Monday, May 24, 2010

1970s Claire Calling

"London Calling"
is a song by the British punk rock band The Clash. It was released as a single from the band's 1979 double album London Calling. This apocalyptic, politically charged rant features the band's famous combination of reggae basslines and punk electric guitar and vocals.

Parodying the cover of Elvis’ eponymous debut, The Clash meant business from the offset—a stunning live photograph of Paul Simonon destroying his “best” bass, which has since become one of the most iconic images in music history. But this nod to rock and roll is by no means the record’s last deviation from the punk rock norm.

Clash Flyer  1
(Handmade Promotion)

When famed rock photographer Pennie Smith was hired to document the Clash on their 1979 US tour, she was justifiably concerned - the anarchic British band had become famous for unleashing volleys of spit onto their frantically dancing audience. But the band was going through some transformations as the end of the 70s rolled around, incorporating elements of reggae and other styles into their trademark punk sound. However, this didn't leaven their wild performances at all, as Smith found out when she captured the
iconic shot
of bassist Paul Simonon smashing his instrument on the stage of the Palladium in NYC. The image would become the cover of the Clash's breakout London Calling.
The typography was
created by graphic designer Ray Lowry, who produced a parody of the pink and green lettering found on Elvis Presley's debut album. The conscious nostalgia to a purer time of rock & roll, juxtaposed against the decadent image of Simonon smashing his bass guitar, sent a bold message to the world that the Clash were taking over.

It’s the whole tone of the image coupled with the ‘borrowing’ of the Elvis Presley album colours and font for the London Calling lettering that frames the black and white image that creates something so visually remarkable. There was a decided intention for London Calling to symbolise the end of Rock and Roll (as Elvis was the beginning), a bold idea for 1979 but some will argue music has been treading water ever since.

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