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Episode 56 : Kris Needs on The Clash + Zigzag magazine + Politics & Pop

13 December 2019

On the day after the UK's Tory landslide, Mark & Barney ask the legendary Kris Needs to look back at the legacy of ultimate agit-rockers the Clash on the 40th anniversary of their classic London Calling.

Needs reminisces about key music venue Friar's in Aylesbury and his involvement with (and subsequent stewardship of) Pete Frame's seminal ZigZag magazine. His hosts ask about Just a Shot Away, part 1 of his memoir of the pivotal rock year of 1969, and then discuss his integral involvement with his mates Mick Jones, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon. Spinning off from the Clash, the trio hear a brief audio clip of tireless politico Billy Bragg talking about the Tories in 1990 – and then discuss free RBP pieces on "revolutionary rock" and "the greening of Planet Pop".

Mark introduces the week's new audio interview, a 1989 conversation with the much-missed Kirsty MacColl. After we hear a clip of the singer talking to John Tobler about an unreleased album she made for Polydor, there's an appreciation of MacColl as a songwriter and all-round good egg (and, later, a clip of her talking about her timeless contribution to the Pogues' Yuletide classic 'Fairytale of New York'). 

Finally, Mark talks us through his highlights among the week's new library articles, including pieces on Chuck Berry playing live in Lewisham in 1965, Sweet playing the Rainbow in 1973, and Donna Summer riding the "dark horse" of disco in 1976… 

Many thanks to special guest Kris Needs, whose new book Just a Shot Away: 1969 Revisited is out now and published by New Haven.