Sandinista!

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Sandinista!
The Clash - Sandinista!.jpg
Studio album by The Clash
Released 12 December 1980 (1980-12-12)
Recorded February 1980, Pluto Studios, Manchester; March 1980, The Power Station, New York City; March–April 1980, Electric Lady Studios, New York City; May 1980, Channel One Studios, Kingston, Jamaica; August 1980, Wessex Studios, London
Genre
Length 144:09
Label CBS, Epic
Producer Mikey Dread, the Clash
The Clash chronology
London Calling
(1979)London Calling1979
Sandinista!
(1980)
Combat Rock
(1982)Combat Rock1982
Singles from Sandinista!
  1. "The Call Up"
    Released: 28 November 1980
  2. "Hitsville UK"
    Released: 16 January 1981
  3. "The Magnificent Seven"
    Released: 10 April 1981

Sandinista! is the fourth studio album by the English band the Clash. It was released on 12 December 1980 as a triple album containing 36 tracks, with 6 songs on each side.[6][7] Anticipating the "world music" trend of the 1980s, it features funk, reggae, jazz, gospel, rockabilly, folk, dub, rhythm and blues, calypso, disco, and rap.[6][7][8] For the first time, the band's traditional songwriting credits of Strummer and Jones were replaced by a generic credit to the Clash,[7] and the band agreed to a decrease in album royalties in order to release the 3-LP at a low price.[9][10]

The title refers to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and its catalogue number, 'FSLN1', refers to the abbreviation of the party's Spanish name, Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional.[8][9][11]

Sandinista! was voted best album of the year in the Pazz & Jop critics poll in The Village Voice, and was ranked number 404 on the Rolling Stone list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" in 2003.[8] Slant Magazine listed the album at number 85 on its "Best Albums of the 1980s" list in 2012.[12]

Background and recording[edit]

The album was recorded over most of 1980, in London, Manchester, Jamaica and New York. It was produced by the band (which essentially meant Mick Jones and Joe Strummer), recorded and mixed by Bill Price, and engineered by Jeremy "Jerry" Green (Wessex Sound Studios), J. P. Nicholson (Electric Lady Studios), Lancelot "Maxie" McKenzie (Channel One Studios), and Bill Price (Pluto + Power Station Studios). Dub versions of some of the songs and toasting was done by Mikey Dread, who had first worked with the band for their 1980 single "Bankrobber". With Sandinista! the band reached beyond punk and reggae into dub, rhythm and blues, calypso, gospel and other genres.[8] The album clearly displays the influence of reggae and producer Lee "Scratch" Perry (who had worked with the band on their 1977 single "Complete Control" and who had opened some of the band's shows during its stand at Bond's in New York in 1980), with a dense, echo-filled sound on even the straight rock songs.[6][7]

When recording began in New York bass guitarist Paul Simonon was busy making a film called Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, and he was replaced briefly by Ian Dury and the Blockheads bassist Norman Watt-Roy; this later caused some bad feeling when Watt-Roy and keyboard player Mickey Gallagher, a fellow Blockhead, claimed they were responsible for co-composing the song "The Magnificent Seven", as the song was based on a tune of theirs. Dread, too, was upset that he was not credited as the album's producer, although he was credited with "Version Mix". Other guests on the album include singer Ellen Foley (Jones' partner at the time), guitarist Ivan Julian formerly of the Voidoids, former Eddie and the Hot Rods member Lew Lewis, and Strummer's old friend and musical collaborator Tymon Dogg, who plays violin, sings on and wrote the track "Lose This Skin"; he later joined Strummer's band the Mescaleros. Gallagher's children also made appearances: his two sons, Luke and Ben, singing a version of "Career Opportunities" from the band's first album, and his daughter Maria singing a snippet of "The Guns of Brixton", from London Calling, at the end of the track "Broadway".[6][7][5]

This is also the only Clash album on which all four members have a lead vocal. Drummer Topper Headon made a unique lead vocal contribution on the disco song "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe", and bassist Paul Simonon sings lead on "The Crooked Beat".[7]

Release[edit]

According to Joe Strummer, the decision to release a triple-LP was the their way of mocking CBS for resisting their desire to release London Calling as a double album, then releasing Bruce Springsteen's double album The River, also on CBS, less than a year later.[13] The band's wish to release the album at a low price was also met with resistance, and they had to forego any royalties on the first 200,000 copies sold in the UK and a 50% cut in royalties elsewhere.[14][15]

Four singles were released from the Sandinista! sessions in the UK: "Bankrobber" (which did not appear on the album), "The Call Up", "Hitsville UK", and "The Magnificent Seven".

