Top 10 best rock album ever, top 15? "London Calling," first released in 1979 as a two-record set, belongs up there.
Top 10 best rock album ever, top 15? "London Calling," first released in 1979 as a two-record set, belongs up there. This three-disc reissue holds its weight. Disc one is the 19-song album proper, while disc two, the "Vanilla Tapes," spotlights 21 interesting rehearsal tracks. The third disc is a DVD with a documentary that explains, in the words of the Clash and its compadres, what made "London Calling" great. (Extra treat: pre-MTV-era videos of "Train in Vain" and two others.) After a classic punk rock debut (1977) that then-CBS Records was too timid to release in the United States and a second album, "Give 'Em Enough Rope," that was overproduced and underachieved, the band had something to prove yet nothing to lose with "London Calling." The Clash listened to what it loved, processed it and played it back with skill, determination and emotional generosity. Defying punk orthodoxy, the masterful set included reggae, ska, rockabilly, New Orleans R&B and fat-chord hard rock, delivered with confidence, control and joy. The Clash was never able to top this, but neither has anyone else.—WR