Today in 1977, The Clash began recording sessions in London for their first album. The band’s first single, “White Riot”, was released quickly the next month and the album itself came out in April. In February 1993, the New Musical Express magazine ranked the album number 13 in its list of the Greatest Albums of All Time. NME also ranked The Clash number 3 in its list of the Greatest Albums of the ’70s, and wrote in the review that “the speed-freaked brain of punk set to the tinniest, most frantic guitars ever trapped on vinyl. Lives were changed beyond recognition by it”.
Most of the album was conceived on the 18th floor of a council high rise on London’s Harrow Road, in a flat that was rented by Jones’ grandmother, who frequently went to see their live concerts. The album was recorded over three weekend sessions at CBS Studio 3 in February 1977. By the third of these sessions the album was recorded and mixed to completion, with the tapes being delivered to CBS at the start of March. It cost just £4000 to produce.
The album’s front cover photo, shot by Kate Simon, was taken in the alleyway directly opposite the front door of the band’s ‘Rehearsal Rehearsals’ building in Camden Market. Drummer Terry Chimes, though a full member of The Clash at the time, did not appear in the picture as he had already decided to leave the group.