Turning Rebellion into Money: The Clash in 2013

The Clash motto about their output is always been “money for value”. There’s no need to remember that London Calling (a double record set!!) and Sandinista! (a triple record set!!!) were sold both as a single LP. Well, that’s not the case…



Sound System, the present box set (actually 12 cds and 1dvd, plus a lot of paraphernalias and gadgets) has been carefully assembled by the surviving and functioning Clash (here). Mick Jones remastered all the tracks here, Paul Simonon personally edited the graphic design of the whole lot.

Sony conceived the box set as the definitive legacy of the Clash, probably the last ever release by the Ladbroke Grove boys. The problem is -as Paul candidly admitted in a recent interview to Rolling Stone- you don’t need it if you got the records already…

The Clash records have been already remastered thrice. A flat and sloppy job at the end of the Eighties, an excellent job done circa 1990 for the tracks selected for The Clash On Broadway box set, and finally the unsatisfactory effort for the “remastered” editions just at the turn of the century.

How good Mick would have worked for this new remasterings, they would not beat the original vinyl editions, as Paul confessed. The major problem with some of those records (let’s say Sandinista! and Combat Rock above all) was the mix (guitars way too low in Sandinista!, bass disconnected to others instruments -big production fuck up- in Combat Rock, my 2 cents).

But The Clash were never about Hi-Fi, They were about excitment, breaking boundaries and great songs.


Assuming that: 1) istitutionalized Clash canon is all about Mick’s era; 2) you already have all the Clash records; the bonus material on Sound System is (in bold the unreleased tracks):

Disc One

1. White Riot (Single version)

2. 1977 (B-side)

3. Listen (Capital Radio EP) / Interviews (Capital Radio EP)

4. Capital Radio (Capital Radio EP)

5. London’s Burning (Live B-side Remote Control)

6. Complete Control (Single version)

7. City Of The Dead (B-side)

8. Clash City Rockers (Original single version)

9. Jail Guitar Doors (B-side)

10. White Man In Hammersmith Palais (A-side)

11. The Prisoner (B-side)

12. 1-2 Crush On You (B-side Tommy Gun)

13. Time Is Tight (Black Market Clash)

14. Pressure Drop (B-side English Civil War)

15. I Fought The Law (Cost Of Living EP)

16. Groovy Times (Cost Of Living EP)

17. Gates Of The West (Cost Of Living EP)

18. Capital Radio (Cost Of Living EP)

19. Armagideon Time

20. Bank Robber (A-side)

21. Rockers Galore On A UK Tour (B-side)

Disc Two

1. Magnificent Dance (12”) 5:36 (available on Singles box set)

2. Midnight To Stevens (Outtake)

3. Radio One (B-side Hitsville UK) (actually a Mickey Dread song)

4. Stop The World (B-side The Call Up)

5. The Cool Out (US 12” B-side of The Call Up)

6. This Is Radio Clash (A-side)

7. This Is Radio Clash (B-side 7” – different lyrics) (it’s actually called Radio Clash)

8. First Night Back In London (B-side Know Your Rights)

9. Rock The Casbah (Bob Clearmountain 12” mix)

10. Long Time Jerk (B-side Rock The Casbah)

11. The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too (Outtake)

12. Idle In Kangaroo Court (Outtake listed as Kill Time)

13. Ghetto Defendant (Extended version – unedited)

14. Cool Confusion (B-side Should I Stay Or Should I Go 7”)

15. Sean Flynn (Extended ‘Marcus Music’ version)

16. Straight To Hell (Extended unedited version from Clash On Broadway)

Disc Three

Extracts from The Clash’s first ever recording session at Beaconsfield Film School 1976. Recorded by Julien Temple

1. I’m So Bored With The USA

2. London’s Burning

3. White Riot

4. 1977

Polydor Demos – The Clash second recording session January 1977

Produced by Guy Stevens

5. Janie Jones

6. Career Opportunities

7. London’s Burning

8. 1977

9. White Riot

Live at The Lyceum, London 28th December 1979

10. City Of The Dead

11. Jail Guitar Doors

12. English Civil War

13. Stay Free

14. Cheapstakes

15. I Fought The Law


Too little, too late…The fact is there’s a whole lot more! As far as I’m concerned, that’s what is previously released that is not on Sound System:


Listen [Edit] (from Capital Radio EP, 1977)*

White Man in Hammersmith Palais (from the Rock Against Racism LP, 1978, slightly different studio version)

The Cost of Living Advert (from The Cost of Living EP, 1979)

Justice Tonight (from London Calling single, 1979)

Kick it Over (from London Calling single, 1979)

Bankrobber/Robber Dub (from Black Market Clash, 1980)

Justice Tonight/Kick it Over (from Black Market Clash, 1980)

