On this day in the '80s: The Clash releases 'Combat Rock'
What were you doing May 14, 1982? Standing in line at a record store to buy Combat Rock by The Clash would be the best possible answer.
"On the surface of things, Combat Rock appears to be a retreat from the sprawling stylistic explorations of London Calling and Sandinista!," writes the reviewer on Allmusic.com. "The pounding arena rock of Should I Stay or Should I Go makes the Clash sound like an arena rock band, and much of the album boasts a muscular, heavy sound courtesy of producer Glyn Johns. But things aren't quite that simple."
No, nothing was ever simple with the Clash. Originally intending to produce a double-album, the Clash initially titled this work-in-progress Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg. Eventually it'd be pared down to 12 tracks within 46 minutes.
The album went Top 10 in the UK and US, eventually achieving double-platinum status.
Rolling Stone gave it four out of five stars, saying in part:
This record is a declaration of real-life emergency, a provocative, demanding document of classic punk anger, reflective questioning and nerve-wracking frustration. It is written in songwriter-guitarists Joe Strummer and Mick Jones' now-familiar rock Esperanto, ranging from the locomotive disco steam of 'Overpowered by Funk' and the frisky Bo Diddley strut of 'Car Jamming' to the mutant-cabaret sway of the LP's chilling coda, 'Death Is the Star.' And like every Clash record from 1977's 'White Riot' on, it carries the magnum force of the group's convictions in the bold rhythmic punch of bassist Paul Simonon and drummer Topper Headon and the guitar-army bash of Strummer and Jones. Yet Combat Rock's overwhelming sense of impending doom suggests the Clash still have no pat answer to the age-old musical question: after sounding the alarm, what more can a rock & roll band do?"