There are those who think that The Clash was at its best during its early punk rock days and others who believe that the band didn't hit its creative stride until London Calling, when the dance floor-friendly rhythm section began to truly take shape. Since this writer falls into the latter category, you'll find The Clash's most splendid dance music moments below. Turn up the volume and cut a rug at your desk. If you're too shy to dance by yourself, though, head to Grand Star Jazz Club in Chinatown tonight where Lovelife! DJs Dorian and Clifton will be spinning a tribute to the iconic band. They will also be collecting donations for Red Cross relief in Haiti.
“The Magnificent Seven”
Taken from the band's triple-album masterpiece Sandinista!, “The Magnificent Seven” is the ultimate Clash dance tune. You can hear the influence of early hip-hop in the track and, conversely, “The Magnificent Seven” (and it's B-side “Magnificent Dance”) became favorites of DJs. Years later, both songs would become one of the major influences on turn-of-the-century dance rock.
“This is Radio Clash”
Despite being a favorite of fans across the globe, “This is Radio Clash” never made it onto the band's original album releases. It was issued as a single in 1981, right between Sandinista and Combat Rock. Like “The Magnificent Seven,” the influence of hip-hop on the band is readily evident here and the track went on to become a hit both on dance floors and radio stations in the U.S.
“The Guns of Brixton”
Taken from London Calling, this classic shows off the chops of Paul Simonon. The bassist wrote and sang this number, which is based on the London neighborhood where he was raised. The track is downright hypnotic, perfect for the end of your night at the club.
“Rock the Casbah” was a smash hit for The Clash (it's also the first music video this writer remembers seeing) and remains one of those songs guaranteed to fill a dance floor. But, if you're in the mood for simply grooving to the beat without feeling compelled to sing at the same time, check out the B-side. “Mustapha Dance” is essentially the same song, minus most of the vocals. It's a jam.
Big Audio Dynamite II “The Globe”
For the second incarnation of Mick Jones' post-Clash project Big Audio Dynamite, he took some inspiration from his former band. The title track from The Globe features a sample from the Jones-penned hit “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” It's a testament to a time when sampling seemed revolutionary.
Editor's note: As we were reading through Liz's post, we couldn't resist chiming in with one more selection, our fave dance floor Clash track:
An instrumental remix of “The Call Up,” from Sandinista!, “The Cool Out” also identifies the Clash as remix revolutionaries. Avid reggae and dub fans, the band drew on Jamaican producers' method of re-using and reworking tracks for new singers or toasters. The Clash used this notion — as well as their familiarity with early hip hop and NYC post-disco, as a springboard, and was one of the most influential and earliest of the British punk bands to begin experimenting with remixing. (If you don't have the disc Super Black Market Clash, you need to grab it pronto.)