FE 37689 Combat Rock
Made by The Clash
Released on May 14, 1982
UK CHART POSITION #2 . . . US CHART POSITION #7 . . . 2x PLATINUM RECORD
Find it at GEMM
FE 37689 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

T his is the story of the kids who got swallowed by the candy store and the technicolor trip they went out on. The Clash were on a collision course with their own ambitions from the beginning, and Combat Rock is the record of the final impact. Licorice, caramel, taffy, nuts and nougat, cotton candy everywhere. Some of it sticks (“Know Your Rights,” “Rock The Casbah”), some of it doesn’t (“Inoculated City,” “Sean Flynn”). When the curtain finally falls (“Death Is A Star”), there’s no applause just open mouths. It wasn’t supposed to end like this. The Clash were supposed to be the standard-bearers of punk. Instead, they mutated like a virus, absorbing everything they touched: reggae, rock, musical hall, dub, urban poetry. And so Combat Rock isn’t a punk record, it’s mutant rock. Brilliant sometimes (“Ghetto Defendant,” “Car Jamming”) but baffling too. Between the lines is the wreck of The Clash: Mick Jones sailing into deep and dangerous waters, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon looking for their lost isle of London, Topper Headon drowning in a drug addiction. It’s a wonderful train wreck, undeniably inspired, but by what? Combat Rock doesn’t simply defy expectations, it death-defies them. Like Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door or Talking Heads’ Naked, this is an album itching to shed its old skin. In the beginning, I was convinced this was the best thing The Clash had ever released. But the second side is stranger, less hospitable. Only “Atom Tan” feels like a Clash track. Even the most experimental moments from London Calling won’t prepare you for “Ghetto Defendant” or “Sean Flynn.” Combat Rock is must-hear music because The Clash was a must-hear band, but you mustn’t hear it as an album by a revolutionary punk band. That battle was over and The Clash won it if you didn’t already know. They were on a different front this time, fighting against normalcy and complacency and atrophy. Combat Rock is a real victory in that sense, though not everyone will be ready for this most radical phase of the revolution.

TRACK LISTING

  1. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS    3:40
  2. CAR JAMMING    3:58
  3. SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?    3:06
  4. ROCK THE CASBAH    3:42
  5. RED ANGEL DRAGNET    3:46
  6. STRAIGHT TO HELL    5:26
  7. OVERPOWERED BY FUNK    4:52
  8. ATOM TAN    2:27
  9. SEAN FLYNN    4:30
  10. GHETTO DEFENDANT    4:43
  11. INOCULATED CITY    2:40
  12. DEATH IS A STAR    3:08

    All songs written by The Clash

CREDITS

TOPPER HEADON --
MICK JONES --
PAUL SIMONON --
JOE STRUMMER --
Glyn Johns -- mixing

return to THE CLASH discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK May 14, 1982 CBS LP FMLN-2 lyric sleeve, poster
US/CAN May 14, 1982 Epic LP/CS FE/FET 37689 lyric sleeve
US 1982 Epic LPPIC AS99-1591 picture disc
AUSL 1982 Epic LP ELPS-4287 poster
MEX 1982 Epic LP LNS-17416  
NET 1982 CBS LP 85570 lyric sleeve, poster
YUG 1982 Suzy LP CBS-85570  
UK/NET   CBS LP/CD/CS 37287 lyric sleeve
US   Epic CD/CS EK/ET-63896  
UK   Columbia CD 495349  
JPN 2005 Sony CD MHCP-529 limited ed. digital remaster
BRA   CBS 3CD 2024392 w. THE CLASH + LONDON CALLING

 

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