The Magnificent Seven [Edit] (from The Magnificent Seven single, 1981)

The Magnificent Dance [Edit] (from The Magnificent Seven single, 1981)

The Magnificent Seven [12″ Mix] (from The Magnificent Seven single, 1981)

Outside Broadcast (from This is Radio Clash 12’, 1981)

Radio 5 (from This is Radio Clash 12’, 1981)

Rock the Casbah [Single Version] (from Rock the Casbash single, 1982)

Mustapha Dance (from Rock the Casbash single, 1982)

Straight to Hell [Edit] (from Should I Stay or Should I Go/Straight to Hell single, 1982)

Return to Brixton single (Return to Brixton [7″ Mix]/Return to Brixton [12″ Mix]/Return to Brixton [SW2 Dub], 1990)

One Emotion (from Clash on Broadway, 1991)

Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice) [Live] (from Clash on Broadway, 1991)

Every Little Bit Hurts (from Clash on Broadway, 1991)

Red Angel Dragnet [Edited Version (from Clash on Broadway, 1991)

Ghetto Defendant [Edited Version] (from Clash on Broadway, 1991)

Listen (from Super Black Market Clash, 1993)

Robber Dub (from Super Black Market Clash, 1993)

Blitzkrieg Bop (The Ramones) (from Rocker’s Galore promo CD, 1999)

Rock the Casbash (Rock Da Casbah 2004 Mix)

From Here to Eternity Live (1999, available on digital version of set)

The Vanilla Tapes (2004)

Live at Shea Stadium (2008, available on digital version of set)



Capitol Air (Allen Ginsberg box set Holy Soul Jelly Roll)

The Escapades of Futura 2000 single (1982)

House of the Ju-Ju Queen single (backing band as The Lash for mistress Janie Jones, 1982

House of the Ju-Ju Queen

Sex Machine (the James Brown song)

But we know this is just the tip of the iceberg. And it needs to be heard. Apart the fantastic soundboards recently emerged we will tak about in a forthcoming post, there are plenty of demos and outtakes telling a whole different (or -better- alternative) story of The Clash that will be a much more interesting addiction to their catalogue that a “king-kong cassette deck”-alike box full of useless gadgets.

What we have is mainly presented in a couple of bootlegs, D.O.A (cd1 and Cd2). and Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg. Here we go:

Mickey Foote Demos (1977)

I’m so Bored with the Usa

London’s Burning

White Riot (2 takes)

Career Opportunities


Janie Jones (instrumental

Heartbreak Hotel (takes 1-2) (from Grutzi Elvis soundtrack)

Clash City Rockers (alternate version)

Give’em Enough Rope Demos

All the Young Punks

Safe European Homes

Drug Stabbing Time

Julie’s in the Drug Squad

Stay Free

Groovy Times

Last Gang in Town

Ooh Baby ooh

One Emotion


London Calling rehersals

Mona (B. Diddley)

You can’t Judge a Book (W. Dixon)


London Calling outtakes

Revolution Rock Dub


Sandinista! Outtakes

Dirty Harry (different mix of Magnificent Seven released for NYC hip-hop radio)

Blonde Rock’n’Roll

Louie Louie

King of the Road (R. Miller)


Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg (the Mick Jones version of Combat Rock: a planned double album with a more avangarde and very different mix. Strummer and Simonon rejected the mix and handled the editing duty to Glyn Jones that heavily revised Jonesy stuff and reduced it to a single LP format. Probably the last straw that broke the Clash camel… For the whole story go to the Kris Needs account on Mojo no. 180.

The Beautiful People are Ugly

Kill Time

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Know Your Rights

Red Angel Dragnet

Ghetto Defendant

Sean Flynn

Car Jamming

Innoculated City

Death is a Star

Walk Evil Talk

Atom Tan

First Night Back in London

Cool Confusion

Straight to Hell


Combat Rock outtakes

Red Angel Dragnet (with Rankin Rogers)

Rock the Casbah (with Rankin Rogers)

Know Your Rights (alternative version)

Innoculated City (Uncensored)

Hell W10 Soundtrack (basically a silent movie shot by Strummer in the summer 1983 as the band was collapsing. Its soundtrack features different mixes and/or different takes of Combat Rock song without vocals).

Hell W10 (instrumental)

Rock the Casbah (instrumental)

Know Your Rights (instrumental)

Red Angel Dragnet (instrumental)

Overpowered by Funk (instrumental)

Ghetto Defendant 1 (instrumental)

Ghetto Defendant 2 (instrumental)

Atom Tan (instrumental)

First Night Back in London (instrumental)

Cool Confusion 1 (instrumental)

Cool Confusion 2 (instrumental)

House of the Ju-Ju Queen demo (backing band as The Lash for mistress Janie Jones, 1982)

But, there’s more. that’s what we think is likely to be found in the clash vaults if mick wasn’t so lazy… let’s go:

the clash sessions (1977)

the clash had some other songs in their repertoire by then, based loosely on who riffs (can’t explain) but i seriously doubt that they were recorded in studio:

You Know What I Think About You

I Never Did it

How can i understand the flies?

Deadly Serious

I’m So Bored With You (first version of I’m So Bored With USA)

Mark Me Absent

Sitting at my Party

Give’em enough rope sessions (1978)

There are 2 songs that were mentioned in several contemporary press reports:

Scrawl on the bathroom walls

RAF 1820 (a song about the german terrorists Rote Arme FraKtion, but it could be a working title for Tommy Gun)

London Calling Sessions (1979)

On the Vanilla Tapes (the general rehersals for London Calling materials), there are several tracks that didn’t make the final cut. By contemporary reports it seems that the only one that was actually recorded during the sessions with guy stevens was heart and mind:

Up-Toon (instrumental, working title for THE RIGHT PROFILE)


working and waiting (working title for clampdown)

Lonesome Me 

Walking The Slidewalk

Where You Gonna Go (Soweto)

The Man in Me (B. Dylan)

Heart and  Mind

Sandinista! Sessions (1980) 

Before a triple lp set, The Sandinista! sessions were held for a stream of singles to be released every month. The CBS steadily vetoed the idea. On Chris Salewicz’s Redemption Song there’s a picture of a handwritten list of the song selected for this 7′ campaign.there’s a date (end of march 1980) and a location (electric Ladyland Studios), so it’s likely they were recorded. 

clash 001

Radio W.J.UB. (probably The Magnificent Seven in its Dirty Harry configuration)

Stop the World

When it’s Over (unidentified)

Up in Heaven

Freedom Train (probably an undubbed version of Version City)

The Call Up

Get Up for the Sun (unidentified)

Police on My Back

Runnin’ (Version) (probably a dub version of Police on My Back)

One More Dub

Blonde Rock’n’Roll (surely recorded)

Junkie Slip

King of The Road (surely recorded)

J.B.; King of Soul (unidentified)

If Music Could Talk

Living in Fame -Dread-

One More Time

Combat rock Sessions (1981-82)

It seemed thatwe know all the stuff recorded , while different working mixes emerged during the years (here too) as results of endless rows inside the band, until December 2012 when Tymon Dogg released the magnificent Once You Know. May Be there’s other in the can…


Many songs (mainly covers) seems to be soundchecked or played live during the years. The main reference here is: K. Topping, The Complete Clash, 2003:

Be Bop a Lula (Vincent/Davies)

Billy (B. Dylan)

Dance Crasher (A. Ellis)

Dancing Shoes (B. Marley)

Fingernails (J. Ely)

54-46 That’s My Number (F. Hibbert)

Fujiiama Mama (W. Jackson)

The Harder They Come (J. Cliff)

Hit The Road Jack (R. Charles)

Israelites (Dekker/Kong)

Johnny Too Bad (The Slickers)

Keys to your Heart (The 101ers)

Let the Good Times Roll (L. Lee)

Liquidator (H. Johnson)

007 (Shanty Town) (D. Dekker)

Pop Goes the Weasel (Trad.)

Rabies (From the Dogs of Love) (The 101ers)

Roadrunner (The Modern Lovers)

The Train Kept a’ Rolling (J. Burnette)

Uptown Top Ranking (Forrest/Reid)

War in a Babylon (Romeo/Perry)

Your Rockin’ Mama (C. Mann)


The Clash unheard song!

in occasione del decimo anniversario della morte di joe strummer, tymon dogg ha postato su youtube un brano inedito dei clash.

Si tratta di un lungo raga  concepito durante le sessions di Combat Rock. Ci sono tutti: joe, mick, paul, topper e tymon alla voce. un brano che conferma quello che ho sempre pensato: il loro periodo più interessante è quello a cavallo tra l’estate ’81 e la primavera dell’82. in quei pochi mesi trovarono un suono che nessuno aveva udito prima: un mix tra rock, dub, funk, etno e psychedelia che da allora nessuno ha più avuto il coraggio di esplorare...


Joe Strummer

Joe Strummer. Alcuni ricordi personali.

Joe che cerca di convincere il custode del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli a lasciarlo entrare. Impossible Mission. Joe indossa una giacca da domatore di leoni e un moicano biondo…. Voleva vedere il mosaico della battaglia di Isso….

Ultimo tour italiano dei Mescaleros. Finito il concerto Joe che scavalca la transenna e viene ad abbracciarci uno ad uno, sinceramente stupito di avere ancora un pubblico, dopo tutti quegli anni.

