The Right Profile

It’s an awful lot easier to pick a favourite album than it is to choose a favourite song. There are fewer albums than there are songs as the vast majority of long players tend to feature at least ten tunes. Also, we hear songs everywhere and may actually have favourites that we’ve forgotten about. Listening to a whole album, however, takes a lot more effort and it may often take a few listens before a certain album reveals its charms. Personally, there are hundreds of albums that I consider to be great, though there are only a few that I consider to be truly essential. London Calling by The Clash is definitely one of those and, at the moment, I would consider it to be my favourite one. I had gotten into loads of punk bands over a decade after the fact and the first LPs by the Pistols and The Clash were the two I liked the most. Even on their first record, The Clash sounded less punk than their contemporaries and even incorporated elements of ska and rock & roll into their sound. I wasn’t a big fan of its follow-up, Give ‘Em Enough Rope, and particularly its production that made the group sound like so many other hard rock bands

London Calling was one of the first compact discs that I bought over two decades ago. Its nineteen songs had originally been spread out over four sides, but its running time of just over an hour fit easily on a single CD. The concept of the double album has waned in the age of the CD as too many artists have appeared to give value for money by padding out the disc with inferior material that weakens the album as a whole. London Calling, however, remains one of the few double albums to achieve a consistently high level of quality from beginning to end. I could have picked any song from an eclectic range of styles that includes the aforementioned genres as well as successful forays by the band into jazz and rockabilly

I’ve decided to go for a lesser known number called The Right Profile that concerns the actor Montgomery Clift. He was an exponent of the method school of acting and was a contemporary of Marlon Brando. In the first verse of the song, Strummer namechecks the most famous films in which Clift appeared: Red River, A Place in the Sun, The Misfits and From Here to Eternity. Strummer also sings about Monty’s addiction to alcohol and prescription pills and mentions the 1956 car crash that disfigured his face and, from then on, he had to be shot in right profile. Clift received four Academy Award nominations throughout his career, but never won an Oscar. A heart attack ended his life in 1966 at the age of 45. He was also the subject of Monty Got a Raw Deal by R.E.M. from their Automatic for the People LP, an album that is surely somebody’s favourite

The Right Profile – The Clash

30 Day Song Challenge Archive