Sequencing of US Debut

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Sequencing of US Debut

Post by ejf1008 »

I don't know if this is common knowledge among Clash fans, or answered clearly in umpteen different band bios, but I tried googling to find the answer to this and came up with nothing:

Who was responsible for the sequencing of the U.S. version of The Clash? I grew up in the era of the pre-remastered CDs, so the US version is the one that I actually know and love. (Also, as a result, I was always desperate to hear the mysterious four songs from the UK version, but wasn't going to spend my scant $$ on the fancy Clash on Broadway box set, so in those pre-filesharing/youtube/spotify days, all I could do was wonder what they sounded like!)

Anyway, I've always been intrigued by the way that the songs on the first side are arranged so that the singles/album tracks are in dialogue with each other. (Robert Christgau's review refers to it as "self-contained pairs.") You have Place/Community ("Clash City Rockers"/"I'm So Bored Of the USA"), Race ("White Riot"/"White Man In Hammersmith Palais"), Lawlessness ("London's Burning"/"I Fought The Law") and, of course, whether Epic should have released "Remote Control" as a single ("Remote Control"/"Complete Control"). I especially always loved how the moment the song "Remote Control" ends, the next thing you hear is "They said, release 'Remote Control'..."

So, I'm curious -- did the band have anything to do with that sequencing? Or was it just some clever anonymous A&R guy at the U.S. label whose identity is lost to time forever?

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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by Heston »

ejf1008 wrote:
03 Aug 2021, 7:23pm
I don't know if this is common knowledge among Clash fans, or answered clearly in umpteen different band bios, but I tried googling to find the answer to this and came up with nothing:

Who was responsible for the sequencing of the U.S. version of The Clash? I grew up in the era of the pre-remastered CDs, so the US version is the one that I actually know and love. (Also, as a result, I was always desperate to hear the mysterious four songs from the UK version, but wasn't going to spend my scant $$ on the fancy Clash on Broadway box set, so in those pre-filesharing/youtube/spotify days, all I could do was wonder what they sounded like!)

Anyway, I've always been intrigued by the way that the songs on the first side are arranged so that the singles/album tracks are in dialogue with each other. (Robert Christgau's review refers to it as "self-contained pairs.") You have Place/Community ("Clash City Rockers"/"I'm So Bored Of the USA"), Race ("White Riot"/"White Man In Hammersmith Palais"), Lawlessness ("London's Burning"/"I Fought The Law") and, of course, whether Epic should have released "Remote Control" as a single ("Remote Control"/"Complete Control"). I especially always loved how the moment the song "Remote Control" ends, the next thing you hear is "They said, release 'Remote Control'..."

So, I'm curious -- did the band have anything to do with that sequencing? Or was it just some clever anonymous A&R guy at the U.S. label whose identity is lost to time forever?
I can only imagine TeddyB might be able to give some real insight into this one. I suspect the band were in on it, they were utter control freaks.
There's a tiny, tiny hopeful part of me that says you guys are running a Kaufmanesque long con on the board

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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by TeddyB Not Logged In »

Yes, the group sequenced the US version. Hes is right, they would never have let anyone else do it. In fact, they have sequenced every release, all the official compilations, even the Singles collection where Mick agreed to include This is England, which he regrets.

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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by matedog »

TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
03 Aug 2021, 10:56pm
Yes, the group sequenced the US version. Hes is right, they would never have let anyone else do it. In fact, they have sequenced every release, all the official compilations, even the Singles collection where Mick agreed to include This is England, which he regrets.
Thanks for the verification, Teddy. Also, I don't think I knew that Mick regrets including TIE.

Good question Eric!
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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by Flex »

matedog wrote:
04 Aug 2021, 11:10am
Thanks for the verification, Teddy. Also, I don't think I knew that Mick regrets including TIE.
Yeah, that's new. FWIW, I think more than anything it reflects very well on Mick that he allowed it on. I thought it was a very classy move at the time and I still think that.
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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by Sparky »

Flex wrote:
04 Aug 2021, 11:22am
matedog wrote:
04 Aug 2021, 11:10am
Thanks for the verification, Teddy. Also, I don't think I knew that Mick regrets including TIE.
Yeah, that's new. FWIW, I think more than anything it reflects very well on Mick that he allowed it on. I thought it was a very classy move at the time and I still think that.
Agreed, he clearly took the high road by allowing a mediocre song at best that he had no involvement with whatsoever to be included on it.
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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by Low Down Low »

Sparky wrote:
04 Aug 2021, 12:46pm
Flex wrote:
04 Aug 2021, 11:22am
matedog wrote:
04 Aug 2021, 11:10am
Thanks for the verification, Teddy. Also, I don't think I knew that Mick regrets including TIE.
Yeah, that's new. FWIW, I think more than anything it reflects very well on Mick that he allowed it on. I thought it was a very classy move at the time and I still think that.
Agreed, he clearly took the high road by allowing a mediocre song at best that he had no involvement with whatsoever to be included on it.
Micks always come across as a classy guy to me so not really surprised by it. Intrigued that he'd regret it though, but I'm certain he has his reasons and would always respect that. On a personal level I think it is a fantastic song, really powerful Joe lyric so on that level, I'm happy enough it's there.

