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Tempos of Clash Singles 1977-1982
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Clash singles beats per minute

Data: MeanSpeed.com

Faster and slower forms of music go in and out of fashion. The Clash make a good case study since, under the influence of the Ramones, they sped up before releasing their weirdly fast first single, then slowed down as they developed musically.

The Ramones’ first single “Blitzkrieg Bop” (1976) is usually listed as a very fast 172 beats per minute. They played even faster in concert. The Ramones did two shows in London on the Fourth of July 1976 weekend and immediately caused the nascent Sex Pistols and the Clash to speed up their tempos.

Thus the Clash’s Ramones-like first single in 1977, “White Riot,” was played at a frantic 204 BPM.

By way of contrast, here’s another hard-rocking leftist protest song, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” from 1969, which clocked in at about 133 bpm:

Over time, as the Clash learned to play their instruments better and developed an interest in a wide array of musical styles, they slowed down, although they always tended to play faster than most musicians would think ideal.

Ian Schneider’s MeanSpeed.com website lists the times of all 18 singles on the Clash’s compilation album Singles. Note that the Clash’s marketing decision making was always debateable, and a number of these tracks were curious choices to promote. In general, the Clash weren’t a great singles band: they worked fast and released an immense amount of material (about 120 tracks in these six years).

Even what’s now their signature song “London Calling” struck me back in 1980 as needing one more hook. Still, the great double album named after the song was released two days after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, which made the band’s combination of Nuclear Freeze weenie prudent politics overlying Strummer’s innate romantic Kiplingesque militarism a potent combination in that anxious hour. It’s probably not a coincidence that just about the last song Strummer released in his lifetime was a long rendition of Daniel Dravot’s song, “The Minstrel Boy,” from The Man Who Would Be King, which played over the credits of Black Hawk Down.

Their well-known last two singles “Rock the Casbah” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go” suggest what they could do when they spent some time working on singles.

Technical note: For the graph above, for the singles “Know Your Rights” and “Hitsville UK” I divided in half Schneider’s BPMs because the dominant beat (the one you’d dance to) is much slower than the hard to hear secondary beat.

Below the fold are videos of the 18 singles.



“White Riot”
a) meanspeed=203.9 beats per minute

“Remote Control”
a) meanspeed=160.0 beats per minute,

“Complete Control”
a) meanspeed=172.6 beats per minute

“Clash City Rockers”
a) meanspeed=167.2 beats per minute

“(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais”
a) meanspeed=103.2 beats per minute

Reggae

“Tommy Gun”
a) meanspeed=160.6 beats per minute,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QmQFbIbEpg

“English Civil War”
a) meanspeed=160.1 beats per minute

“I Fought The Law”
a) meanspeed=151.8 beats per minute,

The much better Bobby Fuller Four version from the mid-1960s is said to be 148.3 so The Clash didn’t speed it up too much.

“London Calling”
a) meanspeed=132.4 beats per minute

“Train In Vain”
a) meanspeed=122.6 beats per minute

That’s fast for a Motown-type song.

“Bank Robber”
a) meanspeed=70.2 beats per minute

Heavy reggae ballad. Here’s the dub version from 35 years ago.

“The Call Up”
a) meanspeed=120.2 beats per minute,

“Hitsville U.K.”
a) meanspeed=200.3 beats per minute

The main beat is probably 100.

“The Magnificent Seven”
a) meanspeed=116.7 beats per minute

Rap back when white lefties didn’t worry about cultural appropriation. Heck, that’s all the Clash did was appropriate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MugBYXxEs3k

“This Is Radio Clash”
a) meanspeed=123.0 beats per minute,

“Know Your Rights”
a) meanspeed=220.1 beats per minute

Joe talking slowly over a a weird rhythm. I don’t think anybody would dance to the 220 beat. The 110 beat is dominant. This appears to be from Steve Wozniak’s US Festival in 1983. The live version is slightly faster than the single.

“Rock The Casbah”
a) meanspeed=129.5 beats per minute

“Should I Stay Or Should I Go”
slower parts:
a) meanspeed=112.9 beats per minute,

faster parts:
a) meanspeed=225.82 beats per minute

This live version is much faster than the album.

Data: Ian Andrew Schneider
meanspeed.com

 
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  1. Politics aside, the Clash were great. Maybe not “the only band that matters,” but really great.

  2. One way to get around a need for speed is via faster harmonic rhythm. So perhaps the early punk bands made up for their more harmonically flat songs by playing at a blazing rate of speed. “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, on the other hand, could plod along at a mere 130 bpm because it has frequent chord changes. As a good illustration in that very song, think about how much faster the “I want to hold your hand” refrain sounds compared to the verse (“Oh yeah, I-I-I…”). That’s due to the refrain featuring 2 chord changes per measure vs. 1 change per measure in the refrain.

    I would say “Rock the Casbah”, while not terribly complex harmonically, features more chord changes than the earlier, faster Clash singles, which don’t seem to change chords more than once every 2 measures, if that.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @ziel

    Yeah, if you are better at harmony you tend to want to compose slower music, like Wagner's Prelude to Tristan und Isolde.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty80gJfKDlE

    , @Kathy Shaidle
    @ziel

    Rock the Casbah was written by drummer Topper Headon, so that might explain why it sticks out a bit.

  3. @ziel
    One way to get around a need for speed is via faster harmonic rhythm. So perhaps the early punk bands made up for their more harmonically flat songs by playing at a blazing rate of speed. "I Want to Hold Your Hand", on the other hand, could plod along at a mere 130 bpm because it has frequent chord changes. As a good illustration in that very song, think about how much faster the "I want to hold your hand" refrain sounds compared to the verse ("Oh yeah, I-I-I..."). That's due to the refrain featuring 2 chord changes per measure vs. 1 change per measure in the refrain.

    I would say "Rock the Casbah", while not terribly complex harmonically, features more chord changes than the earlier, faster Clash singles, which don't seem to change chords more than once every 2 measures, if that.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Kathy Shaidle

    Yeah, if you are better at harmony you tend to want to compose slower music, like Wagner’s Prelude to Tristan und Isolde.

  4. Technically, that list misses “Groovy Times” which was released as a single in the UK.

    Arguably, since “Groovy Times” was released together with “Gates of the West” as a bonus single in the U.S. version of “The Clash,” you could argue that “Gates of the West” should be on the list.

    Well ok, it shouldn’t be. I only bring that up because “Gates of the West” could be the best Clash song ever. It’s at least the best-least-known Clash song. Ok fine, “Hammersmith Palais” is the best Clash song.

    “White Riot” is a song for our times, now more than ever.

    Interestingly, nearly every band ever speeds up its songs when playing them live. Why? Discuss.

    Peterike trivia: I was at the show where the “London Calling” bass smashing photo was taken. Bow down before me, ye heathens, and despair.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @peterike

    Gates of the West:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpKWH8nXjBI

    , @Kathy Shaidle
    @peterike

    Gates of the West is a beautiful song. But I'm partial to the Jones-sung songs, being a Jew-loving Zionist shill and all. :-)

    , @slumber_j
    @peterike

    I get "Gates of the West" stuck in my head from time to time--just the other day, in fact. It always mystifies me, given that I haven't heard it in twenty-five years or so.

    And yeah: "Hammersmith Palais." So good, with the reggae beat shifting to rock opera at the climax. Which should suck, but there you are.

    Bands play faster live because it sounds more energetic. Most stuff would sound dead if they played it at the recorded speed. In the same way, actors must speed their delivery in order to inject energy into a performance, even when the mood calls for slow speech. When a roomful of people are hanging on your every word or note, they tend to get impatient.

  5. Next up, can we get beats-per-minute of all the Buzzcocks’ singles? Pre-reunion, of course.

    • Replies: @Scotty G. Vito
    @peterike

    They tended to speed it up when playing live. It wasn't even a problem of drummer's timekeeping, they just seemed as genuinely anxious as their image suggested (or perhaps eager to get the songs over with & go home)

  6. Daniel Dravot’s song is “The Son of God Goes Forth To War”
    Same tune, different lyrics.

  7. @peterike
    Technically, that list misses "Groovy Times" which was released as a single in the UK.

    Arguably, since "Groovy Times" was released together with "Gates of the West" as a bonus single in the U.S. version of "The Clash," you could argue that "Gates of the West" should be on the list.

    Well ok, it shouldn't be. I only bring that up because "Gates of the West" could be the best Clash song ever. It's at least the best-least-known Clash song. Ok fine, "Hammersmith Palais" is the best Clash song.

    "White Riot" is a song for our times, now more than ever.

    Interestingly, nearly every band ever speeds up its songs when playing them live. Why? Discuss.

    Peterike trivia: I was at the show where the "London Calling" bass smashing photo was taken. Bow down before me, ye heathens, and despair.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Kathy Shaidle, @slumber_j

    Gates of the West:

  8. “Jail Guitar Doors,” the b-side of “Clash City Rockers,” is a terrific chugging blues rocker with hilarious lyrics about real life rock stars getting locked up. Strummer brought the chorus with him from his earlier pub rock band and Jones wrote the funny lyrics about Keith Richards et al.

    • Replies: @Kevin B
    @Steve Sailer

    One of my favorite Clash songs. I used the moniker ClangClang on Lucianne's site for many years, my comments focused primarily on stopping the Bush amnesties in the early oughts. The LA Times provided daily ammunition, as they were still holding true to their rabid race-baiting format. They toned down their act years ago (probably from the realization of how counterproductive their tone was,) but back then I couldn't have asked for better documentation for my arguments.

    15 years later I'm seeing some traction with the general public on immigration but I fear things have gone too far. Which means that the demographic changes that have been made will ultimately either destroy the welfare state (a good thing IMHO) through over-extension, or the state itself (not such a good thing) through demographic warfare, and along with it, the American standard of living.

    Anyway, Complete Control was probably my favorite Clash tune as the song soars, followed by "Revolution Rock," partly cause I was a Reggae fanatic, and partly cause Joe's humor and upbeat singing always puts a smile on my face.

  9. Here’s the mid-1960’s group that was ahead of its time, and that prefigured the machine gun tempo of punk schlock:

    I have heard that outfit hammer out even faster, completely breakneck-speed renditions of that number.

    Of course the Yardbirds gave Eric Clapton his Slowhand monicker, because Clapton’s playing insistently tried to slow down, to pace the band’s frantic performances.

    • Replies: @Machetty
    @Auntie Analogue

    Clapton's acquired his nickname "slowhand" from broken guitar strings, not from his tempo.


    In Clapton - The Autobiography (2007), Eric had this to say, "On my guitar I used light-gauge guitar strings, with a very thin first string, which made it easier to bend the notes, and it was not uncommon during the most frenetic bits of playing for me to break at least one string. During the pause while I was changing my string, the frenzied audience would often break into a slow handclap, inspiring Giorgio to dream up the nickname of 'Slowhand' Clapton."
     
  10. My two favorite Clash songs were ‘Whats My Name’ and ‘Clampdown.’ Loved them both.

    A commenter to an earlier Ramones post included a link to a Ramones documentary which I watched. The band expressed their frustration at the Clash making it big imitating them (which you note). I bought my first Clash album (the eponymous album) before I purchased my first Ramones album (which quickly followed as a purchase; I also bought the first Police and a Romeo Void album in short succession). It was only later that I learned that the Clash were imitators of the Ramones. And, only watching that documentary that the scale of the imitation (White Riot) became apparent.

    Having mentioned Romeo Void, I can’t help adding a bit of iSteve-like trivia. Deborah Iyall, the lead singer of Romeo Void, is a member of the Chehalis Tribe of Indians (from Washington State), probably the only Chehalis to hit it anywhere near the bigtime in popular music. The song Never-Say-Never was great. I loved Deborah’s processed vocals (though I tend to dislike processed vocals now). Much better than many other vixens of the day.

    • Replies: @Scotty G. Vito
    @Curle

    That's interesting to learn since she did have a proto-riot grrl sound [not sure how many r's it has]. Additionally belonging to a PNW Indian tribe detracts from this formula not at all.

    , @keypusher
    @Curle

    On the other hand the Clash didn't spend the next 30 years remaking "White Riot."

  11. Speaking of uptempo 80s songs, Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo was a great song that had to have been on every youngish Southern Californian intellectual’s radar back in the day. I lived two states north but recall the song being so evocative of an exotic locale that I often found myself envying S. Californians for their ability to listen to real Mexican radio. I felt the same way listening to ZZ Top albums, craving access to a pirate radio station like the X. Funny how things that seem so common today, like access to Mexican music, seemed exotic back then.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Curle

    Is that one about

    I dreamt I was in Tijuana
    Eating barbecued iguana?

    Replies: @Curle

    , @Aaron Gross
    @Curle

    If by "the X" you mean XTRA-FM, aka 91X, it wasn't pirate, it was totally legal. I was living in North County at the time and we usually listened to 91X because the reception for KROQ wasn't good enough.

    Needless to say, 91X played "Mexican Radio" a lot. Still remember the X Fest in San Diego featuring the Ramones alog with other punk and new wave bands and also, for some unknown reason, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Maybe someone made a clerical error and got them confused with the other Heartbreakers.

    91X wasn't great but it wasn't bad, kind of a provincial version of KROQ. If you meant something other than 91x, well, "Never mind."

    Replies: @Curle

  12. Shiite!

  13. These guys were/are a peppy bunch…

    http://youtu.be/3lSJbSbYL4A

  14. Not long ago I started listening to a lot of that early punk for the first time in about thirty years or so. I was surprised that the Clash really didn’t hold up over time, in my opinion. I mentioned this to a friend of mine from those days – we used to listen to London Calling over and over back then and talk about how great it was – and he says now that he feels the same way, in retrospect the Clash and that album in particular just weren’t as great as everybody thought. I don’t expect many to agree with me, but that’s my opinion and not only mine.

    The Sex Pistols are just the opposite. Listening to Never Mind the Bollocks decades later, it’s amazing how great that album is. Everything about it, but notably Steve Jones’ guitar, which I don’t think we really appreciated back then.

    Also the Stranglers. Not a great band, but their 1970s music sounds pretty good today. Back then they were called posers and pretty much shunned by the “real” punks, partly because they could actually play their instruments. But that punk hatred of “progressive” music isn’t important today, and a lot of their 1970s songs just sound good. Better than the Doors IMO, who they’re always compared to.

    • Replies: @M.A
    @Aaron Gross

    Agreed,especially about The Sex Pistols. While I always regarded Bollocks as a great album, I have, over the years, come to value it as the greatest rock record ever made.

    Never liked The Clash and still don't.

    Never could abide The Stranglers either back then but, nowadays, can at least appreciate some of what they were attempting. Back then I did not appreciate their musicianship for example

    , @MEH 0910
    @Aaron Gross


    I mentioned this to a friend of mine from those days – we used to listen to London Calling over and over back then and talk about how great it was – and he says now that he feels the same way, in retrospect the Clash and that album in particular just weren’t as great as everybody thought. I don’t expect many to agree with me, but that’s my opinion and not only mine.
     
    You're right. I don't agree with you. The Clash were great.
  15. @Curle
    Speaking of uptempo 80s songs, Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo was a great song that had to have been on every youngish Southern Californian intellectual's radar back in the day. I lived two states north but recall the song being so evocative of an exotic locale that I often found myself envying S. Californians for their ability to listen to real Mexican radio. I felt the same way listening to ZZ Top albums, craving access to a pirate radio station like the X. Funny how things that seem so common today, like access to Mexican music, seemed exotic back then.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V04IBsz-9Wo

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Aaron Gross

    Is that one about

    I dreamt I was in Tijuana
    Eating barbecued iguana?

    • Replies: @Curle
    @Steve Sailer

    Yup. That's the one.

  16. @Steve Sailer
    @Curle

    Is that one about

    I dreamt I was in Tijuana
    Eating barbecued iguana?

    Replies: @Curle

    Yup. That’s the one.

  17. Steve I love your borderline autistic mind (don’t ever change!), but you’ve reached and breached the extent to which BPM’s can tell us anything useful about popular culture! BPM is a very crude analysis of apparent speed as it fails to take into account whether a song is double time or half time or normal time (this is dictated by the players)

    The Verse / Chorus of “Should i stay or should I go” is a prime example. While the song probably floats around the 125 to 135 bpm- mark, the verse is normal time (and therefore sounds “slow”) and the chorus is double time – the hi hats and guitars are playing at around 250 BPM (and therefore sounds fast)

    Speed is a function less of BPM and more of subdivision of it. Dubstep could just as easily be seen as a 70 BPM genre. In fact it’s probably more musically correct to lob it into the 70 BPM category as the pulse of Dub Step (the kick and the snare) is nearly always half time.

    A more interesting avenue to explore over time is loudness and repetition. Remember that episode of Breaking Bad where Jessie Pinkman is purposely playing loud, repetitive music to block out his reality – to escape. Well a lot of music over time has gotten increasingly like that. We’ve moved away from the introspection of Dark Side of the Moon to an almost 180 of that which i feel is interesting. It’s as if kids are afraid to look inwards.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Thought Police

    Right. Another thing to keep in mind is how fast is the singer enunciating words.

    Subjectively, I don't think many people would disagree that "White Riot" is overall the fastest-sounding songs. The better musicians would pick out the chorus of Should I Stay or Should I Go or the rackety beat of Know Your Rights as having secondary beats even faster than White Riot, but the overall effect is slower.

    Replies: @Thought Police

  18. @Thought Police
    Steve I love your borderline autistic mind (don't ever change!), but you've reached and breached the extent to which BPM's can tell us anything useful about popular culture! BPM is a very crude analysis of apparent speed as it fails to take into account whether a song is double time or half time or normal time (this is dictated by the players)

    The Verse / Chorus of "Should i stay or should I go" is a prime example. While the song probably floats around the 125 to 135 bpm- mark, the verse is normal time (and therefore sounds "slow") and the chorus is double time - the hi hats and guitars are playing at around 250 BPM (and therefore sounds fast)

    Speed is a function less of BPM and more of subdivision of it. Dubstep could just as easily be seen as a 70 BPM genre. In fact it's probably more musically correct to lob it into the 70 BPM category as the pulse of Dub Step (the kick and the snare) is nearly always half time.

    A more interesting avenue to explore over time is loudness and repetition. Remember that episode of Breaking Bad where Jessie Pinkman is purposely playing loud, repetitive music to block out his reality - to escape. Well a lot of music over time has gotten increasingly like that. We've moved away from the introspection of Dark Side of the Moon to an almost 180 of that which i feel is interesting. It's as if kids are afraid to look inwards.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Right. Another thing to keep in mind is how fast is the singer enunciating words.

    Subjectively, I don’t think many people would disagree that “White Riot” is overall the fastest-sounding songs. The better musicians would pick out the chorus of Should I Stay or Should I Go or the rackety beat of Know Your Rights as having secondary beats even faster than White Riot, but the overall effect is slower.

    • Replies: @Thought Police
    @Steve Sailer

    "but the overall effect is slower."

    Yeah can't disagree with you there!

  19. But you are right as a general trend – Apparent “speed” of music HAS gotten faster on average. It’s a pretty complex equation why that is and i’m not sure where the causality lies. (does culture require faster music?, or does music get faster because of culture? or both?!?) BPM (as you rightly point out is part of it) so too are, subdivisions, groove, (whether a piece is rushed or dragged – groove has gotten a lot more “on the money” since drum machines in the 80’s and that “roboticism” has infiltrated nearly every piece you hear today) compression (dynamic loudness can affect groove which affects “speed”) and of course genre all play their part.

    Each one could get a book on its own. It’s late now. I must sleep.

  20. @Steve Sailer
    @Thought Police

    Right. Another thing to keep in mind is how fast is the singer enunciating words.

    Subjectively, I don't think many people would disagree that "White Riot" is overall the fastest-sounding songs. The better musicians would pick out the chorus of Should I Stay or Should I Go or the rackety beat of Know Your Rights as having secondary beats even faster than White Riot, but the overall effect is slower.

    Replies: @Thought Police

    “but the overall effect is slower.”

    Yeah can’t disagree with you there!

  21. Burzum shows the same pattern, and ends up in a new genre.

  22. Is it just me or is this 4-quadrant surveillance of Whitney Houston’s daughter’s coma kind of overboard? Did the news nets study Twitter metrics in making this determination? I feel for the poor girl, but– what’s she done, again? Anything I’ve heard, seen, been subjected to?

    Remember for the next time a sanctimonious lib invokes “Missing White Girl Syndrome”

  23. @Curle
    My two favorite Clash songs were 'Whats My Name' and 'Clampdown.' Loved them both.

    A commenter to an earlier Ramones post included a link to a Ramones documentary which I watched. The band expressed their frustration at the Clash making it big imitating them (which you note). I bought my first Clash album (the eponymous album) before I purchased my first Ramones album (which quickly followed as a purchase; I also bought the first Police and a Romeo Void album in short succession). It was only later that I learned that the Clash were imitators of the Ramones. And, only watching that documentary that the scale of the imitation (White Riot) became apparent.

    Having mentioned Romeo Void, I can't help adding a bit of iSteve-like trivia. Deborah Iyall, the lead singer of Romeo Void, is a member of the Chehalis Tribe of Indians (from Washington State), probably the only Chehalis to hit it anywhere near the bigtime in popular music. The song Never-Say-Never was great. I loved Deborah's processed vocals (though I tend to dislike processed vocals now). Much better than many other vixens of the day.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezIa9luyF0g

    Replies: @Scotty G. Vito, @keypusher

    That’s interesting to learn since she did have a proto-riot grrl sound [not sure how many r’s it has]. Additionally belonging to a PNW Indian tribe detracts from this formula not at all.

  24. @peterike
    Next up, can we get beats-per-minute of all the Buzzcocks' singles? Pre-reunion, of course.

    Replies: @Scotty G. Vito

    They tended to speed it up when playing live. It wasn’t even a problem of drummer’s timekeeping, they just seemed as genuinely anxious as their image suggested (or perhaps eager to get the songs over with & go home)

  25. anon • Disclaimer says:

    I always thought the Clash progressed faster in their musicianship than almost anybody. Probably even the Beatles. It was so fast I always thought the only explanation for the rapid gains were that this notoriously independent group underwent some intensive in-house tutoring from some of the pro session players at the record company.

    But either way, I think one of the reasons the Clash sounded so much better at slower speeds is it is the only way mush-mouth Joe Strummer sounds even remotely human. ……………Joe Strummer’s struggles at the breadneck speed and brutally loud style of early punk only highlights what a masterful vocalist Joey Ramone was in this style. He never sounded rushed trying to keep up or stressed trying to find a way to get his lead vocals over-top the din of the band.

  26. The Clash cover of “I Fought The Law” is probably the only cover that I think is as good as, if not better than, the original Bobby Fuller Four version. More harmony and polish in the original (but wasn’t that the trend in the 60’s, at least the first half of the decade?), but more feeling from The Clash; they come right at you with the drums and power riffs. “Train in Vain”, while garnering some chart success, is underappreciated.

    While I agree that faster tempo is a kind of sleight of hand to cover technical or other artistic weaknesses, I also think its a reflection of trying to escape (outrun?) something in our modern culture.

  27. @ziel
    One way to get around a need for speed is via faster harmonic rhythm. So perhaps the early punk bands made up for their more harmonically flat songs by playing at a blazing rate of speed. "I Want to Hold Your Hand", on the other hand, could plod along at a mere 130 bpm because it has frequent chord changes. As a good illustration in that very song, think about how much faster the "I want to hold your hand" refrain sounds compared to the verse ("Oh yeah, I-I-I..."). That's due to the refrain featuring 2 chord changes per measure vs. 1 change per measure in the refrain.

    I would say "Rock the Casbah", while not terribly complex harmonically, features more chord changes than the earlier, faster Clash singles, which don't seem to change chords more than once every 2 measures, if that.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Kathy Shaidle

    Rock the Casbah was written by drummer Topper Headon, so that might explain why it sticks out a bit.

  28. @peterike
    Technically, that list misses "Groovy Times" which was released as a single in the UK.

    Arguably, since "Groovy Times" was released together with "Gates of the West" as a bonus single in the U.S. version of "The Clash," you could argue that "Gates of the West" should be on the list.

    Well ok, it shouldn't be. I only bring that up because "Gates of the West" could be the best Clash song ever. It's at least the best-least-known Clash song. Ok fine, "Hammersmith Palais" is the best Clash song.

    "White Riot" is a song for our times, now more than ever.

    Interestingly, nearly every band ever speeds up its songs when playing them live. Why? Discuss.

    Peterike trivia: I was at the show where the "London Calling" bass smashing photo was taken. Bow down before me, ye heathens, and despair.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Kathy Shaidle, @slumber_j

    Gates of the West is a beautiful song. But I’m partial to the Jones-sung songs, being a Jew-loving Zionist shill and all. 🙂

  29. @peterike
    Technically, that list misses "Groovy Times" which was released as a single in the UK.

    Arguably, since "Groovy Times" was released together with "Gates of the West" as a bonus single in the U.S. version of "The Clash," you could argue that "Gates of the West" should be on the list.

    Well ok, it shouldn't be. I only bring that up because "Gates of the West" could be the best Clash song ever. It's at least the best-least-known Clash song. Ok fine, "Hammersmith Palais" is the best Clash song.

    "White Riot" is a song for our times, now more than ever.

    Interestingly, nearly every band ever speeds up its songs when playing them live. Why? Discuss.

    Peterike trivia: I was at the show where the "London Calling" bass smashing photo was taken. Bow down before me, ye heathens, and despair.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Kathy Shaidle, @slumber_j

    I get “Gates of the West” stuck in my head from time to time–just the other day, in fact. It always mystifies me, given that I haven’t heard it in twenty-five years or so.

    And yeah: “Hammersmith Palais.” So good, with the reggae beat shifting to rock opera at the climax. Which should suck, but there you are.

    Bands play faster live because it sounds more energetic. Most stuff would sound dead if they played it at the recorded speed. In the same way, actors must speed their delivery in order to inject energy into a performance, even when the mood calls for slow speech. When a roomful of people are hanging on your every word or note, they tend to get impatient.

  30. Steve-
    How come they used to talk so fast in the 1930s and 1940s movies? The fast repartee between Abbott and Costello. James Cagney gangster movies. You have to listen closely or the dialogue will go right past you. I have not watched older movies for awhile, your knowledge is superior to mine. You being a movie buff-reviewer and all.

