THE CLASH ON SUNDAYS (4)

R-6640389-1423659567-2207.jpegDisc 4 is Complete Control

I’m not sure how much to type today as I’m guessing that most T(n)VV readers will be very familiar with the fact that Complete Control was written, recorded and released in a fit of anger by The Clash as their response to CBS having released Remote Control as a single in May 1977.

It’s interesting to note that the attack on CBS via the line They said, we’d be artistically free when we signed that bit of paper’ was savaged by many critics at the time with the band being accused of complete naiveté and indeed some went as far as suggesting the row was manufactured to allow Joe Strummer in particular to continue to appear as a spokesman for the people.

Some other facts.

It was  engineered by Mickey Foote and produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry who happened to be in London producing for Bob Marley & the Wailers and readily accepted the invited to produce Complete Control.  However, it turned out that his contribution to the track had to be toned down with Mick Jones re-working things to bring the guitars out more to the fore and drop down the echo Perry had dropped on it. The song was also Topper Headon‘s first recording with the band.

mp3 : The Clash – Complete Control

The b-side is one that many fans are very fond of and its inclusion of a saxophone part was hugely unusual in punk circles:-

mp3 : The Clash – City of The Dead

It reached #28 in the singles chart, making it The Clash’s first Top 30 release. The essay in the booklet was penned by a footballer.

COMPLETE CONTROL : Released 23 September 1977 : #28 in the UK singles chart

When I was 14, I was living with my mum and dad in Kingsbury, north-west London. After school I’d be straight up to the bedroom and get the records on. The walls had posters of all the bands I liked, The Clash, Stranglers, Stiff Little Fingers, Bowie – I got into music through him and then punk came along. I had a Lurkers set list and a massive Holidays In The Sun Pistols poster. I’d get this stuff from point of sale in the local record shops , they’s have big cardboard displays of the bands and I’d ask the bloke if he could save me it when they took them down.

I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do back then. I still don’t now. I was just into music. Back then I didn’t want to hear any slow songs or any ballads; I just wanted something fast and loud that I could sing along to and jump up and down on the bed with a baseball bat like an idiot. Complete Control was the rawest song I had, everything I wanted was on it, the rawness. I can still remember my old girl coming in and telling me to turn it down.

I probably saw The Clash up to ten times, the best was in Harlesden. Another tack I really liked was The Prisoner, which I think was on the B-side of White Man In Hammersmith Palais. I’d play White Riot before I went out to play, mainly at Forest; that was my musical peak because I was captain. Brian Clough sort of turned a blind eye to it, really.

Stuart Pearce,  England’s greatest-ever left back

8 thoughts on “THE CLASH ON SUNDAYS (4)

  1. I think Kenny Sampson might be a bit disappointed with the very last bit. Still my favourite ever Clash song though.

  2. I started commenting that this *was* one of my favourite, but it still *is* one of my favourites – love it to bits.

  3. There’s something in Complete Control that is the sound of The Clash say, “right, we are moving on now and things won’t be the same..” and they certainly wouldn’t when “the pink sleeved single” came out. Thank god!

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