Disc 19 is This Is England. The last in the series and a bit of an anti-climax. Sorry.  But I can’t re-write history.

Topper Headon had been fired post the recording of Combat Rock and then Mick Jones was sensationally kicked out of his band (and not for the first time in his life) in 1983.  What’s also mostly forgotten is that Terry Chimes, brought in for Topper to tour Combat Rock, had also left under a cloud some eight months before Mick got the boot.

This isn’t the place to go over the rights and wrongs of all the turmoil, and besides, depending on whose versions you most believe you’ll come to a different conclusion on who was most to blame.

This Is England was written in late 1983 but wouldn’t be released for the best part of two years.  It’s a state-of-the nation diatribe with the lyric detailing much of what was wrong with the country under a right-wing government although many of the topics, such as inner-city violence, urban alienation, life on council estates, high unemployment and racism weren’t new to The Clash.

The critics savaged the songs and subsequent album Cut The Crap.  To them, and indeed to many, you had no right to call it a release by The Clash with just Joe and Paul on board, backed by some rock musicians and aided by a drum machine. Despite this, it did make #24 in the UK charts which wasn’t all that shabby a performance – indeed it is a higher position than was ever managed by Rock The Casbah.…..

It was originally released only in the UK on 7″ and 12″ vinyl and in years to come was initially disowned by all concerned not appearing on any compilation LPs., not showing up again until 2003 and then again being included as the 19th and final reproduced 45 in the The Singles box set which has provided the foundations for this series.

7″ release:-

mp3 : The Clash – This Is England
mp3 : The Clash – Do It Now

12″ bonus track:-

mp3 : The Clash – Sex Mad Roar

THIS IS ENGLAND  : Released 30 September 1985 : #24 in the UK singles chart

When I arrived back in this country Friday, June 29th 2006, having been away for several years, all I saw were St George crosses displayed everywhere.

After the awful England game on the 30th and ever since, these white and red displays look like yesterday’s tired fashion and are now a figure of fun; likewise the silly songs that were offered to go with the stupid team.

‘This Is England’ reflects this immense national fuck-up.

Bernard Rhodes, former manager of The Clash

And that, dear readers, brings this particular Sunday series to an end. Huge thanks for all the comments that have been left behind over the past four and a bit months, and in particular to echorich and JTFL for their wonderfully unique and indeed first-hand account of life in the USA with The Clash.

As hinted at a few weeks ago, the Sunday slot will now be taken up with a look back at the 45s and EPs of Belle and Sebastian.



11 thoughts on “THE CLASH ON SUNDAYS (19)

  1. Thanks for this walk down memory lane. Today’s subpar effort notwithstanding, few misses along the way. I only disagreed with you on one… Hitsville UK. Sure it’s lightweight, but I like that one quite a bit more than you. Thought the cover was so cool too.

    B&S is going to be great. Almost more interested to see how you handle some of the later ones. I remember your post at the old place when Write About Love came out. That provided quite a string of comments.

  2. I have always quite liked This Is England, not up there with White Man etc but still better than most of the pish from 1983.

    Good series JC.

  3. Yes you can re-write history. Just ignore it !! Its not Clash. This still pains me, first five albums are all brilliant in their own ways. One band could change so much, so much variety, was because of Strummer and Jones. This should be buried. Death or Glory !!

  4. Great ride JC! Thank you!!!
    It always brings a smile to my face when I look back at my youth through the lens of The Clash. But by 1985 I was graduating university, had found my next great band in Echo And The Bunnymen and was well on that ride which Post Punk had initially provided me even at the height of The Clash’s powers. This Is England has always sounded sad and depressing to me. Not because of the subject matter, but in the way Strummer really couldn’t hide how badly he – and I will say it here – Bernie Rhodes had let things get. The heart and soul of The Clash was gone and fans were left with the mechanics alone. In some ways I’m not sure how The Clash with Strummer and Jones would have survived into the depths of the 80s. Maybe there would have been more explorations of “street sounds,” maybe there would have been a return to their Punk roots, but I’m not sure the decade would have held much for them to continue with as The Clash.

  5. And then came the wonderful BAD. Maybe the clash would have ended up sounding like 10 upping st that had JS on?

  6. Bought all their stuff from day one, apart from Cut The Crap, but got the 12 inch of This Is England because in my humble opinion at the time it rocks like a fucking monkey.
    I was right.

  7. Another marvellous series comes to an end, even if it is with a whimper rather than a bang. Perhaps you could turn your attentions to the individual solo careers one of these days, if you feel so inclined. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to reliving some of Belle & Sebastian’s finest moments over the coming weeks.

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