There’s a great big punk-sized hole in my music library and listening history. I mostly blame WDVE for that, since that was the classic rock station I grew up with in Pittsburgh. For whatever reason, punk just wasn’t a substantial part of their rotation. Oh sure, they would play some songs from the Clash here and there, but when they did, it was typically “Rock the Casbah” or “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”, both of which came from the Clash’s 1982 album, Combat Rock.
Familiar with the two hit songs, I picked up Combat Rock… and wondered why the Clash had earned so many accolades. Despite the underrated gem, “Overpowered By Funk”, it’s just an underwhelming album. Now that I can listen to much of their earlier work on Spotify, I can see why Clash fans shared my feelings about Combat Rock. It just doesn’t match up with the feeling or the consistency of Sandanista! or London Calling.
Had I started there instead, I might be posting “The Magnificent Seven” today, another Clash tune that checks in at 5:33. After posting an instrumental funk track from a seminal hip-hop group, it would only make sense that I post a seminal punk group rapping, right? What’s more, it would have been pretty timely, in light of the renewed attention that other “Magnificent Seven” have gotten the last two weeks. But alas, that’s not the world we live in. Instead, it’s “Straight to Hell”, a song mostly notable for being sampled in M.I.A.’s big 2008 hit, “Paper Planes”.
Straight to Hell – The Clash