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Friday, 11 March 2016

What's My Name?

I can't leave 1977 without doing punk and The Clash and a quick squizz round the internet brought me several celebrity Clash t-shirt wearers. From the top- supermodel Agyness Deyn, ex-footballer David Beckham and actor Kristen Stewart. I don't have any issue with Agyness wearing a Clash t-shirt. She's from just north of Manchester and lived in Rossendale, the place I had my first teaching job. She worked in a chip shop. She seems pretty real. I can believe she could be Clash fan. Plus, I like girls with short hair. David Beckham- member of the 90s United side, treble winner, generally seems like a nice chap. Not convinced he's a Clash fan though. Kristen Stewart- I have no idea, maybe, maybe not. But if she wants to pop round to discuss her love of the band, I'm in tonight.

The Clash's debut came out in 1977. In Sniffin' Glue Mark Perry said that punk died the day The Clash signed to CBS. But he also said that the first Clash album was 'LIKE A MIRROR. IT REFLECTS ALL THE SHIT. IT SHOWS US THE TRUTH. TO ME, IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ALBUM EVER RELEASED' (use of capital letters is Mark's). Listening to it right now, it must be the rawest, most unproduced album a major record label put out in 1977 or most other years. It was famously so raw that CBS in the U.S. wouldn't release it, saying the ears of American listeners couldn't cope. In What's My Name Mick's guitars could skin a cat. Joe Strummer is so alienated that even table tennis clubs won't let him in.

'I tried to join the ping pong club
Sign on the door 'all full up'
I got nicked for fighting in the road
The judge didn't even know

What's my naaaaaaame

Even by 1977 punk standards this is short- one minute forty seconds. Co-written by Keith Levene this is the punkest, most Pistols like song on the album. And it's got very little to do with celebrities wearing band t-shirts.

What's My Name


Simon said...

I love that first album. It was the first time - aged about 14 - I'd properly investigate The Clash beyond the obvious singles. I was completely oblivious to the early songs anyway. I was expecting a knucklehead oi type of punk. I wasn't expecting it to be quite so...good! Proper tunes in there, proper lyrics, rough sound yes, but still almost poppy in places and very very Mod too. London Calling is my favourite Clash album, but the first album is a close second. The remaster that came out a few years ago is brilliant by the way, brought the bass up, made it all a bit chunkier, took away some of the tinny edge. Which made it even better for me.

C said...

It's just weird seeing these pics...I guess band name Ts have simply become a mainstream commodity like so much else that once seemed as if it could only ever belong in the margins. *Our* margins!
But the Clash debut was my first ever album purchase in '77 and a wonderful Clash Tshirt was my first ever band name T too - white with print of them (from the album cover) in black and almost fluorescent multi-coloured lettering over the top. I can still recall the extreme excitement of buying both items, ahh.

Swiss Adam said...

You're right about that remastering job Simon. Often I can take or leave remastering and sometimes it just feels wrong but that one worked really well.

The margins have moved haven't they C. Outliers become inliers. Is inliers a word/thing?

Echorich said...

It may have been declined for release in the US, but it became the biggest selling import album for years. Imagine how clueless many of us Americans were when Give Em Enough Rope was released as their US debut and The Clash was released, finally, in a reshuffled form, as the follow up less than 12 months later. Thank god I read NME and had that import in my hands the day it arrive at my local record shop.

I've got no problem with Agyness Deyn, wearing her Clash t-shirt. Happy to say I still have my Clash On Broadway at t-shirt - men's medium which hasn't fit me for 30 years - in a special box with those concert shirts that are as precious to me as the albums that were being toured back in those days.

Those 17 concerts at Bond's International Casino in Times Square were the start of one of the greatest summers of my life in 1981. I went to 11 of the shows including an all age Saturday afternoon show and still remember so many amazing moments.

Swiss Adam said...

11 of the Bond's shows. Echorich wins.

The Swede said...

I raise my hat to Echorich.

londonlee said...

Lost count of the amount of times I've got into arguments online with Americans claiming the US version of 'The Clash' is superior which maybe it is if you think a singles compilation is better, and the inclusion of I Fought The Law is ridiculous