10 career-altering third albums from bands in the 1960s and '70s

Things changed for these groups with their third full-length releases.

Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
11 of 11
Next

LONDON CALLING by The Clash (1979)

Full disclosure: I think London Calling is the greatest rock and roll album ever recorded. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The fourth side of the double album is just a bit redundant. But greatness doesn’t equal perfection. What is captured on London Calling is so monumental that it dwarfs any minor flaws.

The album was produced by the legendary Brit Guy Stevens, with assistance from the entire band when his alcohol and drug problems would put him out of commission for a while. Those demons would take Stevens’ life a few years later, but what he and the Clash created at Wessex Studios looms as large today as it did in 1979.

Punk, with its ska and reggae overtones, explores politics and romance, and the restless energy of youth on the edge. The guitars cut like a blade. The drums are explosive. The bass pummels. Joe Strummer’s voice is among the most urgent in all of rock & roll. London Calling was not a big hit, except in Scandinavia, where they seem to hear this type of music with better ears than we do in the rest of the world. But it set up the next couple of hits for the band before they called it quits due to exhaustion in 1986. Each of their six studio albums left a mark. None was bigger than their third.

Read more from AudioPhix

manual