Route 19 Revisited: The Clash and London Calling
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Route 19 Revisited: The Clash and London Calling

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  60 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Twenty-eight years after its original release, The Clash’s London Calling was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame as a “recording of lasting qualitative or historical significance.” It topped polls on both sides of the Atlantic for the best album of the seventies (and eighties) and in publications as wide-ranging as Rolling Stone, VIBE, Pitchfork, and NME, and it regular...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Soft Skull Press (first published 2009)
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Paul Childs
Okay, I really like The Clash. I've liked them since their first album, and still listen to it on occasion (on vinyl) and think London Calling is one of the few truly brilliant albums of the last 35 years.But this book is for the person who likes The Clash and London Calling in an OCD sort of way. More than twenty five pages on Rudie Can't Fail, including a jugged history of Rude Boy music and culture. Much the same about Lover's Rock. The gearhead in me did like the bits explaining how the stud...more
“And after all this won’t you give us a smile”

Lengthy and very well written rock album biography of London Calling.

This book is the definitive story of London Calling. It is for fans only. It contains five hundred pages of minutiae, extensive research, and interviews in the “making of . . .” ilk. (There’s a three-page description of how the drums were mic’d ferchristssakes). Additionally, endless other background information is revealed in the telling of the story. Marcus Gray expertly fills in...more
This book rocked! Great in depth analysis of The Clash during the London Calling period. Although I do think The Clash were overrated (I think based on the fact they read more books than The Damned or The Pistols which was refelcted in their lyrics so the press jacked them off for years and people bought into them being "the only band that matters") they are still a great early punk band. They're behind The Damned and The Pistols in my book but ahead of the Buzzcocks. Just a good tale of a band...more
Blog on Books
Much like the famed 70’s London grafitti that once declared “Clapton is God,” in the 80’s, England’s Clash picked up the appellation “The only band that matters.” If that was the case, the work that mattered most was their seminal third album “London Calling.”

“London Calling” was the band’s first (and only) double album and a piece of work that cemented the band’s reputation with both fans and critics alike (planting itself at or near the top of every critics list from the revered Village Voice...more
Eric Gilliland
Are rock albums worthy of a 500+-page book? In the case of The Clash's landmark 1979 album, London Calling, Yes! Marcus Gray's detailed study of London Calling is much more than a by the numbers "making of" account, but a portrait of an era similar to our own. The year 1979 witnessed the Islamic Revolution in Iran, a near nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island, fears of climate change, massive unemployment in the West, the end of detente after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and the rise of...more
Jan 05, 2012 Jake rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: music
Not bad. Some of his conclusion are a bit off the wall (There's no need to discuss the origins of the skull and crossbones as to why the clash wore it on their clothes, Bob Dylan probably did not do his radio show because Joe Strummer did one, etc) and it would be nice to get the sense that Marcus Gray actually liked the Clash.

As the story of the album it's solid. He does a quality job talking about the history and how it came about. As a critical analysis of the album though, it fails.

If you'...more
This was an amazing find. It's centred round the recording of the London Calling album, and has detail on everything about it.
I'm no musician, but the book evokes a real sense of the process involved in writing and recording.
Each album track is analysed in terms of instruments used, which channel they were recorded on, the influences on the lyrics and musical style and it's context.
The book also charts the evolution of The Clash, their habits, relationships and backgrounds.
It's a truly intricat...more
Apr 02, 2011 Josh rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: music
A 500-page record review-- and of one of my all-time favorite records, no less! Clearly, this is right up my alley, and indeed, it's perhaps the finest example of this kind of long-form music criticism that I've yet read, but even I find parts of it to be a little tedious; the section about the creation of the album artwork is tedious, for instance, but the song-by-song breakdown is pretty consistently compelling (if you love London Calling, anyway) and I also appreciated the "Where Are They Now...more
Loved this lengthy, detailed book on London Calling by The Clash.

Face it, this is one of the best albums ever made and any Clash fan will revel in all the little bits and pieces of info that Gray throws out with wild abandon (like 10 pages on the LP cover!).

Yes, the Clash had all kinds of faults and contradictions but that doesn't detract in the slightest from the wonderful music and electrifying live gigs.

Not sure what to say other than you really should read this book if you love the album o...more
Sean Gardner
This is a great book for any fan of the Clash or the punk movement in general, Marcus Gray does an incredible job writing about the making of the record and the impact that it had on the world after its release. I really loved the in-depth analysis of every track on the record, makes you appreciate the genius of Joe Strummer and the boys. This book also made me reconnect with one of my first musical loves, Reggae Rocksteady! Pick this up and I am sure that you will love reading it!
Much as I love London Calling, this bloated track-by-track extravaganza was very disappointing. and the title is completely misleading. This has next to nothing to do with the number 19 bus. Poorly written, virtually unedited, and barely proofed, this seems like an early draft of a book about which a half-decent editor might reasonably say, "But what's your main idea?" Try again, Marcus.
Richard Lee
This is an excellent analysis of the making of London Calling. It covers the lead up to the making of the album and subsequent years as they related to London Calling. It tells you things you want to know about the songs, the recording process, the personalities and crucially the business arrangements. If I have a criticism it's that in some cases it's over detailed
It's amazing how much can be written about the making of one album and still be interesting, even for a hard core fan. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Great job of researching by Gray.
Jessie Lynn McMains
It's really great, for what it is, but even for a die-hard Clash fan like me I found it hard to get through. I want more of the stories and feelings and less of the cut-and-dried facts, y'know?
This is a great book. Not only is it an in depth review of a brilliant album it also provides an amazing history of the times, the songs influences and all the characters involved. Fascinating.
very detailed , very thorough - the story of the Clash in the year they recorded their landmark album, and how they took it to the world
the Clash is one of my great musical passions. i look forward to reading this
i thought it was excellent but def for only Clash fans
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