    How come Hispanics from some countries talk a mile a minute Spanish? Rapido! I think ones from the DR are like this. (iirc)

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
    @Clyde

    "How come they used to talk so fast in the 1930s and 1940s movies?"

    These days, children's movies--usually animated--have super-fast nonstop banter.

  31. @Aaron Gross
    Not long ago I started listening to a lot of that early punk for the first time in about thirty years or so. I was surprised that the Clash really didn't hold up over time, in my opinion. I mentioned this to a friend of mine from those days - we used to listen to London Calling over and over back then and talk about how great it was - and he says now that he feels the same way, in retrospect the Clash and that album in particular just weren't as great as everybody thought. I don't expect many to agree with me, but that's my opinion and not only mine.

    The Sex Pistols are just the opposite. Listening to Never Mind the Bollocks decades later, it's amazing how great that album is. Everything about it, but notably Steve Jones' guitar, which I don't think we really appreciated back then.

    Also the Stranglers. Not a great band, but their 1970s music sounds pretty good today. Back then they were called posers and pretty much shunned by the "real" punks, partly because they could actually play their instruments. But that punk hatred of "progressive" music isn't important today, and a lot of their 1970s songs just sound good. Better than the Doors IMO, who they're always compared to.

    Replies: @M.A, @MEH 0910

    Agreed,especially about The Sex Pistols. While I always regarded Bollocks as a great album, I have, over the years, come to value it as the greatest rock record ever made.

    Never liked The Clash and still don’t.

    Never could abide The Stranglers either back then but, nowadays, can at least appreciate some of what they were attempting. Back then I did not appreciate their musicianship for example

  32. @Aaron Gross
    Not long ago I started listening to a lot of that early punk for the first time in about thirty years or so. I was surprised that the Clash really didn't hold up over time, in my opinion. I mentioned this to a friend of mine from those days - we used to listen to London Calling over and over back then and talk about how great it was - and he says now that he feels the same way, in retrospect the Clash and that album in particular just weren't as great as everybody thought. I don't expect many to agree with me, but that's my opinion and not only mine.

    The Sex Pistols are just the opposite. Listening to Never Mind the Bollocks decades later, it's amazing how great that album is. Everything about it, but notably Steve Jones' guitar, which I don't think we really appreciated back then.

    Also the Stranglers. Not a great band, but their 1970s music sounds pretty good today. Back then they were called posers and pretty much shunned by the "real" punks, partly because they could actually play their instruments. But that punk hatred of "progressive" music isn't important today, and a lot of their 1970s songs just sound good. Better than the Doors IMO, who they're always compared to.

    Replies: @M.A, @MEH 0910

    I mentioned this to a friend of mine from those days – we used to listen to London Calling over and over back then and talk about how great it was – and he says now that he feels the same way, in retrospect the Clash and that album in particular just weren’t as great as everybody thought. I don’t expect many to agree with me, but that’s my opinion and not only mine.

    You’re right. I don’t agree with you. The Clash were great.

  33. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    Any “Big Country” Fans out there?…Stuart Adamson…really tragic……

  34. “(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais”
    a) meanspeed=103.2 beats per minute

    This is not only my favorite Clash song ever, but also my favorite Reggae song. (Yay cultural appropriation!)

    That said…. 103.2 bpm?!? Numbers don’t lie, but for some reason it just doesn’t sound slow. 2:54-3:30 (“All over people changing their vote….”) kicks more ass than most lesser punk bands’ entire catalogs. The lyrics are phenomenal, too.

    I still can’t believe there isn’t a Clash tribute band called the “Drug Prowlin’ Wolves”. Anybody wanna start one? I’ll play bass, Steve-O’s a natural front man, we just need a couple guitarists and a drummer. Maybe we can play the next AmRen Conference mixer.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Gunnar von Cowtown

    "103.2"

    Slow for the Clash is different from slow for anybody else. For example, the main beat in Bobby Darin's Mack the Knife is 78 bpm.

  35. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    On a Sunday afternoon in late August during soundcheck in Hecksher Park, Leo Moran told me that the Saw Doctors….The Clash….and The Pogues..were all suppose to go on tour together…very serious plans for the tour were being made. Joe Strummer’s death put an end to this roots rockers magical tour. Can you freaking imagine a Saw Doctors…Clash…Pogues…Tour!!!!..Pogue Mahon!!!!!…and if they brought along Stiff Little Fingers to top it all off!!!!…Pogue Mahon!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. When our host mentioned that he was planning this post, I had a pretty strong feeling that it would be discussing the Clash. I always enjoyed their music, particularly watching the way it evolved over time and became not only technically more proficient but much more complex and adventurous. And I think Mick Jones with Big Audio Dynamite was fairly prescient about where pop music was going, although I lost interest after the first couple of albums.

  37. How can y’all listen to this crap? This is a white American culture of appreciation that is worth saving from… slower or faster tempos of savagery? I’d like to hear something about the Schubert Quintet, or the Brahms quartet op. 60, to which we listened tonight on the drive back home after dinner. Snobbery really is one of Europe’s advantages.

  38. Portlandia, pre-school PTA meeting, about the records the kids should have in their library at school. Some Clash/Ramones humor:

  39. Steve–a propos your recent music posts, your Broadway posts and your post about the eternal struggle against 1955, you might consider looking into Bob Dylan’s newest album, Shadows in the Night. It’s a collection of ten pop standards from the 20s through the 50s (all of which were recorded by Frank Sinatra at some point), sung with great affection and without a trace of irony or smugness. “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific is on there, and it’s one of the highlights. For all his reputation as a left-wing spokesman–a reputation that Dylan has been trying to shed since about 1964–the man really seems to pine for the America of 1955. To paraphrase one review of Dylan’s 2003 memoir, Chronicles (a book in which he mentions his gun collection and professes a fondness for Barry Goldwater), it’s almost as if Bob mourns the old U.S.A. that his generation helped to destroy.

    You should also check out the interview that Dylan gave for the new album–to AARP The Magazine. He says some pretty reactionary stuff in there.

    http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/style-trends/info-2015/bob-dylan-aarp-the-magazine-full-interview.1.html

  40. This is great. I want to see Steve get into classic American hardcore.

  41. Not sure about BPM but this is a classic fast song:

  42. @Auntie Analogue
    Here's the mid-1960's group that was ahead of its time, and that prefigured the machine gun tempo of punk schlock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KcdZFJ-FRk

    I have heard that outfit hammer out even faster, completely breakneck-speed renditions of that number.

    Of course the Yardbirds gave Eric Clapton his Slowhand monicker, because Clapton's playing insistently tried to slow down, to pace the band's frantic performances.

    Replies: @Machetty

    Clapton’s acquired his nickname “slowhand” from broken guitar strings, not from his tempo.

    In Clapton – The Autobiography (2007), Eric had this to say, “On my guitar I used light-gauge guitar strings, with a very thin first string, which made it easier to bend the notes, and it was not uncommon during the most frenetic bits of playing for me to break at least one string. During the pause while I was changing my string, the frenzied audience would often break into a slow handclap, inspiring Giorgio to dream up the nickname of ‘Slowhand’ Clapton.”

  43. The politics of 70s rock are quite interesting.

    Punk started out as a leftist egalitarian reaction to elitist progressive rock, yet at the same time had some politically incorrect macho aspects. For example The Stranglers weren’t afraid to be seen as sexist and a lot or right-wingers liked their quasi-fascist/Europhile aesthetics, while The Ramones were quite happy to offend conventional left-wing sensibilities.

    At the same time, right-liberal progressive rock musicians and fans saw punks as amateurish posers who can’t play their instruments and pretend to come from working-class backgrounds. Rick Wakeman of Yes for example, who’s an obvious Thatcher supporter, wanted The Sex Pistols banned from playing on UK TV.

    There was also the class divide between progressive rock and metal, with guys like Ozzie Osbourne making fun of the nerdiness and anti-hedonism of groups like Yes.

    However, now that rock music has no mainstream presence, the various ideological differences between aggressive forms of rock music have largely disappeared, and the typical rock fan is usually some middle-class website designer listening to a hybrid band like Tool or Muse.

    • Replies: @Dahlia
    @unpc downunder

    I'd love for Steve to explore if he could, or give his thoughts in a future post, what his opinions are on progressive rock and especially the people who like it. That 1979 article was the only time I remember seeing it referenced.
    Dave Weigel is working on, or perhaps it is finished now, a book about it.
    Personally, I don't see the appeal at all (mind you I don't hate it) and marvel at how it can move another so profoundly (as it does my DH); its a mind completely different from my own that i find amazing.

    Replies: @unpc downunder

    , @Curle
    @unpc downunder

    "Punk started out as a leftist egalitarian reaction . . ." -------------------------------

    Punk started out with some quite distinct right wing roots, which is perhaps why the Left wing press promoted the Left-wingers in the crowd, the Clash and Dead Kennedys, and ignored the right wingers like Fear.