A single disc promotional sampler called Sandinista Now! was sent to press and radio. The side one track listing was "Police on My Back", "Somebody Got Murdered", "The Call Up", "Washington Bullets", "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe" and "Hitsville U.K.". The side two track listing was "Up in Heaven (Not Only Here)", "The Magnificent Seven", "The Leader", "Junco Partner", "One More Time" and "The Sound of Sinners".[7][10]

The song "Washington Bullets" was lyricist Joe Strummer's most extensive—and most specific—political statement to date. In it, Strummer name checks conflicts or controversies from around the world; namely in Chile, Nicaragua, Cuba, Afghanistan and Tibet. (In reference to the first three, Strummer seems to side with what he sees as popular leftist movements or governments, while in the latter two, he sharply criticises the policy of Moscow's and Beijing's communist governments for what he sees as their imperialist actions). The Rolling Stone review of Sandinista! calls "Washington Bullets", along with "The Equaliser" and "The Call Up", "the heart of the album".[10][16]

The original, 3-disc vinyl release of Sandinista! included a tri-fold lyric sheet cleverly titled The Armagideon Times, no. 3 (a play on "Armagideon Time", the b-side from the single London Calling.) Armagideon Times, nos. 1 and 2 were Clash fanzines. The lyric sheet featured cartoons credited to Steve Bell, as well as hand-written (but still legible) lyrics of all the original songs. The 2-CD release contains a facsimile of the lyric sheet considerably reduced in size.[6][7]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2.5/5 stars[17]
Alternative Press 4/5[18]
Blender 5/5 stars[19]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 3/5 stars[20]
Q 4/5 stars[21]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[1]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[22]
Select 3/5[23]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 8/10[24]
The Village Voice A−[25]

John Piccarella, in a review for Rolling Stone headlined "The Clash Drop The Big One", argued that in effect, the band said "to hell with Clash style, there's a world out there."[10][26] Some critics have argued that the album would have worked better as a less-ambitious, smaller project, while Piccarella (in his Rolling Stone review) and others think of the album as a breakthrough that deserves comparison to the Beatles' White Album.[9] Robert Christgau wrote in The Village Voice, "if this is their worst—which it is, I think—they must be, er, the world's greatest rock and roll band".[25]

The triple album won several "best of the year" critics polls in 1981. It was voted the best album of the year in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics poll. Dave Marsh noted that it was a record whose topic was as many years ahead of its time as its sound.[27] Alternative Press magazine included Sandinista! on its 2000 list of the "10 Essential Political-Revolution Albums"[28] In 2003, the album was ranked number 404 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[8] The College Media Journal ranked Sandinista! number two on its list of the "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1981".[29]

The Sandinista! Project, a tribute to the album featuring the Smithereens, Camper Van Beethoven, Jon Langford (Mekons) and Sally Timms, Amy Rigby, Katrina Leskanich (of Katrina and the Waves), Wreckless Eric, Willie Nile, Matthew Ryan, Stew, Mark Cutler, Sex Clark Five, Sid Griffin & Coal Porters, Haale, the Blizzard of 78 featuring Mikey Dread, Ruby on the Vine, and many others, was released on 15 May 2007, on the 00:02:59 Records (a label named after a lyric from the Sandinista! song "Hitsville U.K."). The album also features a collaboration by Soul Food and Mickey Gallagher on "Midnight Log".[30][31][32]

Track listing[edit]

The compact disc release has the first three sides on the first CD and the latter three sides on the second CD.

