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The Clash and assorted memories

August 21, 2009
1979's U.S. release of The Clash on CBS Records

1979's U.S. release of The Clash on CBS Records

A post on Twitter let me know that Joe Strummer would have been 57 today if it hadn’t have been for a heart defect. I haven’t done a Record of the Week for a while so here it is. The Clash. Released in 1979 in the U.S. I was 14 and that was it. It was all over.

But how did a 14 year old GIRL from suburban Cleveland Ohio find out about The Clash? I’d been reading CREEM magazine since I was 12.

CREEM covers circa 1978

CREEM covers circa 1978

Yup, at my local Convenient Food Mart store, right next to Teen Beat and all that rubbish was CREEM. Hmmm. What’s this? It looks kinda like a teen magazine… But Mick Jagger is one the cover. Hmmmmm. What– it says there’s a poster inside… Only a dollar? Forget the six packs of grape Bubble Yum I came in for. It’s mine!

I was obsessed with the Stones in 1978. The Beatles were done and Paul McCartney was full of Silly Love Songs at that point (Not that I didn’t love them anyway). But the Stones had a NEW album. Some Girls actually had a buzz around it. It was The STONES, man. And it was a whole new sound. And it was my album. No apologies for it. I love this album. If you listen to it again with fresh ears you will understand. It’s the last great Stones album. There. I said it. I bought it when it came out at The Shoppe in Berea; $4.99. Original artwork before they were sued.

RS_somegirlsSo when I see Mick Jagger on the cover of CREEM I buy it. And I am opened to a whole new world of rock music.

CREEM was the best rock magazine. Crazy hilarious and not afraid to show rock and rollers at their worst. The writers included the legendary Lester Bangs, Dave Marsh, Robert Christgau, Nick Tosches, Greil Marcus and Cameron Crowe to name a few. R. Crumb designed the “Boy Howdy” icon. And it was published in Detroit so it almost felt local.

Again I started buying it when I was 12. My parents didn’t seem to care.

So CREEM has been credited with coining the term Punk rock. And every issue I bought had articles and pictures and/or “CREEM Profiles” (a parody of old Dewar’s Scotch ads) of Punk rockers and New Wave starters like The Clash, Joan Jett,  Blondie, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders and Nick Lowe. CREEM ONLINE: Creem’s Profiles. I ate it up.

Which is why when The Clash came out in the states I was practically in line to buy it at The Shoppe. (I have an original U.S. release of The Clash that my friend Greg is jealous of ) The album starts with this: YouTube – The Clash – Clash City Rockers [Original Version]. And that’s all it took.

So this turned into more of the memory around the discovery of The Clash and not the music. But that’s o.k. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t know The Clash you haven’t read this far. And THAT doesn’t matter.

They were the “Only Band That Matters.”

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