    The Ramones had a right-wing vibe. Johnny Ramone, the band leader, was a self-professed conservative.

    The Stooges, a prot0-punk group, were apolitical. The Modern Lovers, another prot0-punk, band were overtly trying to piss off hippies.

    Then there was Fear. This is not the sound of Leftism:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJAlIHsXcLY

    Replies: @Aaron Gross, @unpc downunder

    , @Kathy Shaidle
    @unpc downunder

    I always got a kick out of the “can’t play their instruments” jibe when it came from “musicians” who had The Wrecking Crew record most of their parts on albums.

  44. I don’t know if the gradual slowing of the tempo of the Clash’s singles over time necessarily tells one anything about the changing mood of the outside culture. Actually, I think it may just be indicative of a general tendency on the part of most bands that the tempos of their songs become slower over time, as their careers progress.

  45. @Gunnar von Cowtown

    “(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais”
    a) meanspeed=103.2 beats per minute
     
    This is not only my favorite Clash song ever, but also my favorite Reggae song. (Yay cultural appropriation!)

    That said.... 103.2 bpm?!? Numbers don't lie, but for some reason it just doesn't sound slow. 2:54-3:30 ("All over people changing their vote....") kicks more ass than most lesser punk bands' entire catalogs. The lyrics are phenomenal, too.

    I still can't believe there isn't a Clash tribute band called the "Drug Prowlin' Wolves". Anybody wanna start one? I'll play bass, Steve-O's a natural front man, we just need a couple guitarists and a drummer. Maybe we can play the next AmRen Conference mixer.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    “103.2”

    Slow for the Clash is different from slow for anybody else. For example, the main beat in Bobby Darin’s Mack the Knife is 78 bpm.

  46. Priss Factor [AKA "K. Arujo"] says:

    Punk culture sucks because it’s anti-freedom.

    Being free means to be angry sometimes, happy sometimes, gentle sometimes, nasty sometimes, kind sometimes, aggressive sometimes, peaceable sometimes.
    And 60s Rock was like this. Dylan could be biting, romantic, funny, light, heavy, etc.

    Punk demands that one must be angry or nasty all the time. That’s not freedom. It’s a decree or decreedom.

  47. @Steve Sailer
    "Jail Guitar Doors," the b-side of "Clash City Rockers," is a terrific chugging blues rocker with hilarious lyrics about real life rock stars getting locked up. Strummer brought the chorus with him from his earlier pub rock band and Jones wrote the funny lyrics about Keith Richards et al.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiwFOTC71Ag

    Replies: @Kevin B

    One of my favorite Clash songs. I used the moniker ClangClang on Lucianne’s site for many years, my comments focused primarily on stopping the Bush amnesties in the early oughts. The LA Times provided daily ammunition, as they were still holding true to their rabid race-baiting format. They toned down their act years ago (probably from the realization of how counterproductive their tone was,) but back then I couldn’t have asked for better documentation for my arguments.

    15 years later I’m seeing some traction with the general public on immigration but I fear things have gone too far. Which means that the demographic changes that have been made will ultimately either destroy the welfare state (a good thing IMHO) through over-extension, or the state itself (not such a good thing) through demographic warfare, and along with it, the American standard of living.

    Anyway, Complete Control was probably my favorite Clash tune as the song soars, followed by “Revolution Rock,” partly cause I was a Reggae fanatic, and partly cause Joe’s humor and upbeat singing always puts a smile on my face.

  48. @Clyde
    Steve-
    How come they used to talk so fast in the 1930s and 1940s movies? The fast repartee between Abbott and Costello. James Cagney gangster movies. You have to listen closely or the dialogue will go right past you. I have not watched older movies for awhile, your knowledge is superior to mine. You being a movie buff-reviewer and all.

    How come Hispanics from some countries talk a mile a minute Spanish? Rapido! I think ones from the DR are like this. (iirc)

    Replies: @Priss Factor

    “How come they used to talk so fast in the 1930s and 1940s movies?”

    These days, children’s movies–usually animated–have super-fast nonstop banter.

  49. As for tempo, when you listen to Flatt and Scruggs recordings, some of their early songs from the late 40s early 50s like “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” are pushing past 200 beats a minute, careening and wild, while later recordings in the sixties are probably averaging around 150 beats. The 60s album “Foggy Mountain Banjo” is a good example where Scruggs Banjo is fully under control. So the slowing of tempo may occur naturally as a byproduct of aging. And the amphetamine fueled Clash aged rapidly, with Joe dying of a heart attack at 50.

  50. Dahlia says:
    @unpc downunder
    The politics of 70s rock are quite interesting.

    Punk started out as a leftist egalitarian reaction to elitist progressive rock, yet at the same time had some politically incorrect macho aspects. For example The Stranglers weren't afraid to be seen as sexist and a lot or right-wingers liked their quasi-fascist/Europhile aesthetics, while The Ramones were quite happy to offend conventional left-wing sensibilities.

    At the same time, right-liberal progressive rock musicians and fans saw punks as amateurish posers who can't play their instruments and pretend to come from working-class backgrounds. Rick Wakeman of Yes for example, who's an obvious Thatcher supporter, wanted The Sex Pistols banned from playing on UK TV.

    There was also the class divide between progressive rock and metal, with guys like Ozzie Osbourne making fun of the nerdiness and anti-hedonism of groups like Yes.

    However, now that rock music has no mainstream presence, the various ideological differences between aggressive forms of rock music have largely disappeared, and the typical rock fan is usually some middle-class website designer listening to a hybrid band like Tool or Muse.

    Replies: @Dahlia, @Curle, @Kathy Shaidle

    I’d love for Steve to explore if he could, or give his thoughts in a future post, what his opinions are on progressive rock and especially the people who like it. That 1979 article was the only time I remember seeing it referenced.
    Dave Weigel is working on, or perhaps it is finished now, a book about it.
    Personally, I don’t see the appeal at all (mind you I don’t hate it) and marvel at how it can move another so profoundly (as it does my DH); its a mind completely different from my own that i find amazing.

    • Replies: @unpc downunder
    @Dahlia

    I like prog rock to the extent that I have a soft spot for music that's dark and edgy but melodic sounding but I can understand why a lot of people don't like it. Much of it is too long-winded and overblown, and the rustic/fantasy vibe of a lot of it doesn't help much either.

    Interestingly, the country where prog rock has the biggest appeal is Italy, where early Genesis were apparently bigger than the Beatles. However, Italians are also pretty big on punk too. For example, Italian probably has more nationalist skin head bands than any other country, and the leader of the Casapound youth movement is a punk rock vocalist.

    Replies: @Dahlia, @Dahlia

  51. War for Blair Mountain [AKA "Bill Blizzard and his Men"] says:

    Since we are in The Realm of The Clash….Joe Strummer’s Earthquake Weather band was all Jewish(bass player was a mulato Jew)…

    Someone has put up a video of Pearl E Gates doing a weekend gig at a Roller Derby Arena in LA belting…out-in a much deeper voice …Fujiama Moma…she looks like the character from Second City Television..the one with the cheap fake lepard ski hat and jacket… Pearl E Gates( Tooper Headron introduced her during the 1982 Clash Concert in Tokyo:”You remember Pearl Harbor right?..to the cheers of the Japanese Teenagers) looked pretty dam hot on stage during the 1982 Tokyo Concert belting out “White Riot” and “Police on my back”.

    • Replies: @Kathy Shaidle
    @War for Blair Mountain

    Pearl was married to Clash bassist Paul Simonon, arguably the best looking musician of the era.

    Seen here not quite believing her luck

    http://b-log.spreadyourlove.net/k-a-t-i-e-paul-simonon-and-pearl-harbour-backstage-at/

  52. @Dahlia
    @unpc downunder

    I'd love for Steve to explore if he could, or give his thoughts in a future post, what his opinions are on progressive rock and especially the people who like it. That 1979 article was the only time I remember seeing it referenced.
    Dave Weigel is working on, or perhaps it is finished now, a book about it.
    Personally, I don't see the appeal at all (mind you I don't hate it) and marvel at how it can move another so profoundly (as it does my DH); its a mind completely different from my own that i find amazing.

    Replies: @unpc downunder

    I like prog rock to the extent that I have a soft spot for music that’s dark and edgy but melodic sounding but I can understand why a lot of people don’t like it. Much of it is too long-winded and overblown, and the rustic/fantasy vibe of a lot of it doesn’t help much either.

    Interestingly, the country where prog rock has the biggest appeal is Italy, where early Genesis were apparently bigger than the Beatles. However, Italians are also pretty big on punk too. For example, Italian probably has more nationalist skin head bands than any other country, and the leader of the Casapound youth movement is a punk rock vocalist.

    • Replies: @Dahlia
    @unpc downunder

    Yeah, that rustic/fantasy vibe...hoo boy! Just makes me think of the Renaissance festivals nowadays.
    My husband told me the same thing about Italy. Would never have guessed.

