I would love to say, for credibility, I was a fan of The Clash right from the start but the reality is when they first came out, I was more interested in Kiss and Cheap Trick and other bands who were part of the 'establishment' they, and the punk scene in general, often railed against.
But I liked them well enough to buy the Double A side vinyl single for Should I Stay Or Should I Go/Straight To Hell. (Yes, I still have it and again, no, don't bother asking). I also remember fondly watching the videos for London Calling and Rock The Casbah. My reasons for not getting into them more then are many and varied, none of which would have any great interest to you now, dear reader.
It wasn't until some years later when I was working as a volunteer DJ for a community radio station that my appreciation grew into outright love. If asked now, I would say London Calling is my favourite album of all time. If our extensive collection were lost tomorrow, the first replacement I would get would be this one as I can't imagine not having it. The impact of this single (double) album has had on popular music is undeniable. It's a pinnacle moment in modern music history. (Just in case you haven't gathered by now, I really do like this album a lot).
This collection, The Clash - The Singles, is another great starter record for anyone who don't know or are just getting into the band. Given The Clash were never really a singles band anyway, I personally find the collection lacking but this is a personal observation and no reflection on the quality of the material. No, not at all, no way...
VERDICT: TURN IT UP and pogo like your knees are still young
A lot of my last year of school (*cough* 1980 *cough*) was spent sitting on the floor of my best friend's house, listening to her brother's copy of London Calling and reading all the words on the inside sleeves of those big black plastic things... LPs! I remember now. It was a bit of a surprise buy for him, as he'd been a Deep Purple, AC/DC-head up until then.
I also remember playing Rudy Can't Fail over and over and over again when I was trapped in a small country town due to following my first husband through hell AND high water. It seemed a good soundtrack to the scenes from the Falklands invasion I was watching on TV at the time.
I think we got this CD because we didn't have any Clash on CD, and it's not bad for filling in some of the gaps. But as we have London Calling and Sandinista there now, the main point of this one is to have Rock the Casbah and Radio Clash in one convenient location. Both of which have wiggled me around many dance floors in the past, and no doubt will continue to do so into the future.
To my great disappointment, I've never seen the Clash play live, but a few years ago I was lucky enough to see Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros perform. A moment (but only a moment) of silence, please.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP (smashing guitars entirely optional)
For more information: http://www.theclash.com/
In our collection we also have London Calling, Sandinista, Combat Rock, The Story Of The Clash Vol 1 and Live at Shea Stadium