Great Rock Albums of 1982: The Clash- Combat Rock

220px-The_Clash_-_Combat_Rock

Before I launch into the most successful album from The Clash, I must also add my two penneth about AC/DC at the grammys last week. I have enjoyed reading some of the accounts of their performance on the show from some of my fellow bloggers and to all I say, “Well done!” However, I have also read Britain’s leading tabloid newspaper, The Sun’s account of the grammys. They mentioned Kanye West, Madonna and even Lady GaGa with lost of glossy pictures. I had a skim read through it and there was no mention of AC/DC’s performance nor were there any pictures. This adds further proof the my supposition that The Sun newspaper is anti heavy metal.

Here's a piccy of AC/DC at the grammys

Here’s a piccy of AC/DC at the grammys

Now a quick recap on history of the time. By the early 1980s, punk had relocated from Britain to the west coast of the US. Many of the famous punk bands from the late 1970s had either disbanded or as in the case of The Jam, gone for a more mainstream sound. Read my visit of “The Gift” for further insight. Saying that, The Clash failed to pick up the memo on this because the 1982 album “Combat Rock” is not a total abandonment from the punk sound that made The Clash who they were. I’ll be the first to say that they probably weren’t as angry as they were when they put out “London Calling” there is a lot to say that they weren’t ready for the Top 40 either.

“Combat Rock” starts out as brash as any of The Clash’s earlier albums with a great opener, “Know Your Rights” and a great follow on with “Car Jamming.” Then there is my all time favourite Clash song, “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” which carries aggressive guitar chords that would impress most metalheads. Just thinking about it makes me want to seek out the nearest mosh pit. The next single “Rock the Casbah” comes next. What is great about this song is that while it still has that aggressive Clash style, the lyrics are politically satirical that some might not expect. Furthermore, a piano is added and that too doesn’t take away from the hard punk rock sound. After the next track, “Red Angel Dragnet,” “Combat Rock” seems to slide a bit with its hard rock aggression. What there is, however, is some more politics and satire, which makes me think that The Clash weren’t angry anymore, just a bit more skeptical and wanted to take the piss out of everything. “Inoculated City” goes back to the more angrier days but for me, “Combat Rock” lets itself down with an almost ballad like closer, “Death Is a Star.” Sure, that might work on a progressive rock album but to me it was rather unnecessary. Take that track away and you can see why this album was The Clash’s most successful album.

Track Listing:

1. Know Your Rights

2. Car Jamming

3. Should I Stay or Should I Go

4. Rock The Casbah

5. Red Angel Dragnet

6. Straight to Hell

7. Overpowered by Funk

8. Atom Tan

9. Sean Flynn

10. Ghetto Defendant

11. Inoculated City

12. Death is a Star

The Clash

The Clash

Joe Strummer- lead vocals, guitar, harmonica

Mick Jones-  guitar, vocals

Paul Simonon- bass, vocals

Topper Headon- drums, piano

What “Combat Rock” proved to me was that punk hadn’t completely left England in 1982. The Clash were able to put out a top album without totally forgetting where they came from.

Next post: Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

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6 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1982: The Clash- Combat Rock”

  1. This is the only Clash I have ever owned! Great album and great write up !
    Your right about the riff in Should I….impressing metal heads! It worked on me at the time and I even loved the reggae rock of Casbah…….still do!

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  2. I am a big fan of Sandinistas, so this one is a bit of a letdown. Interesting to note that Topper Headon basically remade Casbah into what it is, recorded all the parts but the guitarand vocals and when the rest of the band came back they were like whoa!! Then they fired him for unreliability and re-replaced his with Terry Chimes, who appeared in the video. Kind of a sad development huh? Anyways, when they played Casbah live on tour it took a decidedly different twist.

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    • Sandanistas passed me by unnoticed which is the only reason I didn’t visit it in 1981. I didn’t know any of that about Topper Headon except that he did play piano on the song. It was a sad development because I have always like him as a drummer. Cudos for bringing it up.

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  3. I only own the singles, so I’ve never heard this in its entirety but I was dancing in my kitchen to ‘Rock the Casbah’ last night!

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