    , @Dahlia
    @unpc downunder

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/carrie-underwood-releases-complex-multipart-prog-r,33847/

    The picture in this onion article says it all.

    Another good one, Yes lyrics being added to the New Testament:
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/yes-lyrics-to-be-added-to-new-testament,966/

  53. http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/prog_spring.html
    “Prog Spring”, a four part series, the definitive article on progressive rock and its fans by Dave Weigel.
    Sailerites, whether you like this music or not, will find this interesting, I think, as Weigel is pretty perceptive and observant of people while being an ardent fan.

  54. • Replies: @unpc downunder
    @Dahlia

    Rick Wakeman's Litzmania sound's like something sounds like something Alternative Right's Andy Nowicki might produce if he took too much acid.

  55. @Curle
    My two favorite Clash songs were 'Whats My Name' and 'Clampdown.' Loved them both.

    A commenter to an earlier Ramones post included a link to a Ramones documentary which I watched. The band expressed their frustration at the Clash making it big imitating them (which you note). I bought my first Clash album (the eponymous album) before I purchased my first Ramones album (which quickly followed as a purchase; I also bought the first Police and a Romeo Void album in short succession). It was only later that I learned that the Clash were imitators of the Ramones. And, only watching that documentary that the scale of the imitation (White Riot) became apparent.

    Having mentioned Romeo Void, I can't help adding a bit of iSteve-like trivia. Deborah Iyall, the lead singer of Romeo Void, is a member of the Chehalis Tribe of Indians (from Washington State), probably the only Chehalis to hit it anywhere near the bigtime in popular music. The song Never-Say-Never was great. I loved Deborah's processed vocals (though I tend to dislike processed vocals now). Much better than many other vixens of the day.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezIa9luyF0g

    Replies: @Scotty G. Vito, @keypusher

    On the other hand the Clash didn’t spend the next 30 years remaking “White Riot.”

  56. “in retrospect the Clash and that album in particular just weren’t as great as everybody thought. ”

    It’s a half-full / half-empty situation. If people call London Calling the best album of whichever decade it’s attributed to, then questions like these are relevant:

    – Would it hurt if either (or even, heavens, both) singers were better at singing?

    – Mick Jones guitar tone fits his vocal tone, but see above.

    – Is it wise to hire a nonmusician to play bass based on his looks? (Granted, it worked better than with Sid Vicious.)

    That said, the first 13 tracks and the last 2 are pretty great.

  57. @unpc downunder
    The politics of 70s rock are quite interesting.

    Punk started out as a leftist egalitarian reaction to elitist progressive rock, yet at the same time had some politically incorrect macho aspects. For example The Stranglers weren't afraid to be seen as sexist and a lot or right-wingers liked their quasi-fascist/Europhile aesthetics, while The Ramones were quite happy to offend conventional left-wing sensibilities.

    At the same time, right-liberal progressive rock musicians and fans saw punks as amateurish posers who can't play their instruments and pretend to come from working-class backgrounds. Rick Wakeman of Yes for example, who's an obvious Thatcher supporter, wanted The Sex Pistols banned from playing on UK TV.

    There was also the class divide between progressive rock and metal, with guys like Ozzie Osbourne making fun of the nerdiness and anti-hedonism of groups like Yes.

    However, now that rock music has no mainstream presence, the various ideological differences between aggressive forms of rock music have largely disappeared, and the typical rock fan is usually some middle-class website designer listening to a hybrid band like Tool or Muse.

    Replies: @Dahlia, @Curle, @Kathy Shaidle

    “Punk started out as a leftist egalitarian reaction . . .” ——————————-

    Punk started out with some quite distinct right wing roots, which is perhaps why the Left wing press promoted the Left-wingers in the crowd, the Clash and Dead Kennedys, and ignored the right wingers like Fear.

    The Ramones had a right-wing vibe. Johnny Ramone, the band leader, was a self-professed conservative.

    The Stooges, a prot0-punk group, were apolitical. The Modern Lovers, another prot0-punk, band were overtly trying to piss off hippies.

    Then there was Fear. This is not the sound of Leftism:

    • Replies: @Aaron Gross
    @Curle

    The Ramones had both a right-wing vibe (Johnny) and a liberal, as opposed to left-wing, vibe (Joey and Dee Dee, who between them wrote most of the songs). Johnny may have called himself a conservative, but I don't think the label fits at all. He was more of a Republican party reptile or (anachronistically) a South Park Republican. He was an individualist, not a conservative. Didn't Trey Parker say, "I hate conservatives, but I really hate liberals"? I think that describes a lot of '70s punks.

    The Modern Lovers weren't just trying to piss off hippies, they were explicitly conservative. Actually, they were explicit about everything they were, like modernist. "Old World" is a great song. So was "Someone I Care About".

    Replies: @Kathy Shaidle, @Kathy Shaidle

    , @unpc downunder
    @Curle

    I guess this depends on whether you regard punk as a British or American invention, and what you mean by right and left wing.

    I tend to think of punks as socialists or nationalists (left wing on economic issues, mixed on social issues) and prog rockers as tending to be libertarians, although Pink Floyd were obviously on the left.

    The Sex Pistols were the first popular British punk band, and they were a mostly leftist reaction to the musical elitism of Pink Floyd, Yes etc. Singer John Lydon ironically took his inspiration from British prog rock vocalist Peter Hamill - who has a very intense raspy voice.

    I don't have much knowledge of early US punk bands although I'm told the gender-bending New York Dolls were early pioneers, who I doubt were very right-wing. My impression was working class nationalists (in the US and Europe) got into punk later on because they liked the aggressive and industrial sounding aspect of it.

    Replies: @Curle

  58. @unpc downunder
    @Dahlia

    I like prog rock to the extent that I have a soft spot for music that's dark and edgy but melodic sounding but I can understand why a lot of people don't like it. Much of it is too long-winded and overblown, and the rustic/fantasy vibe of a lot of it doesn't help much either.

    Interestingly, the country where prog rock has the biggest appeal is Italy, where early Genesis were apparently bigger than the Beatles. However, Italians are also pretty big on punk too. For example, Italian probably has more nationalist skin head bands than any other country, and the leader of the Casapound youth movement is a punk rock vocalist.

    Replies: @Dahlia, @Dahlia

    Yeah, that rustic/fantasy vibe…hoo boy! Just makes me think of the Renaissance festivals nowadays.
    My husband told me the same thing about Italy. Would never have guessed.

  59. @Dahlia
    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/prog_spring/features/2012/prog_rock/history_of_prog_the_nice_emerson_lake_palmer_and_other_bands_of_the_1970s_.html


    This link is to the first article in the series, start here.

    Replies: @unpc downunder

    Rick Wakeman’s Litzmania sound’s like something sounds like something Alternative Right’s Andy Nowicki might produce if he took too much acid.

  60. @unpc downunder
    @Dahlia

    I like prog rock to the extent that I have a soft spot for music that's dark and edgy but melodic sounding but I can understand why a lot of people don't like it. Much of it is too long-winded and overblown, and the rustic/fantasy vibe of a lot of it doesn't help much either.

    Interestingly, the country where prog rock has the biggest appeal is Italy, where early Genesis were apparently bigger than the Beatles. However, Italians are also pretty big on punk too. For example, Italian probably has more nationalist skin head bands than any other country, and the leader of the Casapound youth movement is a punk rock vocalist.

    Replies: @Dahlia, @Dahlia

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/carrie-underwood-releases-complex-multipart-prog-r,33847/

    The picture in this onion article says it all.

    Another good one, Yes lyrics being added to the New Testament:
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/yes-lyrics-to-be-added-to-new-testament,966/

  61. The Clash rocks – we really do need a riot of our own on the road to Ragnarok.

    With regards to another punk band that has been the focus of such scrutiny in the iSteve-o-sphere in these last few days – when I was young I wrote and performed the song below with my old band. It would get people jumping up and down.

    A – Cm – A – B – E /B

    Punk rock came and went
    disco sank like a stone
    in the end you could always pay the rent
    Goodbye, Joey Ramone
    Go0 – oo — ood – bye

    In a world so damn inane
    your songs always made me feel sane
    It may not have been a Wonderful World
    but it was a wonderful life

    Goodbye to Judy
    and all the punks
    Goodbye to Rockaway Beach
    You made it to the End of the Century
    and you know it was hard to reach

    Well, I know you’re up in heaven now
    Doing the Bird and showing Jesus how
    Go0 – oo — ood – bye – Joey Ramone

    P.S.

    If anyone decides to steal the song, well, I am pretty much the GenX version of Mike Douglas in “Falling Down” so just, you know, keep that in mind.

  62. @Curle
    @unpc downunder

    "Punk started out as a leftist egalitarian reaction . . ." -------------------------------

    Punk started out with some quite distinct right wing roots, which is perhaps why the Left wing press promoted the Left-wingers in the crowd, the Clash and Dead Kennedys, and ignored the right wingers like Fear.

    The Ramones had a right-wing vibe. Johnny Ramone, the band leader, was a self-professed conservative.

