Route 19 Revisited: The Clash and London Calling

Marcus Gray, Counterpoint/Soft Skull, $17.95 trade paper (560p) ISBN 978-1-59376-293-3
Clash fans will welcome this comprehensive exploration of the band's landmark album London Calling by journalist Gray (It Crawled from the South), who has twice previously tried to tell this story, with mixed results. Gray kicks things off this time with biographies of Strummer, Jones, Simonen, and Headon. "There is...enough crossover of the four individuals' experience to provide pointers for the album's lyrical concerns," Gray says, rather dryly, positing that "if four musically creative people with such histories went into a rehearsal room they would almost inevitably" emerge with something like London Calling. At the heart of the book is a 200-page in-depth exploration of every London Calling track. Gray also discusses production details, the punk scene, promotion and touring, and the famous album image. London Calling continues to inspire today because "it looks anger, fear, impotence, and self-doubt in the eye, then pulls on its boots and goes out to face the day." Engaging and well-written, and rife with half a century of music scene details, Gray's third attempt at capturing The Clash is the one that fans have been waiting for. Photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/17/2011
Release date: 10/01/2010
Paperback - 544 pages - 978-0-09-952420-5
Open Ebook - 557 pages - 978-1-59376-391-6
Hardcover - 532 pages - 978-0-224-08564-9
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-224-08565-6
Open Ebook - 544 pages - 978-1-4090-7661-2
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