“London Calling” by The Clash

Today’s Classic Bass Line is from “London Calling” by The Clash.

Paul Simonon

Vilgilante Justice

The Sex Pistols may have been the first British punk rock band, but the Clash were the definitive British punk rockers.  Where the Pistols were nihilistic, the Clash were fiery and idealistic, charged with righteousness and a leftist political ideology.  From the outset, the band was more musically adventurous, expanding its hard rock & roll with reggae, dub, and rockabilly among other roots musics.  Furthermore, they were blessed with two exceptional songwriters in Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, each with a distinctive voice and style.  Though the Clash never became the superstars they always threatened to become, they restored passion and protest to rock & roll. For a while, they really did seem like “the only band that mattered.” – from AllMusic

London Calling is a song by the British punk rock band The Clash.  It was released as a single from the band’s 1979 double album London Calling.  This apocalyptic, politically charged rant features the band’s famous combination of reggae bass lines and punk electric guitar and vocals.  – Wikipedia

Bassist and founding member Paul Simonon plays this iconic bass line.  Simonon is known for playing Fender Precision basses and Ampeg SVT heads.  (Early in his career he used a 2 x 15″ speaker configuration and later a 8 x 10″).  He uses a pick and plays hard.  Huge tone, great feel, classic line.

Below are videos of the original recording, the isolated bass, and a good cover with TABS from The Bassment.  Learn it!

“London Calling” Original Recording

Isolated Bass Track

Accurate Cover with TABS from The Bassment