All tracks written by the Clash, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "The Magnificent Seven"   Joe Strummer 5:28
2. "Hitsville UK"   Mick Jones, Ellen Foley 4:20
3. "Junco Partner" "writer, at present, unknown" on liner notes Joe Strummer 4:53
4. "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe"   Topper Headon 3:05
5. "The Leader"   Joe Strummer 1:41
6. "Something About England"   Mick Jones, Joe Strummer 3:42
Total length: 23:09
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Rebel Waltz"   Joe Strummer 3:25
2. "Look Here" Mose Allison Joe Strummer 2:44
3. "The Crooked Beat"   Paul Simonon 5:29
4. "Somebody Got Murdered"   Mick Jones 3:34
5. "One More Time" The Clash, Mikey Dread Joe Strummer 3:32
6. "One More Dub" (dub version of "One More Time") The Clash, Dread Instrumental 3:34
Total length: 22:18
Side three
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Lightning Strikes (Not Once but Twice)"   Joe Strummer 4:51
2. "Up in Heaven (Not Only Here)"   Mick Jones 4:31
3. "Corner Soul"   Joe Strummer 2:43
4. "Let's Go Crazy"   Joe Strummer 4:25
5. "If Music Could Talk" The Clash, Dread Joe Strummer 4:36
6. "The Sound of Sinners"   Joe Strummer 4:00
Total length: 25:06
Side four
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Police on My Back" Eddy Grant; originally performed by the Equals Mick Jones 3:15
2. "Midnight Log"   Joe Strummer 2:11
3. "The Equaliser"   Joe Strummer 5:47
4. "The Call Up"   Joe Strummer 5:25
5. "Washington Bullets"   Joe Strummer 3:51
6. "Broadway" (features an epilogue of "The Guns of Brixton" sung by Maria Gallagher)   Joe Strummer 5:45
Total length: 26:14
Side five
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Lose This Skin" Tymon Dogg Tymon Dogg 5:07
2. "Charlie Don't Surf"   Joe Strummer, Mick Jones 4:55
3. "Mensforth Hill" ("Something About England" backwards with overdubs)   Instrumental 3:42
4. "Junkie Slip"   Joe Strummer 2:48
5. "Kingston Advice"   Joe Strummer, Mick Jones 2:36
6. "The Street Parade"   Joe Strummer 3:26
Total length: 22:34
Side six
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Version City"   Joe Strummer 4:23
2. "Living in Fame" (dub version of "If Music Could Talk") The Clash, Dread Mikey Dread 4:36
3. "Silicone on Sapphire" (dub version of "Washington Bullets")   Joe Strummer 4:32
4. "Version Pardner" (dub version of "Junco Partner")   Joe Strummer 5:22
5. "Career Opportunities"   Luke Gallagher, Ben Gallagher 2:30
6. "Shepherds Delight" (dub version of "Police & Thieves")   Instrumental 3:25
Total length: 24:48 (144:09)

Personnel[edit]

The Clash
  • Joe Strummer – lead and backing vocals, guitar
  • Mick Jones – guitar, backing and lead vocals
  • Paul Simonon – bass guitar, backing vocals, lead vocals on "The Crooked Beat"
  • Topper Headon – drums, lead vocals on "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe"
Additional musicians
  • Tymon Dogg (credited as 'Timon Dogg') - vocals & violin on "Lose This Skin", violin on "Lightning Strikes (Not Once but Twice)", "Something About England", "Mensforth Hill" and "The Equaliser", keyboard on "Sound of the Sinners"
  • Mickey Gallagher (Blockheads) - keyboards
  • Norman Watt-Roy (Blockheads) - bass
  • J.P. Nicholson (also one of the album's engineers)
  • Ellen Foley - co-lead vocal on "Hitsville U.K."
  • Davey Payne (Blockheads) - saxophone
  • Rick Gascoigne - trombone
  • Band Sgt. Dave Yates
  • Den Hegarty (Darts) - vocals
  • Luke & Ben Gallagher - vocals on "Career Opportunities"
  • Maria Gallagher - coda vocals on "Broadway"
  • Gary Barnacle - saxophone
  • Arthur Edward "Bill" Barnacle (Gary's father) - trumpet
  • Jody Linscott - percussion
  • Ivan Julian (Voidoids) - guitar
  • Noel "Tempo" Bailey (aka Sowell, reggae artist/session man) - guitar
  • Anthony Nelson Steelie (Wycliffe Johnson of Steely and Clevie)
  • Lew Lewis (Eddie and the Hot Rods) - harmonica
  • Gerald Baxter-Warman
  • Terry McQuade (had a small role in Rude Boy)
  • Rudolph Adolphus Jordan
  • Battersea
  • Mikey Dread - vocals on "The Crooked Beat"
Production

Chart positions[edit]

Album[edit]

Year Chart Position
1980 UK Album Chart 19
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[33] 3
Norwegian Albums Chart.[34] 8
Swedish Albums Chart[35] 9
1981 Billboard Pop albums[36] 24
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[37] 3

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Position
1980 "C"The Call Up" UK Charts 40
"C"Police On My Back" US Mainstream Rock Tracks 21
1981 "Hitsville U.K." UK Charts 56
US Mainstream Rock Tracks 53
"M"The Magnificent Seven" UK Charts 34
1982 US Billboard Club Play Singles 21