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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by white man »

Agreed. A good move by Mick

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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by msza2 »

TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
03 Aug 2021, 10:56pm
Yes, the group sequenced the US version. Hes is right, they would never have let anyone else do it. In fact, they have sequenced every release, all the official compilations, even the Singles collection where Mick agreed to include This is England, which he regrets.
I'm listening to the US s/t this morning and went hunting for this thread.

We've solved the sequencing question but I'm curious Teddy if you or anyone else may know the circumstances behind track selection of the US version. Did the band also have "complete control" over which songs were dropped from the original and which singles were added?

If so then it seems to imply that they weren't in favor of releasing it in the States in it's original configuration. At first that seems a bit surprising as the most famous example of reconfigured US versions of UK albums comes from the Beatles's early catalogue and they supposedly hated that the original albums were altered for the US.

I can see a scenario, though, in which the label tells the Clash that they have finally come to their senses and decided to release the debut in the States, and then the band, in keeping with their value-for-money ethos, says, "well a lot of people have bought it as an import already so we'll add some newer material." Then again they could have just preferred the newer songs and/or dropped the songs from the album that they had already dropped from their live repertoire.

But then it makes me wonder why they wouldn't have thrown on other songs like the Prison, City of the Dead, and Capital Radio. So many questions!

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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by Marky Dread »

msza2 wrote:
01 Oct 2022, 10:46am
TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
03 Aug 2021, 10:56pm
Yes, the group sequenced the US version. Hes is right, they would never have let anyone else do it. In fact, they have sequenced every release, all the official compilations, even the Singles collection where Mick agreed to include This is England, which he regrets.
I'm listening to the US s/t this morning and went hunting for this thread.

We've solved the sequencing question but I'm curious Teddy if you or anyone else may know the circumstances behind track selection of the US version. Did the band also have "complete control" over which songs were dropped from the original and which singles were added?

If so then it seems to imply that they weren't in favor of releasing it in the States in it's original configuration. At first that seems a bit surprising as the most famous example of reconfigured US versions of UK albums comes from the Beatles's early catalogue and they supposedly hated that the original albums were altered for the US.

I can see a scenario, though, in which the label tells the Clash that they have finally come to their senses and decided to release the debut in the States, and then the band, in keeping with their value-for-money ethos, says, "well a lot of people have bought it as an import already so we'll add some newer material." Then again they could have just preferred the newer songs and/or dropped the songs from the album that they had already dropped from their live repertoire.

But then it makes me wonder why they wouldn't have thrown on other songs like the Prison, City of the Dead, and Capital Radio. So many questions!
The important thing to remember is it's not a debut album it's a compilation. In my opinion this album should've had a different title and packaging.
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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by msza2 »

Marky Dread wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 4:22am
msza2 wrote:
01 Oct 2022, 10:46am
TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
03 Aug 2021, 10:56pm
Yes, the group sequenced the US version. Hes is right, they would never have let anyone else do it. In fact, they have sequenced every release, all the official compilations, even the Singles collection where Mick agreed to include This is England, which he regrets.
I'm listening to the US s/t this morning and went hunting for this thread.

We've solved the sequencing question but I'm curious Teddy if you or anyone else may know the circumstances behind track selection of the US version. Did the band also have "complete control" over which songs were dropped from the original and which singles were added?

If so then it seems to imply that they weren't in favor of releasing it in the States in it's original configuration. At first that seems a bit surprising as the most famous example of reconfigured US versions of UK albums comes from the Beatles's early catalogue and they supposedly hated that the original albums were altered for the US.

I can see a scenario, though, in which the label tells the Clash that they have finally come to their senses and decided to release the debut in the States, and then the band, in keeping with their value-for-money ethos, says, "well a lot of people have bought it as an import already so we'll add some newer material." Then again they could have just preferred the newer songs and/or dropped the songs from the album that they had already dropped from their live repertoire.

