43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
I hadn't planned on reviewing this CD until I saw all of the negative reviews here. I agree with many of the points, but wanted to add my humble opinion. If you're a big fan of the Clash (as I am), then you have all of these songs already. Likewise, fans of the Clash probably don't even like the concept of a 'greatest hits' CD...why bother when they released such great albums??!!!
However, even though the Clash are 'the only band that matter' to their fans, there are many music fans (some with good taste!) who likely are not hard-core Clash collectors. For people who want a taste of The Clash and their punk, this CD is pretty good. It covers their biggest US hits (Train in Vain, Rock the Casbah, Should I Stay?) and their biggest UK hits (London Calling, Bankrobber, & Tommy Gun - all hit the UK Top 20). Part of the appeal of the Clash is that they kept trying to expand themselves, which can clearly be seen in this CD.
With the sad and recent passing of Joe Strummer, fans of the Clash should do all they can to make sure that their music can reach as many people as possible...that's the purpose of a 'greatest hits' CD. In those terms, I think that this CD suceeds, and it will appeal to casual fans.
Of course, with their upcoming induction into the R&R Hall of Fame, many people will like be paying attention to the Clash's back catalogue. If you're curious, start with their 1977 debut or "London Calling," both are pretty brilliant.
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2007
Not to be confused with the one-disc, 18 track collection "The Singles," this is a box set that collects the Clash's UK singles on 19 individual discs that are designed to look like black vinyl. Since it includes not just the original B-sides of the vinyl singles, but also alternate B-sides from releases in different markets, the total length and track listing is quite considerable, 67 tracks total. Since the ordering follows the UK singles releases, not the US ones, there are a few oddities that may seem a bit humorous. For example, "Train in Vain," one of the biggest US hits, is included here only as an alternate B-side to the "Bankrobber" single.
I shouldn't need to tell serious Clash fans that this set has a lot of fine material. Still, I should say that for anyone who is just looking for a career-retrospective of the Clash, you might find the CLASH ON BROADWAY box set, or even THE ESSENTIAL CLASH more user-friendly than the 19 disc format here. The real audience for this set is the Clash completist, who really wants to have the total recorded works of the Clash on CD.
It is true of course that some of the tracks are available elsewhere, and certain tracks may appear on as many as five other discs. Collectors can expect some duplication. Still, it is not true, as an earlier posting implied, that all of this is available elsewhere. I have tried to compile a list of what is distinctive about this set.
(1) The "Capital Radio EP" was a free vinyl giveaway distributed by New Musical Express magazine. It included an interview conducted by Tony Parsons on a moving train. A few minutes of this was included on the STORY OF THE CLASH compilation, but not the two part, 12 minute version included here. The instrumental "Listen" plays through part of the interview, but to hear it without the talk, you have to get SUPER BLACK MARKET CLASH.
(2) The live version of "London's Burning" from the "Remote Control" single was once released on CD on a disc called 1977 REVISITED: CRUCIAL MUSIC, but that has been out of print for years, so it is only currently available here.
(3) This set includes a pair of "dub" remixes of "Armagideon Time, "Justice Tonight" (running time: 4:09) and "Kick it Over" (4:44), presented as two separate tracks from different single releases. That is a little different from the combined "Justice Tonight/Kick it Over" track on SUPER BLACK MARKET CLASH (8: 53) and even more different from the earlier 7:00 version of "Justice Tonight/Kick it Over" on BLACK MARKET CLASH.
(4) "Rockers Galore...UK Tour" is a reworking of "Bankrobber" with Mikey Dread singing new lyrics about touring with the Clash. This is not the same track as "Robber Dub" on SUPER BLACK MARKET CLASH, which lacks the Dread vocal and lyrics.
(5) "Radio One" from the "Hitsville UK" single is a fun Mikey Dread composition with Dread on vocals. The lyrics complain about the lack of reggae music on the BBC.
(6) This set has two single re-edits of "The Magnificent Seven" from the 7" single (3:39) and the 12" single (4:30). Both of these are shorter than the version on the SANDINISTA album (5:29). The longer 12" version is available on the single-disc THE SINGLES CD, but the 7" version is only available on CD here.
(7) There are also two versions of the instrumental "The Magnificent Dance" from the 7" (3:35) and 12" (5:36) singles. The longer version is on SUPER BLACK MARKET CLASH, but the shorter one is only available on CD here.
(8) "Outside Broadcast" is a jaw-dropping variation of "This is Radio Clash" with mostly different lyrics that reference everything from "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" to "Lord of the Dance." Truly unique and a highlight of this set.
(9) "Radio 5" is a dub remix of "This is Radio Clash" with lots of rap style record scratching. It is more conventional than "Outside Broadcast," but worth a listen.
(10) "Long Time Jerk" from the "Rock the Casbah" single runs 5:08, almost twice as long as the version on SUPER BLACK MARKET CLASH (2:57).
(11) "Inoculated City" from the "Should I Stay or Should I Go Single" incorporates a radio commercial about toilets into the middle of the song. Either this is the original radio commercial that the "Flushco" company sued to have removed from the US release, or it is a substitute commercial that was only on the UK single. Either way, it adds a more satiric tone to the song than is found on the version on the US release of COMBAT ROCK
(12) "Straight to Hell" appears here in its short single version, running only 3:51. That is shorter than the version that appears on COMBAT ROCK (5:33) and the still longer version on CLASH ON BROADWAY (6: 50). I am not sure longer is better. I rather like the shortest version.
(13) and (14) The 12" single of "This is England" included two tracks that are only available on CD here, "Do it Now" and "Sex Mad Roar." I think these are better than several of the tracks that did appear on the CUT THE CRAP album.
Obviously, some of the above are only slight variations of familiar tracks, but there are also interesting rarities like "Outside Broadcast" and "Sex Mad Roar." The set goes a long way toward making all the previously uncollected Clash tracks available, though there are still a few exceptions. Around the time of the STORY OF THE CLASH release, the Clash put out a CD-single called "Back to Brixton" that contained three remixes of "The Guns of Brixton" that are not included here. Also, the discography of CLASH ON BROADWAY lists a B-Side called "Radio 6." If that is not a misprint for "Radio 5," then it is missing here.
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2006
I grew up on these singles; I had 85% of them in vinyl upon release, particularly the early ones. The excitement around a new Clash single was intense for me, and they always delivered the goods, so I won't argue the artistic merits of this stuff. It sounds phenomenal in this configuration, and pretty much always will. What I am completely disappointed in is the lack of detail in what basically is a coffee table edition (supposedly definitive) of these great singles. In the vinyl version of "The Cost of Living EP," Strummer goes on a great improv rant for about 30 seconds after "Capital Radio 2" over the backing track to "I Fought The Law," nattering on about how he is Eraserhead and he will rub you out, and then sums it up by screaming "this is the COST OF LIVING EP!!!!!" Where is it? "Capital Radio" peters out to a close, no Eraserhead, no final words from Joe, nothing but the deafening silence of feeling hosed by a multinational corporation. Small trifle, yes, but at this price???? I bought this thing for completeness, and complete control should have been the order of the day. Love the music though, it's absolutely forever. RIP, Mr. Strummer.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2009
This is an excellent CD of Clash Classics at their best. This is probably one of the "Greatest" compilation CD's ever. You get all their best songs, all on one CD. The Clash has been called the best "Punk Rock" band ever. They are inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland, Ohio. Plus, the last time I was at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, there was an excellent exhibit of the Clash, there.
You get the various line-ups of:
Joe Strummer (the late/great leadman of the Clash) - Lead Vocals & Guitar
Mick Jones - Guitar & Vocals
Paul Simonon - Bass
Tory Crimes (Terry Chimes) - Original Drummer
Topper Headon - Drummer
There were some personnel changes through the years, but their music style, & songs retained the same sounds, and themes. They were a very, very entergetic, & very "aggressive" band, and were known for "Power-Punk" Songs, and "Songs With an Attitude". The "classic" songs on this CD, represent these descriptions. These songs represent the Clash at their best!!!!
The songs are as follows:
2.Rock the Casbah
3.Should I stay or Should I go
4.I Fought the Law
5.(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais
6.The Magnificent Seven
8.The Call up
13.Clash City Rockers
14.English Civil War (Johnny Comes Marching Home)
16.Know Your Rights
17.This is England
18.This is Radio Clash
19.Train in Vain (Stand by Me)
Overall, this is an excellent cd, and a "must-have" for any "punk-rock", or any "Clash" fan, or any "rock" fan. This is truly an excellent compilation CD at its best. Thanks!!!!