    The Stooges, a prot0-punk group, were apolitical. The Modern Lovers, another prot0-punk, band were overtly trying to piss off hippies.

    Then there was Fear. This is not the sound of Leftism:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJAlIHsXcLY

    Replies: @Aaron Gross, @unpc downunder

    The Ramones had both a right-wing vibe (Johnny) and a liberal, as opposed to left-wing, vibe (Joey and Dee Dee, who between them wrote most of the songs). Johnny may have called himself a conservative, but I don’t think the label fits at all. He was more of a Republican party reptile or (anachronistically) a South Park Republican. He was an individualist, not a conservative. Didn’t Trey Parker say, “I hate conservatives, but I really hate liberals”? I think that describes a lot of ’70s punks.

    The Modern Lovers weren’t just trying to piss off hippies, they were explicitly conservative. Actually, they were explicit about everything they were, like modernist. “Old World” is a great song. So was “Someone I Care About”.

    • Replies: @Kathy Shaidle
    @Aaron Gross

    Marky says he loves Obama though, so…

    http://www.newsmax.com/Newsmax-Tv/Ramones-Marky-Ramone-band-political/2015/01/16/id/619121/

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/doug-elfman/marky-ramone-conservatives-had-no-place-ramones-shows

    , @Kathy Shaidle
    @Aaron Gross

    Oh and Richie’s as bad:

    http://www.furious.com/perfect/richieramone.html

    "Yeah, I'm a Democrat. I think that the current Obama administration is fabulous. He's done a lot of wonderful things. You can pick him apart for this and that but he got handed a real mess and we're surviving. He brought us this wonderful healthcare; it's really good right now."

  63. Rock n’roll music started going downhill and becoming less popular in the mainstream around the same time that gangsta rap like N.W.A and Death Row Records started blowing up.

    Who are this generation’s version of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Guns N’Roses ? There aren’t any. Mainstream American music today is all either Hip Hop or Pop.

    I think America’s changing racial demographics definitely has something to do with the decline in popularity of rock n’roll music in the U.S. Not many Vibrantly Diverse people like rock n’roll music.

  64. @Curle
    Speaking of uptempo 80s songs, Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo was a great song that had to have been on every youngish Southern Californian intellectual's radar back in the day. I lived two states north but recall the song being so evocative of an exotic locale that I often found myself envying S. Californians for their ability to listen to real Mexican radio. I felt the same way listening to ZZ Top albums, craving access to a pirate radio station like the X. Funny how things that seem so common today, like access to Mexican music, seemed exotic back then.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V04IBsz-9Wo

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Aaron Gross

    If by “the X” you mean XTRA-FM, aka 91X, it wasn’t pirate, it was totally legal. I was living in North County at the time and we usually listened to 91X because the reception for KROQ wasn’t good enough.

    Needless to say, 91X played “Mexican Radio” a lot. Still remember the X Fest in San Diego featuring the Ramones alog with other punk and new wave bands and also, for some unknown reason, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Maybe someone made a clerical error and got them confused with the other Heartbreakers.

    91X wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad, kind of a provincial version of KROQ. If you meant something other than 91x, well, “Never mind.”

    • Replies: @Curle
    @Aaron Gross

    Aaron,

    I always took this line from 'Heard it on the X' by ZZ Top to refer to a pirate radio station. Perhaps I was wrong.

    Oh, from coast to coast and line to line
    in every county there,
    I'm talkin' 'bout that outlaw X
    is cuttin' through the air.

    Back in the 80s Seattle also had a radio station called the X and they played the ZZ Top song frequently to increase the association, but I think that was all marketing. That station, KXRX, came several years after the song.

  65. @unpc downunder
    The politics of 70s rock are quite interesting.

    Punk started out as a leftist egalitarian reaction to elitist progressive rock, yet at the same time had some politically incorrect macho aspects. For example The Stranglers weren't afraid to be seen as sexist and a lot or right-wingers liked their quasi-fascist/Europhile aesthetics, while The Ramones were quite happy to offend conventional left-wing sensibilities.

    At the same time, right-liberal progressive rock musicians and fans saw punks as amateurish posers who can't play their instruments and pretend to come from working-class backgrounds. Rick Wakeman of Yes for example, who's an obvious Thatcher supporter, wanted The Sex Pistols banned from playing on UK TV.

    There was also the class divide between progressive rock and metal, with guys like Ozzie Osbourne making fun of the nerdiness and anti-hedonism of groups like Yes.

    However, now that rock music has no mainstream presence, the various ideological differences between aggressive forms of rock music have largely disappeared, and the typical rock fan is usually some middle-class website designer listening to a hybrid band like Tool or Muse.

    Replies: @Dahlia, @Curle, @Kathy Shaidle

    I always got a kick out of the “can’t play their instruments” jibe when it came from “musicians” who had The Wrecking Crew record most of their parts on albums.

  66. @Aaron Gross
    @Curle

    The Ramones had both a right-wing vibe (Johnny) and a liberal, as opposed to left-wing, vibe (Joey and Dee Dee, who between them wrote most of the songs). Johnny may have called himself a conservative, but I don't think the label fits at all. He was more of a Republican party reptile or (anachronistically) a South Park Republican. He was an individualist, not a conservative. Didn't Trey Parker say, "I hate conservatives, but I really hate liberals"? I think that describes a lot of '70s punks.

    The Modern Lovers weren't just trying to piss off hippies, they were explicitly conservative. Actually, they were explicit about everything they were, like modernist. "Old World" is a great song. So was "Someone I Care About".

    Replies: @Kathy Shaidle, @Kathy Shaidle

  67. Curle says: Punk started out with some quite distinct right wing roots, which is perhaps why the Left wing press promoted the Left-wingers in the crowd, the Clash and Dead Kennedys….

    That’s probably what I miss most about early hardcore punk; you were supposed to cast a wide net when it came to being offensive. Even though Jello Biafra was a leftist, and eventually became a shill for the Green party, he was a hilarious political satirist. The Dead Kennedys skewered Jerry Brown just as mercilessly as they did Ronald Reagan, and they took plenty of shots at hippies.

    Speaking of which, it can’t be long before some perpetually-aggrieved SJW takes Jello Biafra to task for using the n-word in several songs 30 years ago.

  68. Just for the record: If you want fast, try Accept’s “Fast as a Shark”.

  69. @Curle
    @unpc downunder

    "Punk started out as a leftist egalitarian reaction . . ." -------------------------------

    Punk started out with some quite distinct right wing roots, which is perhaps why the Left wing press promoted the Left-wingers in the crowd, the Clash and Dead Kennedys, and ignored the right wingers like Fear.

    The Ramones had a right-wing vibe. Johnny Ramone, the band leader, was a self-professed conservative.

    The Stooges, a prot0-punk group, were apolitical. The Modern Lovers, another prot0-punk, band were overtly trying to piss off hippies.

    Then there was Fear. This is not the sound of Leftism:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJAlIHsXcLY

    Replies: @Aaron Gross, @unpc downunder

    I guess this depends on whether you regard punk as a British or American invention, and what you mean by right and left wing.

    I tend to think of punks as socialists or nationalists (left wing on economic issues, mixed on social issues) and prog rockers as tending to be libertarians, although Pink Floyd were obviously on the left.

    The Sex Pistols were the first popular British punk band, and they were a mostly leftist reaction to the musical elitism of Pink Floyd, Yes etc. Singer John Lydon ironically took his inspiration from British prog rock vocalist Peter Hamill – who has a very intense raspy voice.

    I don’t have much knowledge of early US punk bands although I’m told the gender-bending New York Dolls were early pioneers, who I doubt were very right-wing. My impression was working class nationalists (in the US and Europe) got into punk later on because they liked the aggressive and industrial sounding aspect of it.

    • Replies: @Curle
    @unpc downunder

    When I think of punk rock's origins I never think of British bands except for the Who, because to me, punk was developed in the US in the 70s. Sure the British bands appropriated the sound and perfected it, but at the end of the day I think it has to be seen as an American invention. So, when I think of punk's roots I think of the following bands:

    The MC5. Lefties.
    The Stooges. Apolitical.
    The Modern Lovers. Anti-hippie.
    The Dictators. Smart Asses on steroids. (See tongue in cheek song Master Race rock). circa '73.
    The Ramones. Right-wing overtones (at least at first).
    The Seeds. Sixties California weirdo garage band.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfDoUIh23Wg



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuKd65C6jvU

    Replies: @Aaron Gross, @Aaron Gross

  70. @Aaron Gross
    @Curle

    The Ramones had both a right-wing vibe (Johnny) and a liberal, as opposed to left-wing, vibe (Joey and Dee Dee, who between them wrote most of the songs). Johnny may have called himself a conservative, but I don't think the label fits at all. He was more of a Republican party reptile or (anachronistically) a South Park Republican. He was an individualist, not a conservative. Didn't Trey Parker say, "I hate conservatives, but I really hate liberals"? I think that describes a lot of '70s punks.