But then it makes me wonder why they wouldn't have thrown on other songs like the Prison, City of the Dead, and Capital Radio. So many questions!
The important thing to remember is it's not a debut album it's a compilation. In my opinion this album should've had a different title and packaging.
Yeah, I think that's a fair assessment, though I'd argue that distinction is baked into the UK/US terminology.

I remember standing in the record store holding the UK album in one hand and the US edition in the other and trying to decide which to buy. Even though I could intuit that the UK version must have been the original as they were a UK band, I still went with the one that had White Man on it as I already knew and loved that song. I listened to that album to death and to this day its one of my all-time favorite records, whatever one wants to call it.

I love the snapshot it captures. Song-wise it's very similar to the Fall '77 setlists, where they're still wielding the raw power of the debut album material while really branching out with the new singles. It's a perfect storm, capturing the peak of their repertoire right before they ebbed a bit with the GEER material, which was overall less visceral than the debut songs and less experimental than the singles that preceded it. Just in my opinion, of course!

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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by motorsmell »

Marky Dread wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 4:22am
msza2 wrote:
01 Oct 2022, 10:46am
TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
03 Aug 2021, 10:56pm
Yes, the group sequenced the US version. Hes is right, they would never have let anyone else do it. In fact, they have sequenced every release, all the official compilations, even the Singles collection where Mick agreed to include This is England, which he regrets.
I'm listening to the US s/t this morning and went hunting for this thread.

We've solved the sequencing question but I'm curious Teddy if you or anyone else may know the circumstances behind track selection of the US version. Did the band also have "complete control" over which songs were dropped from the original and which singles were added?

If so then it seems to imply that they weren't in favor of releasing it in the States in it's original configuration. At first that seems a bit surprising as the most famous example of reconfigured US versions of UK albums comes from the Beatles's early catalogue and they supposedly hated that the original albums were altered for the US.

I can see a scenario, though, in which the label tells the Clash that they have finally come to their senses and decided to release the debut in the States, and then the band, in keeping with their value-for-money ethos, says, "well a lot of people have bought it as an import already so we'll add some newer material." Then again they could have just preferred the newer songs and/or dropped the songs from the album that they had already dropped from their live repertoire.

But then it makes me wonder why they wouldn't have thrown on other songs like the Prison, City of the Dead, and Capital Radio. So many questions!
The important thing to remember is it's not a debut album it's a compilation. In my opinion this album should've had a different title and packaging.
I've got the Japanese pressing called Pearl harbor that has ( the same track list as the U.S press, I think). Rather than the usual OBI strip with Japanese info on they gave it an extra sleeve completely changing the art and title..

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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by Marky Dread »

msza2 wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 9:41am
Marky Dread wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 4:22am
msza2 wrote:
01 Oct 2022, 10:46am
TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
03 Aug 2021, 10:56pm
Yes, the group sequenced the US version. Hes is right, they would never have let anyone else do it. In fact, they have sequenced every release, all the official compilations, even the Singles collection where Mick agreed to include This is England, which he regrets.
I'm listening to the US s/t this morning and went hunting for this thread.

We've solved the sequencing question but I'm curious Teddy if you or anyone else may know the circumstances behind track selection of the US version. Did the band also have "complete control" over which songs were dropped from the original and which singles were added?

If so then it seems to imply that they weren't in favor of releasing it in the States in it's original configuration. At first that seems a bit surprising as the most famous example of reconfigured US versions of UK albums comes from the Beatles's early catalogue and they supposedly hated that the original albums were altered for the US.

I can see a scenario, though, in which the label tells the Clash that they have finally come to their senses and decided to release the debut in the States, and then the band, in keeping with their value-for-money ethos, says, "well a lot of people have bought it as an import already so we'll add some newer material." Then again they could have just preferred the newer songs and/or dropped the songs from the album that they had already dropped from their live repertoire.

But then it makes me wonder why they wouldn't have thrown on other songs like the Prison, City of the Dead, and Capital Radio. So many questions!
The important thing to remember is it's not a debut album it's a compilation. In my opinion this album should've had a different title and packaging.
Yeah, I think that's a fair assessment, though I'd argue that distinction is baked into the UK/US terminology.

I remember standing in the record store holding the UK album in one hand and the US edition in the other and trying to decide which to buy. Even though I could intuit that the UK version must have been the original as they were a UK band, I still went with the one that had White Man on it as I already knew and loved that song. I listened to that album to death and to this day its one of my all-time favorite records, whatever one wants to call it.

