12. 'The Clash'
"I haven't got any illusions about anything," Joe Strummer said. "Having said that, I still want to try to change things." That youthful ambition bursts through The Clash, a machine-gun blast of shockingly great songs about unemployment ("Career Opportunities"), race ("White Riot") and the Clash themselves ("Clash City Rockers"). Most of the guitar was played by Mick Jones, because Strummer considered studio technique insufficiently punk. The American release was delayed two years and replaced some of the U.K. tracks with recent singles, including "Complete Control" – a complaint about exactly that sort of record-company shenanigans. Still, both UK and US versions distill their radical vision with a crystal clarity.