM on March 31, 2011


I swear I looked up and saw your username as soon as I hit post, and then I felt bad :(
posted by puny human at 7:26 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just yesterday I found a pristine copy of Global a Go-Go on vinyl... $10.
posted by edgeways at 7:30 PM on March 31, 2011


I got the shoe! Cinderella!

Yeah, just been watching Joe and thinking about stuff really.
posted by howfar at 7:41 PM on March 31, 2011


Strummer deserves a better documentary than "the Future is Unwritten." Like I care what Johnny Depp thinks of him.

I thought Rude Boy was good, though wikipedia suggest the band didn't.

I thought the Clash suffered from too many albums with too few memorable songs.

I remember seeing them in 83 (I think) at Cloudland ballroom in Brisbane. I remember as soon as Strummer came on stage everyone started spitting. Audiences were very sophisticated back then.
posted by the noob at 7:56 PM on March 31, 2011


I thought the Clash suffered from too many albums with too few memorable songs.

I'd say it was more like too many songs per album (Sandinista?!? Jesus Christ), but any kind of "suffering" that gives you London Calling is still a pretty fucking high-function brand of suffering.
posted by COBRA! at 8:09 PM on March 31, 2011


Oh God. I miss The Clash. I miss Joe Strummer. I want to torture and slay Coldplay.

Also, if you want Clash documentaries, this is about as good as it gets. Doesn't really capture it, but like I say, it's as good as it gets.
posted by Decani at 8:10 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I want to torture and slay Coldplay.

Are they still alive? I thought you'd had your way with them about half a decade ago. You can have your money back if not, and I'll throw in the fat lad out of Keane for goodwill.
posted by howfar at 8:15 PM on March 31, 2011


When shows like this were cut was the beginning of the end for BBC World Service. Every week now it seems that they're cutting shortwave broadcasts in one region or another, or ending one long running series or another.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:17 PM on March 31, 2011


I was just going to post how much I miss Joe Strummer. Jesus fuck, that guy was going to have a hell of a second career with The Mescaleros. I would put those two albums right up there with the best of The Clash.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:24 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Two albums"?

Which one are you leaving out?
posted by jeffen at 8:28 PM on March 31, 2011


Bit weird jeffen, Streetcore was completed after Joe died, so "two albums" is quite reasonable. Also, anal much?
posted by howfar at 8:31 PM on March 31, 2011


Also, I miss gigs like this. I just do. I really do. Oh, I am old. Old and sad.
posted by Decani at 8:33 PM on March 31, 2011


I thought the Clash suffered from too many albums with too few memorable songs.

I give up.
posted by davebush at 8:34 PM on March 31, 2011


I thought the Clash suffered from too many albums with too few memorable songs.
posted by the noob


Eponysterical?

The Clash released five albums (six if you count Cut The Crap as a Clash album).

I'm going to just go from personal opinion here, of course, by I'd say 8 of 14 are memorable on The Clash, 7 of 10 are memorable on Give 'Em Enough Rope, London Calling goes 19 for 19, Sandinista hits at least 12 out of 36 (so you have a point there) and even Combat Rock has 7 or 8 out of 12.

So we'll total that at 53 memorable songs over 5 albums.

Obvious solution: we live in different universes and in your universe, The Clash consisted of the members of REO Speedwagon.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:34 PM on March 31, 2011 [10 favorites]


(I'm defining memorable as songs that I could sing word for word, including guitar parts, right now)
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:36 PM on March 31, 2011


"two albums" is quite reasonable"

"Streetcore" is a great album. He wrote the songs, he sang the songs and the band finished the backing music as per his vision. I can't see how anyone would consider it as anything less than a full part of his oeuvre.
posted by jeffen at 8:38 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Clash released five albums (six if you count Cut The Crap as a Clash album).
You know, I can't remember a single other song off of Cut the Crap, but This is England is a fabulous, fabulous song. I love that song. I consider Cut The Crap a Clash album on the basis of that song alone, despite everything else that was fucked up and sad about it.
posted by craichead at 8:39 PM on March 31, 2011 [5 favorites]


"Streetcore" is a great album.

Word. Easily my favourite Mescaleros album.
posted by Decani at 8:40 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fair point. But don't think that whether a record is posthumous is what Joe would want people to be arguing about right now. When we've smashed capitalism and totalitarianism, we'll do lunch
posted by howfar at 8:41 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


But don't think that whether a record is posthumous is what Joe would want people to be arguing about right now.

"Let's siphon up some gas!!! Let's get this show on the road!!!"
posted by jeffen at 8:49 PM on March 31, 2011


Ok, yes Streetcore is a very enjoyable album. Three.

