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April 8th, 1977 and I’m 13 going on 14. A band from England releases an album, self-titled after the band. The Clash. The way I perceive music takes a drastic change.

Up to this point I liked a lot of music and at this age I was starting to be influenced by people at school and more and more by the radio. My primary listening choices were what would now be considered classic rock. The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Foghat, Supertramp and other bands of the day. The Punk scene had not really hit big in the Midwest just yet. 

By the end of 1977 The Sex Pistols had released their first album, Elvis Costello released My Aim Is True. The talking Heads would also hit the airwaves. By early 1978 I had seen some of the bands perform on Saturday Night Live or other late night shows. I liked a lot of it, though to be truthful I never really cared for the Sex Pistols. Just so loud…..

I’d love to say I bought the first Clash Album when it came out but it would be another year before I owned The Clash on my own vinyl. But once I started playing I couldn’t stop. There was a small group of kids in school into the new music, some punk, some new wave. Most were cool with Journey and Styx and REO Speedwagon and others. I liked those bands too, but there was something about the Clash that spoke to me. Amazing rhythms, great guitar, fast drumming and lyrics that were more than love songs or the desire to party.  The Clash were rebels. They did ther own thing and what they liked and were recorded despite that.  For a teenage Jon Jordan in Milwaukee in the late 70s it was a revelation. I could be who I wanted to be and screw what other people think. And of course I kind of lived like this going forward always managing to find my tribe.

The music of THE CLASH isn’t so daring sounding in today’s world, but it’s still amazing. I love everything they recorded. I also love everything the guys did post-Clash. There was a lot of new music at that time and it was really exciting. And because of a record called THE CLASH a lot of other musicians  took the leap and did their own thing as well.

And it’s been 40 years.

Most days I don’t feel like I’m in my 50s, and musically I still get excited like a 14 year old hearing the Clash for the first time. Music makes life better and The Clash also made my life a little easier to figure out.