Certain Songs #233: The Clash – “The Street Parade”

The_Clash_-_Sandinista! Album: Sandinista!
Year: 1980.

. . . by the time we got to side five, the only thing we knew for sure about Sandinista! was that we didn’t know anything at all about Sandinista!

At this point, it was clear that anything could happen, that the the best thing was to sit back, enjoy the ride and hope for the best.

Still, the one thing that we couldn’t have known — even after all of the twists and turns — was that Sandinista! had one more surprise up its sleeve: putting one of its very greatest songs at the very end of side five. Most records didn’t even have a side five . . .

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Certain Songs #232: The Clash – “Police on My Back”

The_Clash_-_Sandinista! Album: Sandinista!
Year: 1980

I’ll get into the last of the great Clash covers in a second, but I would be remiss if I didn’t take a second to talk about The Equals, one of the greatest 1960s bands you’ve probably never heard. I realize that in 2015, nobody thinks that’s a category, but of course it is.

The Equals blended rock, pop and soul in much the same way that Sly & The Family Stone did, but never made it as big as their American counterparts for a couple of reasons: 1) they weren’t nearly as funky 2) Eddy Grant (yes, that Eddy Grant) wasn’t as good of a songwriter as Sly Stone. Nevertheless, you should go out and find the First Among Equals compilation and find out why their musical blend was an influence on The Clash.

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Certain Songs #231: The Clash – “The Sound of The Sinners”

The_Clash_-_Sandinista! Album: Sandinista!
Year: 1980.

Closing out side three of Sandinista! with a great joyous blast of gospel music, “The Sound of The Sinners” just might be the most fun Joe Strummer ever had on record.

Sure, it’s all a bit tongue-in-cheek, but if you think about it, who better than to do a gospel song than Saint Joe Strummer?

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Certain Songs #230: The Clash – “Up in Heaven (Not Only Here)”

The_Clash_-_Sandinista! Album: Sandinista!
Year: 1980.

I haven’t really touched on the political aspect of The Clash, which of course was a huge part of their appeal to me. Not so much because I agreed with everything they sang about — I personally think that the globalization of U.S. popular culture was a huge factor in defeating Communism, so who cares if it bored Joe Strummer? — but because I loved their conviction when they were doing political songs.

And as always with me, my favorite Clash political songs were the ones I loved musically and then discovered lyrically: “White Riot,” “Clampdown” “Know Your Rights” and the utterly anthemic “Up in Heaven (Not Only Here)”

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Certain Songs #229: The Clash – “One More Time” / “One More Dub”

The_Clash_-_Sandinista!Album: Sandinista!
Year: 1980.

One of my many theories about Sandinista! is that the reason it was initially so confusing was that it was the first Clash album where the default musical style wasn’t rock, but rather reggae. Not only are there reggae songs on every single side of the record, the last disc amps up the dub in the same way that All Things Must Pass amped up the jams.

So its not surprising that Sandinista! produced what I think is their single greatest reggae song: the monumental “One More Time.”

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