    The Modern Lovers weren't just trying to piss off hippies, they were explicitly conservative. Actually, they were explicit about everything they were, like modernist. "Old World" is a great song. So was "Someone I Care About".

    Replies: @Kathy Shaidle, @Kathy Shaidle

    Oh and Richie’s as bad:

    http://www.furious.com/perfect/richieramone.html

    “Yeah, I’m a Democrat. I think that the current Obama administration is fabulous. He’s done a lot of wonderful things. You can pick him apart for this and that but he got handed a real mess and we’re surviving. He brought us this wonderful healthcare; it’s really good right now.”

  71. @Aaron Gross
    @Curle

    If by "the X" you mean XTRA-FM, aka 91X, it wasn't pirate, it was totally legal. I was living in North County at the time and we usually listened to 91X because the reception for KROQ wasn't good enough.

    Needless to say, 91X played "Mexican Radio" a lot. Still remember the X Fest in San Diego featuring the Ramones alog with other punk and new wave bands and also, for some unknown reason, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Maybe someone made a clerical error and got them confused with the other Heartbreakers.

    91X wasn't great but it wasn't bad, kind of a provincial version of KROQ. If you meant something other than 91x, well, "Never mind."

    Replies: @Curle

    Aaron,

    I always took this line from ‘Heard it on the X’ by ZZ Top to refer to a pirate radio station. Perhaps I was wrong.

    Oh, from coast to coast and line to line
    in every county there,
    I’m talkin’ ’bout that outlaw X
    is cuttin’ through the air.

    Back in the 80s Seattle also had a radio station called the X and they played the ZZ Top song frequently to increase the association, but I think that was all marketing. That station, KXRX, came several years after the song.

  72. @unpc downunder
    @Curle

    I guess this depends on whether you regard punk as a British or American invention, and what you mean by right and left wing.

    I tend to think of punks as socialists or nationalists (left wing on economic issues, mixed on social issues) and prog rockers as tending to be libertarians, although Pink Floyd were obviously on the left.

    The Sex Pistols were the first popular British punk band, and they were a mostly leftist reaction to the musical elitism of Pink Floyd, Yes etc. Singer John Lydon ironically took his inspiration from British prog rock vocalist Peter Hamill - who has a very intense raspy voice.

    I don't have much knowledge of early US punk bands although I'm told the gender-bending New York Dolls were early pioneers, who I doubt were very right-wing. My impression was working class nationalists (in the US and Europe) got into punk later on because they liked the aggressive and industrial sounding aspect of it.

    Replies: @Curle

    When I think of punk rock’s origins I never think of British bands except for the Who, because to me, punk was developed in the US in the 70s. Sure the British bands appropriated the sound and perfected it, but at the end of the day I think it has to be seen as an American invention. So, when I think of punk’s roots I think of the following bands:

    The MC5. Lefties.
    The Stooges. Apolitical.
    The Modern Lovers. Anti-hippie.
    The Dictators. Smart Asses on steroids. (See tongue in cheek song Master Race rock). circa ’73.
    The Ramones. Right-wing overtones (at least at first).
    The Seeds. Sixties California weirdo garage band.

    • Replies: @Aaron Gross
    @Curle

    Agreed, but how could you possibly leave out the Velvet Underground and Lou Reed? A typo? Reed was on the first cover of Punk magazine, the magazine that first fixed the "punk" label to music.

    Jonathan Richman worshiped the Velvet Underground. I actually think (I know this is heresy) that Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers at their best were better than the Velvet Underground at their best. But if the Modern Lovers are in there, then the Velvet Underground has to be.

    And as you say, wherever one says punk "really" started, whether in New York or Detroit (or both), it definitely did not start in England. I don't think there's any arguing with that.

    , @Aaron Gross
    @Curle

    And the New York Dolls. Maybe the strongest influence of all.

    Replies: @Curle

  73. @Curle
    @unpc downunder

    When I think of punk rock's origins I never think of British bands except for the Who, because to me, punk was developed in the US in the 70s. Sure the British bands appropriated the sound and perfected it, but at the end of the day I think it has to be seen as an American invention. So, when I think of punk's roots I think of the following bands:

    The MC5. Lefties.
    The Stooges. Apolitical.
    The Modern Lovers. Anti-hippie.
    The Dictators. Smart Asses on steroids. (See tongue in cheek song Master Race rock). circa '73.
    The Ramones. Right-wing overtones (at least at first).
    The Seeds. Sixties California weirdo garage band.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfDoUIh23Wg



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuKd65C6jvU

    Replies: @Aaron Gross, @Aaron Gross

    Agreed, but how could you possibly leave out the Velvet Underground and Lou Reed? A typo? Reed was on the first cover of Punk magazine, the magazine that first fixed the “punk” label to music.

    Jonathan Richman worshiped the Velvet Underground. I actually think (I know this is heresy) that Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers at their best were better than the Velvet Underground at their best. But if the Modern Lovers are in there, then the Velvet Underground has to be.

    And as you say, wherever one says punk “really” started, whether in New York or Detroit (or both), it definitely did not start in England. I don’t think there’s any arguing with that.

  74. @Curle
    @unpc downunder

    When I think of punk rock's origins I never think of British bands except for the Who, because to me, punk was developed in the US in the 70s. Sure the British bands appropriated the sound and perfected it, but at the end of the day I think it has to be seen as an American invention. So, when I think of punk's roots I think of the following bands:

    The MC5. Lefties.
    The Stooges. Apolitical.
    The Modern Lovers. Anti-hippie.
    The Dictators. Smart Asses on steroids. (See tongue in cheek song Master Race rock). circa '73.
    The Ramones. Right-wing overtones (at least at first).
    The Seeds. Sixties California weirdo garage band.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfDoUIh23Wg



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuKd65C6jvU

    Replies: @Aaron Gross, @Aaron Gross

    And the New York Dolls. Maybe the strongest influence of all.

    • Replies: @Curle
    @Aaron Gross

    I left the VU off the list because, on the whole, their music, the strumming melancholy sound, has more of a lullaby quality (like Radiohead and Floyd) to me than a punk sound and ethic. But, the percussive guitar was no doubt an influence.

    With regard to the Dolls. I like them, they were popular among the punks, but aside from a few songs, I don't hear the punk percussive sound in their work to the degree I hear it in more obvious (to me) influences such as the Stooges and especially the Dictators (also a New York band). I should have probably included Johnny Thunders and Television on the above list. Thunders was specifically name-checked by Johnny Ramone as an influence and Television was name checked as an influence by Malcolm Maclaren who managed the early Sex Pistols.

    I agree with you about the Modern Lovers. One of the greatest bands ever.

    At the end of the day, I tend to view The Stooges as the definitive prot0-punk band and the Dictators as the most obvious (typically under recognized) influence on the Ramones. If you listen to the Dictators albums you even sometimes hear the chanting that the Ramones later made famous.

  75. @War for Blair Mountain
    Since we are in The Realm of The Clash....Joe Strummer's Earthquake Weather band was all Jewish(bass player was a mulato Jew)...

    Someone has put up a video of Pearl E Gates doing a weekend gig at a Roller Derby Arena in LA belting...out-in a much deeper voice ...Fujiama Moma...she looks like the character from Second City Television..the one with the cheap fake lepard ski hat and jacket... Pearl E Gates( Tooper Headron introduced her during the 1982 Clash Concert in Tokyo:"You remember Pearl Harbor right?..to the cheers of the Japanese Teenagers) looked pretty dam hot on stage during the 1982 Tokyo Concert belting out "White Riot" and "Police on my back".

    Replies: @Kathy Shaidle

    Pearl was married to Clash bassist Paul Simonon, arguably the best looking musician of the era.

    Seen here not quite believing her luck

    http://b-log.spreadyourlove.net/k-a-t-i-e-paul-simonon-and-pearl-harbour-backstage-at/

  76. @Aaron Gross
    @Curle

    And the New York Dolls. Maybe the strongest influence of all.

    Replies: @Curle

    I left the VU off the list because, on the whole, their music, the strumming melancholy sound, has more of a lullaby quality (like Radiohead and Floyd) to me than a punk sound and ethic. But, the percussive guitar was no doubt an influence.

    With regard to the Dolls. I like them, they were popular among the punks, but aside from a few songs, I don’t hear the punk percussive sound in their work to the degree I hear it in more obvious (to me) influences such as the Stooges and especially the Dictators (also a New York band). I should have probably included Johnny Thunders and Television on the above list. Thunders was specifically name-checked by Johnny Ramone as an influence and Television was name checked as an influence by Malcolm Maclaren who managed the early Sex Pistols.

    I agree with you about the Modern Lovers. One of the greatest bands ever.

    At the end of the day, I tend to view The Stooges as the definitive prot0-punk band and the Dictators as the most obvious (typically under recognized) influence on the Ramones. If you listen to the Dictators albums you even sometimes hear the chanting that the Ramones later made famous.

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