The Great British Songbook #1: “London Calling”

The Clash

We do hear an awful lot about The Great American Songbook these days, don’t we? And not just from Great Americans either. What with Rod Stewart, Robbie Williams and Paul McCartney making midnight raids on the song pantry of the jazz era, and the fresh re-evaluations that keep popping up from the likes of Jamie Cullum and Michael Buble, the shimmering delights created by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and their contemporaries are always worth having a wallow in. And they serve as a lesson to all aspiring songwriters as to how the form works and what it is capable of.

But is there an equivalent songbook of British musical treasure? Are there American artists, whose careers are on the wane a bit, who would value a playlist of British songs to re-work in order to get some sorely-needed attention from a jaded media? Well possibly. But even if there aren’t it’s always a good idea to dig out some clips of American artists covering British songs.

So, with that goal in mind here’s Bruce Springsteen covering “London Calling” by the Clash, in London.

Keep an ear out for the roar from the crowd as they get to the “and I…LIVE BY THE RIVER” bit.

Any further suggestions for the Great British Songbook will be gratefully received here:

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2. He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage. Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic
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