I love the snapshot it captures. Song-wise it's very similar to the Fall '77 setlists, where they're still wielding the raw power of the debut album material while really branching out with the new singles. It's a perfect storm, capturing the peak of their repertoire right before they ebbed a bit with the GEER material, which was overall less visceral than the debut songs and less experimental than the singles that preceded it. Just in my opinion, of course!
Your opinion is correct of course and it's a fantastic listen. But you simply can't have "I Fought the Law" on the debut hence it will always be a compilation. Why in 1979 the US label felt "Deny" "Cheat" "48 Hours" and "Protex Blue" were not fit for US punk ears is beyond me.
Loads of rougher sounding punk rock released by then. The truth has to be they knew a compilation would sell way more. But why make fans pay for expensive imports when they could've just as easy released it and a second comp of A's and B's.
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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by Marky Dread »

motorsmell wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 12:24pm
Marky Dread wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 4:22am
msza2 wrote:
01 Oct 2022, 10:46am
TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
03 Aug 2021, 10:56pm
Yes, the group sequenced the US version. Hes is right, they would never have let anyone else do it. In fact, they have sequenced every release, all the official compilations, even the Singles collection where Mick agreed to include This is England, which he regrets.
I'm listening to the US s/t this morning and went hunting for this thread.

We've solved the sequencing question but I'm curious Teddy if you or anyone else may know the circumstances behind track selection of the US version. Did the band also have "complete control" over which songs were dropped from the original and which singles were added?

If so then it seems to imply that they weren't in favor of releasing it in the States in it's original configuration. At first that seems a bit surprising as the most famous example of reconfigured US versions of UK albums comes from the Beatles's early catalogue and they supposedly hated that the original albums were altered for the US.

I can see a scenario, though, in which the label tells the Clash that they have finally come to their senses and decided to release the debut in the States, and then the band, in keeping with their value-for-money ethos, says, "well a lot of people have bought it as an import already so we'll add some newer material." Then again they could have just preferred the newer songs and/or dropped the songs from the album that they had already dropped from their live repertoire.

But then it makes me wonder why they wouldn't have thrown on other songs like the Prison, City of the Dead, and Capital Radio. So many questions!
The important thing to remember is it's not a debut album it's a compilation. In my opinion this album should've had a different title and packaging.
I've got the Japanese pressing called Pearl harbor that has ( the same track list as the U.S press, I think). Rather than the usual OBI strip with Japanese info on they gave it an extra sleeve completely changing the art and title..
Yes I have that with the extra outer sleeve. Plus the 7" of Gates of the West/Groovy Times.
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Forces have been looting
My humanity
Curfews have been curbing
The end of liberty


We're the flowers in the dustbin...
No fuchsias for you.

"Without the common people you're nothing"

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Re: Sequencing of US Debut

Post by deny »

Marky Dread wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 3:02pm
motorsmell wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 12:24pm
Marky Dread wrote:
03 Oct 2022, 4:22am
msza2 wrote:
01 Oct 2022, 10:46am
TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
03 Aug 2021, 10:56pm
Yes, the group sequenced the US version. Hes is right, they would never have let anyone else do it. In fact, they have sequenced every release, all the official compilations, even the Singles collection where Mick agreed to include This is England, which he regrets.
I'm listening to the US s/t this morning and went hunting for this thread.

We've solved the sequencing question but I'm curious Teddy if you or anyone else may know the circumstances behind track selection of the US version. Did the band also have "complete control" over which songs were dropped from the original and which singles were added?

If so then it seems to imply that they weren't in favor of releasing it in the States in it's original configuration. At first that seems a bit surprising as the most famous example of reconfigured US versions of UK albums comes from the Beatles's early catalogue and they supposedly hated that the original albums were altered for the US.

I can see a scenario, though, in which the label tells the Clash that they have finally come to their senses and decided to release the debut in the States, and then the band, in keeping with their value-for-money ethos, says, "well a lot of people have bought it as an import already so we'll add some newer material." Then again they could have just preferred the newer songs and/or dropped the songs from the album that they had already dropped from their live repertoire.

But then it makes me wonder why they wouldn't have thrown on other songs like the Prison, City of the Dead, and Capital Radio. So many questions!
The important thing to remember is it's not a debut album it's a compilation. In my opinion this album should've had a different title and packaging.
I've got the Japanese pressing called Pearl harbor that has ( the same track list as the U.S press, I think). Rather than the usual OBI strip with Japanese info on they gave it an extra sleeve completely changing the art and title..
Yes I have that with the extra outer sleeve. Plus the 7" of Gates of the West/Groovy Times.
The extra outer sleeve is actually the obi for the album.
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