32 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2000
Well I just love The Clash to death, but I have to be honest: there is absolutely no reason for The Singles to exist. It's a compilation, and an honest one (in that it is exactly what it purports to be: a collection of the A-sides of Clash singles and nothing more, nothing less), but a meaningless one.
Because, quite simply, the WORST way to get acquainted with The Clash is through their singles. This is not to say that their singles were bad (though some, like "Remote Control" and "Hitsville U.K." are pretty darn weak); in fact, some of their most memorable songs, like "White Riot," "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais," "London Calling," and "Train In Vain" were singles. But SO much of their best work is NOT here, simply because it didn't make it out on the topside of a 45. To the extent that a large preponderance of their finest music didn't come out on singles The Clash were an ALBUM act, unlike say the early Who. So what this CD gives you is a wholly unsatisfying and incomplete view of the greatness of this band.
As an alternative I'd recommend one of two options: if you (like me) dislike compilations as a rule, go buy their debut and London Calling, both of which are considered absolute classics, and if you like what you see, explore further. If you're a casual fan, go get The Story Of The Clash, which in its remastered form shouldn't be that much more expensive than this disc; it's also a bit incomplete (and sequenced oddly) but it provides a much more well-rounded view of The Clash.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2000
'Singles' obviously couldn't be the definitive collection. It disregards album tracks and b-sides from the mix. However, because it limits itself to just collecting a-sides, it works much better than their other compilations. There is no judgment of The Clash's "best" songs, meaning song choice can't really be faulted. Of course, the songs on here represent many of The Clash's best. This collection also documents the band's musical changes well: from righteous punk anger to eclecticism to pop. You say so what? Well, it includes the 7" version of "Bankrobber", without the dub, as well as "This Is Radio Clash", both unavailable elsewhere. In truth, if you want a good introduction to the band, this is it. For once, this is a Clash compilation that works.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2003
Some have ripped this c.d. Not all people are Clash maniacs like some of the reviewers. Don't get me wrong, the Clash was one of the most important, vital bands ever. I am a big fan of their music. For those of you who are not big fans and are curious, this disc will improve your music collection greatly. This is an excellent greatest hits c.d. Avoid the "Essential Clash". It was released to capitalize on The Clash's induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. If you are the casual Clasher, this is the c.d. for you.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2000
As far as The Clash is concerned this no-way a Definitive Collection and is quite disjointed in terms of continuity. Sure, it has the wellknown Punky tracks that brought fame to the Rock Foursome of Strummer/Jones/Simonon/Headon. Tracks such as White Riot, Tommy Gun, I Fought the Law, London Calling and Rock the Casbah are all on this album, however so are some forgetable B-side tracks with their 80 pop-esque feel that I am sure the band would rather not remember.
It is a rather pointless album - and should certainly not be thought of as a "Best of Album". If you are new to the music of the Clash, and wish to buy a compilation album: "From Here to Eternity" is a great "live" album and "The Story of the Clash (Vol 1)" is however probably your best bet. However if you concider yourself a diehard Clash "Punk" then you probably have most of their albums - which have these tracks, anyway - so this compilation isn't for you either.
Conclusion: A pointless collection, despite a few good tracks.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2001
I loved this CD. I bought it for songs like Rock the Casbah, Should I Stay or Should I Go, Train in Vain, and London Calling; but I have enjoyed the other songs on this CD like This Is Radio Clash. For anyone who likes the Clash, this is a must have CD.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2003
It's obvious that to really know the Clash, is to get all their albums. But since you here, you're probably looking for a good package of hits. This is a great remastered single disc collection spanning their entire career. Based on what's here, I gave it 4 stars. If you're missing some songs, you may be interested in the older two disc collection, "Story of the Clash". That has 10 more songs than this does. If that's still missing your favorite songs, you may want the newer two disc, "The Essential Clash". That has another 12 songs, and 22 more than the singles collection, all remastered. The most for your money by far. Of course if it still doesn't have what you want, then you've come full-circle, and must get all their albums. There's a reason why The Clash are in the R&R Hall of Fame. RIP Joe Strummer.