Altri ricordi, che mi sono stati riferiti.

Joe che ascolta sdraiato sul letto per ore e ore Racing in the Street (fonte: Jesse Malin).

Joe che deve registrare con Johnny Cash. Per l’ansia decide di dormire in macchina fuori lo studio la notte prima. Dovesse arrivare in ritardo… (fonte: Rick Rubin).

Joe che scrive un lunghissimo fax a Mark Hagan, curatore di un festival inglese, raccomandandogli Bruce Springsteen. Uno dei più bei saggi sul rocker del Jersey… (fonte: Mark Hagan).

Joe che chiede un mutuo in banca per comprare la sua prima casa. Nel modulo di richiesta, alla voce “most treasured possessions” scrive: “tutti i dischi di Bo Diddley”. Il mutuo gli fu rifiutato… (fonte:  Kris Needs)

Certo, Joe Strummer era un bravo ragazzo. Però era anche qualcosa di più (vero, Blue?).

Forse il rocker più importante della sua generazione. Forse il rocker più importante per la mia generazione.

Io sono del 1966. Quando uscì London Calling avevo quattordici anni. Ascoltavo punk rock,  tutti quei bellissimi singoli… Ne uscivano due-tre alla settimana e io li ascoltavo grazie ad un’eccezionale Radio Libera napoletana, Radio Spazio Popolare. Pistols, Undertones, Only Ones, Sham 69, Lurkers, Alternative TV…

London Calling rappresentò per me (e per tanti della mia età) una giganesca porta d’accesso alla tradizione del r’n’r. Rockabilly, r’n’b, jazz anni ’40, bluebeat, ska, Spector sound diventarono materia viva e non qualcosa di vecchio (e quindi di potenzialmente ostile) di cui leggevamo sulle riviste musicali. E tutto questo sostanzialmente grazie a grandi canzoni eseguite con grandiose performances in studio da una band indiscutibilmente (inguaribilmente…) della Westway.

Senza quel disco quei generi erano morti e sepolti. Punto. Senza quel disco niente The River. Niente Alternative Country. Niente Blur. Niente Green Day.

Sandinista! fu ancora meglio. Fece intravedere il futuro e la fine del r’n’r. Un disco per coraggiosi. Ruppe l’egemonia occidentale sulla musica giovanile e la consegnò al Terzo Mondo. Lo stesso percorso che in quello stesso anno fecero, in forma molto più intellettuale e meno istintuale,  i Talking Heads e Brian Eno con Remain in Light.

Sandinista! è stato il primo disco di crossover e di world music, in un certo senso. E l’ultimo disco di r’n’r veramente innovativo.

Senza quel disco niente Rage Against The Machine. Niente Red Hot Chili Peppers. Niente Beastie Boys. Niente Graceland.

il seguito non poteva essere certo all’altezza di questi due capolavori: Combat Rock ha i suoi momenti, soprattutto nei brani più dub-funk-psichedelici. Cut the Crap non fa schifo come molti dicono ed è un disco electro-punk che negli anni ’90 sarebbe andato benone. Earthquake Weather è un ottimo disco rock nel solco di London Callling: belle canzoni (alcune struggenti) che avrebbero beneficiato di una produzione più brillante. I dischi con i Mescaleros sono molto interessanti con le loro venature etno/folk/techno/house.

Joe è mancato esattamente dieci anni fa. Lo voglio ricordare con un bel concerto al Roseland Ballroom, NYC. L’ultima notte in cui Brooklyn bruciò….

Gli ho dedicato il mio secondo libro e credo che quella dedica lo descriva ancora abbastanza bene: “A pure rocker, a true gentleman”.

More from the only band that matters: The Clash in Torino 1980

Altro video del 1980, per il quale valgono le stesse considerazioni fatte nel post precedente. L’esordio di Strummer & Co. davanti al pubblico italiano, un’audience che li amerà molto. L’audio è ottimo con Topper upfront… Dovrebbe esistere un video completo di Bologna 01.06.1980. Per ora è saltata fuori solo l’intervista con Gianni Minà.

The Clash in Paris 1980

L’inizio del 1980 non è il mio periodo preferito dei Clash live: troppo classic rock per i miei gusti, soprattutto troppi effetti sulla chitarra di Mick. Il mio periodo preferito sono i concerti dell’autunno ’81, le lunghe residency a Parigi e Londra con quel suono inedito psychedelic-punk-fu(n)k a dub con Mickey Dread at the controls, in cui venivano suonate versioni molto più dure dei brani che da lì a poco sarebbero finiti su Combat Rock in takes molto più esangui.

Il video di Parigi è però molto buono con arrangiamenti ska/bluebeat/rockabilly degli inni punk del 1977/78.