My Top 1000 Songs #247: The Bottom Line
Growing up, the Clash were one of my favorite bands (to this day London Calling remains my all-time favorite album); they were instrumental in my pivot from classic rock into punk and indie rock. So of course I took it hard when Mick Jones was kicked out of the band and their dissolution appeared imminent; it was clearly the end of an era for me.
Thus it came as a huge relief when Mick Jones' new band, Big Audio Dynamite, released its 1985 debut and it wasn't just good, but actually kinda great. It was very different from the Clash, an amalgam of pop and dance music and world music and hip-hop, and one of the first bands to rely heavily on digital sampling in a novel, truly entertaining way.
I loved most of the album, but it was the debut single, "The Bottom Line," that first got my attention and instantly became a mainstay on my college radio show. It's as much a showcase for Don Letts' sampling and studio trickery as for Jones' pop hooks, a blast of pure, unabashed fun that left behind some of the Clash's seriousness and felt like the work of an exciting new artist. (And the nearly contemporaneous release of the lone post-Jones Joe Strummer-fronted Clash album, Cut The Crap, confirmed that, at least for the moment, Jones was way ahead of Strummer in coming up with something both important and entertaining.)Live in 1992: