The Clash - London Calling - 1980


Welcome to the aiMOOC on "London Calling" by The Clash! This course will dive into the 1980 punk anthem, exploring its history, lyrics, and the band behind it. Get ready to explore the vibrant world of punk rock and its impact on music and culture.

The Clash and Punk Rock

The Clash was a pivotal band in the punk rock movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their music combined punk with reggae, ska, and rockabilly, reflecting a diverse range of influences.

  1. Learn more about The Clash
  2. Explore the history of Punk Rock
  3. Discover the influence of Reggae on The Clash

The Album: London Calling

London Calling, released in 1980, is not just a song but a double album that showcases The Clash's diverse musical style. It's often hailed as one of the greatest rock albums of all time.

  1. More on the album 'London Calling'
  2. Contextualize it within 1980s music trends
  3. Explore the evolution of Rock Music

The Song: London Calling

The title track, "London Calling," is known for its apocalyptic and politically charged lyrics. It reflects the band's concerns about political issues like nuclear war and police brutality.

  1. Learn more about the song 'London Calling'
  2. Discover other protest songs
  3. Explore the art of songwriting

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What was the primary theme of "London Calling"? (Social and political issues) (!The London fashion scene) (!The British punk scene) (!The Clash's personal stories)

Which event is directly referenced in "London Calling"? (Nuclear accident at Three Mile Island) (!The fall of the Berlin Wall) (!The moon landing) (!The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II)

How does "London Calling" start musically? (With a distinctive bass line) (!With a guitar solo) (!With a drum solo) (!With a vocal chorus)

Which genre does "London Calling" predominantly feature? (Punk rock) (!Heavy metal) (!Disco) (!Jazz)

What is unique about the recording style of "London Calling"? (Raw and unpolished production) (!Use of orchestral arrangements) (!Auto-tuned vocals) (!Electronic beats)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Who was the lead vocalist of The Clash for "London Calling"? (Joe Strummer) (!Mick Jones) (!Paul Simonon) (!Topper Headon)

Which member of The Clash wrote "London Calling"? (Joe Strummer and Mick Jones) (!Paul Simonon) (!Topper Headon) (!Keith Richards)

In what year was The Clash formed? (1976) (!1970) (!1980) (!1974)

Which album followed "London Calling"? (Sandinista!) (!The Clash) (!Give 'Em Enough Rope) (!Combat Rock)

What distinguishes The Clash from other punk bands of their time? (Their incorporation of various musical styles) (!Use of synthesizers) (!Long instrumental solos) (!Lyrical focus on love and relationships)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

Which city is prominently mentioned in "London Calling"? (London) (!New York) (!Paris) (!Tokyo)

What natural disaster is referenced in the lyrics? (The Thames flooding) (!A volcanic eruption) (!An earthquake) (!A hurricane)

"London Calling" mentions a famous British institution. Which one? (The BBC) (!Buckingham Palace) (!The British Museum) (!The Royal Albert Hall)

The song refers to a "zombie of death." What does this metaphorically represent? (Fear of nuclear fallout) (!Commercialism) (!Drug addiction) (!Political corruption)

What phrase is repeatedly used in the chorus of "London Calling"? ("London calling") (!"Here comes the night") (!"Breaking down the walls") (!"Stand by me")


The Clash Formed in 1976
London Calling Released in 1980
Joe Strummer Lead Vocalist
Punk Rock Main Genre
Nuclear War Theme in the Song

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Curate a playlist of songs similar to "London Calling" and explain your choices.
  2. Design a Band Poster: Design a poster for The Clash in the style of 1980s punk rock.
  3. Write a Short Essay: Write about the impact of punk music on modern music genres.


  1. Research Punk Fashion: Explore and present on the fashion trends influenced by punk music.
  2. Analyze the Lyrics: Analyze the lyrics of "London Calling" and discuss their social and political commentary.
  3. Study The Clash's Discography: Compare and contrast two albums by The Clash.


  1. Create a Documentary: Make a short documentary about the punk rock movement, focusing on The Clash.
  2. Debate Political Music: Host a debate on the role of music in political movements, using "London Calling" as a case study.
  3. Compose a Punk Song: Write and perform a punk rock song inspired by The Clash.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the Influence: Talk about how "London Calling" influenced later music and artists.
  2. Compare and Contrast: Compare "London Calling" to another protest song from a different era.
  3. Explore the Genre: Discuss the evolution of punk rock and its socio-political context.
  4. Analyze the Album Art: Analyze the album cover of "London Calling" and its symbolism.
  5. The Clash's Legacy: Discuss the legacy of The Clash in the context of modern music.

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