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
France (SNEP)[38] Gold 302,100[39]
United States (RIAA)[40] Gold 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[41] Gold 100,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Piccarella, John (5 March 1981). "Sandinista!". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  2. ^ Hegarty, Paul; Halliwell, Martin (2011). Beyond and Before: Progressive Rock since the 1960s. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 171. 
  3. ^ Rowley, Scott (September 15, 2016). "The 48 minute long classic album hidden inside The Clash's Sandinista!". TeamRock. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  4. ^ Roffman, Michael (July 11, 2008). "Rock History 101: The Clash's "Washington Bullets"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Sandinista! Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Letts Don; Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon, Terry Chimes, Rick Elgood, the Clash (2001). The Clash, Westway to the World (Documentary). New York, NY: Sony Music Entertainment, Dorismo, Uptown Films. Event occurs at 55:00–63:00. ISBN 0-7389-0082-6. OCLC 49798077. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Gilbert, Pat (2005) [2004]. "8–13, Epilogue, Discography, Bibliography". Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash (4th ed.). London: Aurum Press. pp. 321, 332, 362, 367, 373–388. ISBN 1-84513-113-4. OCLC 61177239. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "404) Sandinista https://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/6626684/404_sandinista". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814.  External link in |chapter= (help)
    Related news articles:
  9. ^ a b c Interviewer: Unknown; Presenter: Kurt Loder. "MTV Rockumentary". London, England http://www.londonsburning.org/art_mtv_rockumentary_2.html. MTV.  line feed character in |location= at position 16 (help); Missing or empty |series= (help)
    Related news articles:
  10. ^ a b c d Deeth, John. "Turning Rebellion Into Money: The Story of the Clash". jdeeth.home.mchsi.com. Archived from the original on 24 January 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  11. ^ Jaffee, Larry. "The Politics of Rock". Popular Music and Society, Winter 1987, pp. 19–30.
  12. ^ "Best Albums of the 1980s". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  13. ^ Hall, Peter. "The Year of the Clash" Rolling Stone 19 August 1982
  14. ^ Hewitt, Paolo. "The Clash: Joe Strummer Answers The Call-Up" Melody Maker 13 December 1980
  15. ^ Fricke, David. "Clashing in?" Rolling Stone 16 April 1982
  16. ^ Peet, Preston (2001-07-09). "where's the clash when we need them?". Disinformation. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  17. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Sandinista! – The Clash". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  18. ^ "The Clash: Sandinista!". Alternative Press. Cleveland (140): 74–75. March 2000. 
  19. ^ Wolk, Douglas (21 August 2007). "The Clash: Sandinista!". Blender. New York. Archived from the original on 2 July 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2016. 
  20. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  21. ^ "The Clash: Sandinista!". Q. London (159): 152–53. December 1999. 
  22. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "The Clash". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 167–68. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  23. ^ "Clash Reissues". Select. London (114): 88. December 1999. 
  24. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 
  25. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (2 March 1981). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  26. ^ Piccarella, John (5 March 1981). "Red-Hot Rock and Roll, A Joyful Noise and Politics That Live: The Clash Drop the Big One". Rolling Stone: 57–58. 
  27. ^ Dave, Marsh (1999) [1989]. The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, N.Y.: Da Capo Press. p. 78. ISBN 0-306-80901-X. OCLC 40200194. 
  28. ^ "10 Essential Political-Revolution Albums". Alternative Press: 144. November 2000. 
  29. ^ "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1981". College Media Journal: 8. 5 January 2004. 
  30. ^ Clash, The; Joe Grushecky; Katrina Leskanich; Willie Nile; Ship & Pilot.; Soul Food (Musical group); Sunset Heroes (2004-09-21). The Sandinista! Project A Tribute to the Clash (Compact Disc). England: 00:02:59 Records. OCLC 178980813. 
  31. ^ "The Sandinista Project". sandinista.guterman.com. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  32. ^ "Cary Baker's conqueroo - The Sandinista! Project Announcements". conqueroo.com. Retrieved 2008-02-20. 
  33. ^ "Charts.org.nz – The Clash – Sandinista!". Hung Medien.
  34. ^ "Discography The Clash". NorwegianCharts.com. Retrieved 17 February 2008.
  35. ^ "Discography The Clash". SwedishCharts.com. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
  36. ^ "The Clash > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
  37. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 34, No. 15, March 21, 1981". RPM. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  38. ^ "French album certifications – The Clash – Sandinista!" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  39. ^ "Les Albums Or". infodisc.fr. SNEP. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  40. ^ "American album certifications – The Clash – Sandinista!". Recording Industry Association of America. 1999-04-20.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  41. ^ "British album certifications – The Clash – Sandinista!". British Phonographic Industry. 2013-07-22.  Enter Sandinista! in the search field and then press Enter.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]