Monday, November 3, 2014

Song of the Day: The Clash - Armagideon Time (1979)

Dredging up Prince's greatest B-Side yesterday reminded me of this song, which just might be my favorite B-Side ever. 

"Armagideon Time" is a cover of a reggae song by Willi Williams, and it was the flip-side to the classic single "London Calling." The Clash recorded a fair amount of reggae around this time, and at the risk of sounding like a philistine, I like most of it better than the original source material. But beyond just being a great song recorded by a great band at the peak of their powers, this song has a story behind it that makes me love it even more.

The engineer, Kosmo Vinyl, had a theory that the perfect single was 3 minutes long, so the plan was the band would just play the song live in the studio and they'd fade out the recording to hit three minutes. So at about the 2:58 mark, you can hear Kosmo Vinyl announce from the recording booth that they got to three minutes, and the band briefly stops, before frontman Joe Strummer shouts back, "Okay, okay, don't push us when we're hot!" And with those words, the band jumps right back in and jams out for another minute. 

I love 1) that Joe knew how hot the band was and that they should keep it going, and 2) that they had both the playfulness and pomposity to keep that exchange on the recording. 99% of bands would have either edited it out or just recorded another take. But rules weren't for The Clash, and that's what made them legends.

This was originally written and posted on Facebook on May 29, 2014

Check out the Song of the Day Archive!!

No comments:

Post a Comment