The Clash – Sandinista
July 25, 2023
During the punk transition period from late 70’s into early 80’s The Clash were labelled as ‘the only band that matters’ largely due to the phenomenal success of their double album London Calling (1979) which was met with widespread critical acclaim and retrospectively named one of the greatest albums of all time. So how does the ‘only band that matters’ even attempt to follow up a double album that carried such esteem…well you release a Triple Album right? Which is exactly what The Clash did in 1980/81. It was a sign of their credential and pulling power that a record company would even allow this to happen.
According to Joe Strummer, the decision to release a triple-LP was their way of mocking their record company, CBS, for resisting their desire to release London Calling as a double album, then releasing Bruce Springsteen’s double album The River less than a year later.
Not only did they push the envelope to get a triple album in the stores they also insisted on it being released at the price of a single album. The record company agreed but The Clash had to forgo any royalties on the first 200,000 copies sold in the UK and a 50% cut in royalties elsewhere.
The (triple) album is an astonishing accomplishment containing 36 tracks, that crosses an extraordinary diverse range of genres including funk, reggae, jazz, gospel, rockabilly, folk, dub, rhythm and blues, calypso, disco, and rap.
This episode of Alt.Eighties takes in some highlights from this much maligned masterpiece.