Yo Ho! WeRCatz here!
On 12 December 1980, The Clash released their fourth album Sandinista!. This album anticipated the trend of world music before world music became a thing in the 1980s. The album is noted for being experimental with many music genres such as gospel, rockabilly, calypso, funk, reggae, and rap. Speaking of rap, the track “The Magnificent Seven” became the first rap track made by a white band, released six months before Blondie recorded their rap-induced song “Rapture.”
Unlike London Calling, where CBS obligated the band to release it as a double album, The Clash made the decision to get back at CBS. Instead of a regular album, Sandinista became a triple album with three LPs containing six tracks on each side. Another reason for mocking CBS was the fact that Bruce Springsteen’s double album The River was released soon after London Calling. The Clash fought and won the decision to release Sandinista! With the price of a single album to keep the cost low; the band had to forgo royalties to do this.
So let’s talk about some tracks from Sandinista!:
“The Magnificent Seven” gained momentum in the underground scene despite not charting well in the US. While recording in New York, the band found hip hop in a music store in Brooklyn. With their minds blown, they went to work on making hip hop part of their repertoire.
“One More Time” and “One More Dub” were the collaborative works of both The Clash and Mikey Dread. “One More Time” is a straightforward reggae song while “One More Dub” is the dub version of “One More Time.”
“Washington Bullets” tells a simple version of imperial history in Central and South America, from the 1959 Cuban Revolution to the Sandinistas of Nicaragua in 1980. The song also mentions the fate of Victor Jara and Chile, the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Dalai Lama. The US was not spared here, but communism also took a critical hit as this track speaks about the pacifist Buddhist monks of China during the Cultural Revolution and the Invasion of Afghanistan by the former USSR.
Sandinista! Was ahead of its time with the trend of world music. A very experimental album, Sandinista! Won the hearts of some Clash fans while possibly alienating others. Nevertheless, The Clash left another mark in their legacy to music, earning the moniker as “the only band that matters.”