I have always thought there was a really excellent single album's worth of good stuff on Sandinista. That's the way I listen to it on my iPod.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:08 PM on March 31, 2011


I have always thought there was a really excellent single album's worth of good stuff on Sandinista.
Isn't the standard line on Sandinista that everyone agrees that there's a single album's worth of great stuff, but nobody agrees about which songs would be on that album?
posted by craichead at 9:11 PM on March 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought Rude Boy was good, though wikipedia suggest the band didn't.

Rude Boy isn't exactly a documentary, though it's still worth the time of any Strummer fan. (Personally, I think Joe singing "No Reason" on the piano is enough reason to watch it.) Westway to the World wasn't too bad; it had lots of old footage I'd never seen before.
posted by Rangeboy at 9:14 PM on March 31, 2011


I have always thought there was a really excellent single album's worth of good stuff on Sandinista.
Isn't the standard line on Sandinista that everyone agrees that there's a single album's worth of great stuff, but nobody agrees about which songs would be on that album?


Yeah, but my list is definitive.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:14 PM on March 31, 2011


So far I've never met anyone who agrees with me about my ideal cut of Sandanista, it's just a privilege to disagree.
posted by howfar at 9:15 PM on March 31, 2011


Isn't the standard line on Sandinista that everyone agrees that there's a single album's worth of great stuff, but nobody agrees about which songs would be on that album?

We must hang out with different kinds of Clash fans. Pretty much everybody I know would include "Magnificent Seven," "Hitsville UK," "Somebody Got Murdered," "One More Time," "Police On My Back," "The Call Up" and "Washington Bullets." Similarly, we would all get rid of "Junco Partner," "Ivan Meets GI Joe," "One More Dub," "The Equaliser," "Mensforth Hill," "Version Pardner," and "Career Opportunities." I suppose everything else is certainly debatable--I'm the only person I know who will stick up for "Lose This Skin."
posted by Rangeboy at 9:21 PM on March 31, 2011


The overkill of Sandanista is the charm if it. Don't edit it. Let it be.
posted by davebush at 9:29 PM on March 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rangeboy, possibly you are part of a rare strain of homogeneous Clash fans. If so, we should measure you in some way.
posted by howfar at 9:32 PM on March 31, 2011


Well, when I say "everybody I know," I mean me and my friend Chris, who will gladly spend four hours in a bar discussing the finer points of the Clash's discography. Which we have done. Repeatedly. Nonetheless, the two of us are in 100% agreement about the aforementioned songs.
posted by Rangeboy at 9:36 PM on March 31, 2011


Shortwave and Joe Strummer , it really doesn't get better than that , unless your camping at the time.

The whole night people are like "did he just say that " then "did he just play that " ?

Wow.
posted by epjr at 10:14 PM on March 31, 2011


last comment - I wish every band had to cover one Joe Strummer song by law
posted by epjr at 10:28 PM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love nearly all of Sandinista, but that may just be due to the experience of discovering the band via "Somebody Got Murdered" which is still just about my favorite song ever. I happened upon a Westwood One radio interview and started listening and a few minutes in they played it... for me it was one of those 'well, this changes everything moments' for sure. Truly jaw dropping. There are a number of songs (Lightning Strikes and Let's Go Crazy for example) that I grew to love simply from so many repeated listens.

I don't know that I could ever go so far as to go with 'the only band that mattered' tag, but damn do I ever miss them.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 11:18 PM on March 31, 2011


I like Junco Partner
posted by Hoopo at 12:00 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


last comment - I wish every band had to cover one Joe Strummer song by law

Oh hell no. If you ever heard "Train In Vain" by Third Eye Blind, you would understand.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:06 AM on April 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


The overkill of Sandanista is the charm if it. Don't edit it. Let it be.

Amen to that. If this fire trap I live in ever does get ignited, Sandinista will be one of maybe five albums I would instantly grab. No question. It's a fucking masterpiece of uncontained passion and expression. As Mr. Strummer himself once said to me (it's a long story), "But don't you think it should've been just a double?" ... "Yeah," I replied, hurriedly rolling another joint, "But I bet we could argue all night and we'd never agree which tracks should be dropped."

the other four worth saving at my peril? Can - Tago Mago, Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation, My Bloody Valentine - Loveless, Neutral Milk Hotel - Aeroplane Over the Sea
posted by philip-random at 12:07 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


And anyway - why would we argue about dropping songs? Sometimes an album is a Thing, but sometimes an album is just a collection of what sOmeone was doingbat that point in time. Wouldn't you rather have the opportunity to argue about three records worth of material than one?
posted by awfurby at 12:59 AM on April 1, 2011


I would not be sad living on your island, Philip-Random.

