Train in Vain
Train in Vain / Bankrobber
London Calling / Combat Rock
Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 2012 edition (number: 8)
If music-loving aliens land and you find yourself, at laser-point, searching for one single example of how rock is supposed to be rolled, then you are strongly advised to recommend London Calling. Because this epic double album, from its iconic sleeve to its wildly eclectic mash-up of styles, is surely the quintessential rock album.
So good in fact that Rolling Stone magazine voted it the best album of the 1980s, even though it actually came out in 1979. This was when The Clash came of age, progressing from the brilliant-but-limited punk rock ire of their first two albums to the stage where they could turn their hand to reggae, ska, rockabilly and pretty much anything else they fancied.
Yet the record never lacks focus and Strummer and Jones' willingness to experiment is never let down by a lack of great songs. Pick from straight-up punk like "Death Or Glory", sweet pop like "Lost In The Supermarket" or dub like the Paul Simenon-penned "Guns of Brixton". They're even confident enough to leave possibly the best song of all, "Train In Vain", un-credited on the sleeve when any other band would be screaming its presence from the rooftops.
Truly, a record so brilliant you'd have to be from another planet not to love it.