London Calling, 25 years later

It’s the 25 anniversary (sort of) of The Clash’s London Calling (1979), one of my favorite albums of all time.  Stephen Metcalf reconsiders the significance of the album and the band in Slate.

With London Calling, the Clash merged the arty daring and political sincerity of the ’60s with the rage and trashy nihilism of the ’70s. Pop music has been many things since, but it has never again been as artistically and commercially dominated by rock ‘n’ roll. Now that London Calling is 25 years old, an anniversary currently being celebrated with a handsome box set and a lot of reverential air guitar, the time has come to think of their record as the lads intended: as the headstone for the rock era.

Why were the Clash so well-positioned to take punk rock beyond punk rock?