Hey, I have a bunch of favorite Clash songs that aren't on their main albums. So let me add "Midnight To Stevens", "Bankrobber" and "This Is Radio Clash" to my list of songs I can sing through.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:02 AM on April 1, 2011


What the..."Lose This Skin" is one of the high points of Sandinista.

The only thing I skip over when I play it is the kids singing career opportunities.

Actually, the real problem with Sandinista is it should have been a quadruple album, so it could include armagideon time / justice tonight / kick it over / bankrobber / rockers galore / robber dub / the cool out / stop the world....eh I'm sure there's a couple more dubs in the vaults somewhere to round it out.

(six if you count Cut The Crap as a Clash album).

Yeah, no one does that.
posted by the bricabrac man at 1:51 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've sat under a bush with Joe Strummer. If I'd had any of my faculties with me at the time I'd be able to tell you more about it than that.
posted by vbfg at 7:16 AM on April 1, 2011


Hey, I have a bunch of favorite Clash songs that aren't on their main albums.

Some of their non-album songs are my faves--I'd put Gates of the West and City of the Dead up there as must-haves.
posted by Hoopo at 8:44 AM on April 1, 2011


I've sat under a bush with Joe Strummer. If I'd had any of my faculties with me at the time I'd be able to tell you more about it than that.

That's more or less my tale, although there was no vegetation in the area. Basically, as long as I (we) kept rolling them and smoking them, he was happy to hang out. In the end, it wasn't that the drugs that wore out, just my ability to continue with the input.

"No input, no output," I later heard he was keen to say.

And yes, by all means, the truly genius version of Sandinista is eight sides of vinyl which would allow for inclusion of stuff from Black Market Clash and various other odds and ends.
posted by philip-random at 8:50 AM on April 1, 2011


I'm going to have to point my husband at this. I like the Clash but he's the big fan in our house and this is right up his alley. Thanks for posting the radio shows.
posted by immlass at 10:22 AM on April 1, 2011


If anyone has made it to this point in the thread and not yet listened to the London Calling broadcasts, go and download them now. Ignore the fighting over the Clash here, it has nothing to do with the awesome shows, and they are all worth listening to over and over. Joe Strummer plays music from all over the world and almost all eras, and he's brimming over with enthusiasm for every song. The whole set is an especially good listen for long road trips.

One caution - too much listening may lead to frustration and/or loss of money as each show will invariably have at least one song you want to buy, and it's often on an obscure, hard-to-find album (if anyone knows where I can find Raise the Alarm from show #7, I will be your friend forever).
posted by missix at 10:31 AM on April 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Steve and Julien talk re Malcolm, John, Sid, David, Glastonbury and Joe on the day the were going to film the fireside scene for the doc. They talk about the World Service Show as well..
What is wrong with people not liking "Career Opportunities" !!!
Most people will have left this thread by now. When i posted relatively unheard interviews with Craig Ferguson and , Ari Up ( after she passed away ) all the super involved,'i know best' , knowledgeable people only downloaded the files i posted about 10 times.
Enjoy this if you can be bothered. I edited the start but left al the adverts etc , couldnt be bothered doing more after the apathetic display on the last shows i posted. ( i have hundreds of hours of these )
posted by stuartmm at 11:09 AM on April 1, 2011


What is wrong with people not liking "Career Opportunities" !!!
The Sandinista version that's sung by the little kids? I sort of love it ("That's enough now! I'm tired of singing!"), but you've got to admit that it's a totally goofy thing to put on an album.
posted by craichead at 11:20 AM on April 1, 2011


Most people will have left this thread by now. When i posted relatively unheard interviews with Craig Ferguson and , Ari Up ( after she passed away ) all the super involved,'i know best' , knowledgeable people only downloaded the files i posted about 10 times.

I'd love to hear those interviews (and the one you just posted) but irrationally fear downloading files from Mediafire.

Listened to a bunch of the podcasts in the main link last night and, wow, this is amazing stuff.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:42 PM on April 1, 2011


but This is England is a fabulous, fabulous song. I love that song. I consider Cut The Crap a Clash album on the basis of that song alone, despite everything else that was fucked up and sad about it.
posted by craichead at 4:39 AM on April 1 [4 favorites +]


And that is why I bought "This Is England" on 7" and never bought the album. That was a great song.
posted by Decani at 12:19 PM on April 2, 2011


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