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"London Calling" Featured on 'RS' Song List

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Paul Simonon smashes a Fender Precision Bass on the album cover.
The broken P Bass is featured on pg. 26 of the
RS Collectors Edition.

In the recent Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time Special Collectors Edition, they share the background stories behind rock’s classic songs. Coming in at #15 is “London Calling” by the Clash.

In 1979, the uncompromising British punk band was without management and racking up debt in a country that was crashing around them. Out of that turmoil, Joe Strummer and guitarist Mick Jones wrote the lasting title track to their third album, London Calling, named after the call signal of the BBC’s World Service broadcasts.

“We felt that we were struggling,” Strummer tells RS, “about to slip down a slope or something, grasping with out fingernails. And there was no one there to help us.”

Its lyrics contained nods to a series of disasters. For instance “the nuclear error” refers to the March 1979 meltdown of a reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.

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