The Clash’s Mysterious Vanilla Recordings of ‘London Calling’ Tracks.
Above Photo: The Clash. The Vanilla tapes were lost for 25 years.
A band frequently mentioned in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out! is The Clash.
The Clash’s double album, London Calling, was released in December 1979. The tracks on it were written at Vanilla Studios, 36 Causton Street, off Vauxhall Bridge Road in Pimlico, London between May and August 1979. The studios were literally ‘down by the river’ near Vauxhall Bridge.
In 1978, after the Clash had recorded Give ‘Em Enough Rope’, they split from their manager Bernie Rhodes, and with him went their famous Camden Town rehearsal studios, so they set about finding a new rehearsal studio and came across Vanilla in a small-ad in a newspaper.
Located above a car repair garage, they moved into the studios in the summer of 1979, and quickly set about writing the tracks for what would become the London Calling album.
While they were rehearsing the album, the band also recorded rougher versions of all the album tracks onto a four-track tape machine in Vanilla Studios.
The tapes were subsequently lost, but Clash band members sometimes referred to a self-recorded LP on a few occasions and in March 2004, guitarist Mick Jones discovered the tapes in a box at his home. He said the tapes “hadn’t been heard since before the record was made. It was pretty amazing.”
The Guardian called the tapes “a collection of demos and rehearsals that still manage to sound more focused, intelligent and relevant than most of today’s young pretenders.”
There’s one song that didn’t even make London Calling, which I think is a superb track, called Heart and Mind – I’ve added a You Tube link to it below, as well as the Vanilla versions of Lost in The Supermarket, Rudi Can’t Fail and Hateful. (You Tube Note: Some of these tracks can’t be played in some countries – for copyright reasons, apparently.)
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Heart and Mind:
Lost in the Supermarket:
Rudi Can’t Fail: