Wednesday, December 16, 2009

london calling at the top of the dial

Unbelievably it's 30 years ago this week since the Clash released their 'difficult' 3rd album London Calling. Still the greatest of all time IMHO.

I can still remember legging it down to The Other Record Shop in Aberdeen after school - fiver in hand - to buy it.

The Clash were famously in debt to CBS for many years due to the fan friendly price point.

A fiver for a double LP in 1979 was commercial suicide for a band relying on major label funding for recording, production, manufacturing and distribution.

Whereas now a band can give the music away for free and make more money, without compromising the connection with true fans.

The Clash were, of course, masters of branding.
Not marketing tricks (they often failed at that) - but having a single, ownable brand idea and sticking with it, building the story (or myth)at every touchpoint, but having an inclusive story that the audience could feel ownership of.

I'm reminded of Tom Peters' top 5 brand questions.

1 - WHO are YOU?
2 - WHY are YOU here?
3 - How are YOU UNIQUE?
5 - WHO CARES about you?

This Jon Savage nugget easily answered all of those questions.

'The first thing that needs to be said is that the Clash’s legend is deserved. After the middle of 1977, when the Sex Pistols became remote, stalled in outrage, the Clash became the leading UK punk rock group: it fell to them to articulate, advise (for that was in their nature) and galvanise the energies of a new and rapidly growing rock community. Like the Sex Pistols, their ambitions went beyond music: they aimed to dramatise a city – London – and a country in crisis. As their name baldly stated, they were programmed for confrontation, contradiction and conflict – and they got all three in spades.'

Below is a Mick's 'hilarious' take on what constitutes a 'sell-out'.

blog comments powered by Disqus