Recorded in 1979 in London, which was then wrenched by surging unemployment and drug addiction, and released in America in January 1980, the dawn of an uncertain decade, London Calling is 19 songs of apocalypse fueled by an unbending faith in rock & roll to beat back the darkness. Produced with no-surrender energy by legendary Sixties studio madman Guy Stevens, the Clash’s third album sounds like a free-form radio broadcast from the end of the world, skidding from bleak punk (“London Calling”) to rampaging ska (“Wrong ’Em Boyo”) and disco resignation (“Lost in the Supermarket”).
The album was made in dire straits too. Although the Clash ﬁred singles into the Britain’s Top 40 with machine-gun regularity, the band was heavily in debt and openly at war with its record company. Singer-guitarists Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, the Clash’s Lennon and McCartney, wrote together in Jones’ grandmother’s ﬂat, where he was living for lack of dough. “Joe, once he learned how to type, would bang the lyrics out at a high rate of good stuff,” Jones noted. “Then I’d be able to bang out some music while he was hitting the typewriter.” Stevens was on hand for inspiration. He threw chairs around the room “if he thought a track needed zapping up,” according to Strummer. The album ends with “Train in Vain,” a rousing song of ﬁdelity (originally unlisted on the back cover) that became the sound of triumph: the Clash’s ﬁrst Top 30 single in the U.S. - RollingStone.com