Film Documentary – “The Last Testament – The Making of London Calling”
At the end of the 70s the Clash had toured the UK and US with limited success and had broken up with their manager. They were at a low point in 1979 and starting to work on a new record.
The resulting double album London Calling would not only prove the Clash were the most talented of punk bands, with a range of styles that ran from punk to reggae, rock to R&B, pop to jazz. It would also make them into worldwide rock icons.
For this turning point record, the Clash chose eccentric Brit producer Guy Stevens. During the course of the short film this wild-haired producer attacks the project like nothing you’ve ever seen. He verbally and physically pushes the Clash as they record some of the most famous rock tracks of all time.
Who wouldn’t be charged up when the producer is rushing at you with the legs of a chair, throwing furniture around the studio and wrestling with the engineer (literally wrestling) over the faders on the control board? The Clash (who I’m guessing were already pretty jaded by this point) look on in sheer amazement.
You can stream the whole video for free here.
Tune in to Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP 90.3FM in Seattle, kexp.org. Music historian, documentary producer and DJ, she’s made over 200 radio stories for KEXP Documentaries and written scripts, lesson plans and features for Experience Music Project, University of Washington and NPR. She spins dance sets of soul, funk and electronic music every third Thursday at Electric Tea Garden in Seattle.