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The Clash’s ‘London Calling’ Used in London Olympics Commercials

The Clash
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

The Clash‘s Joe Strummer would no doubt get a chuckle out of one of his band’s biggest hits, ‘London Calling,’ being used to promote next summer’s Olympic Games in London. The title track from the British punk-rock band’s third album is appearing on television commercials promoting the multi-week, international event.

A quick look at the lyrics will no doubt explain how the legendary song ties in with events like swimming, horse jumping, and track and field… right?

“The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in / Engines stop running and the wheat is growing thin / A nuclear error, but I have no fear / London is drowning-and I live by the river.”

Perhaps one has to listen longer? “London calling to the imitation zone / Forget it, brother, an’ go it alone / London calling upon the zombies of death / Quit holding out-and draw another breath.”

BBC writer Marcus Gray points out that the song’s message may have been lost in its popularity. “It’s instantly recognizable and superficially the perfect invitation to the capital and the world’s premiere sporting event, but it’s actually about the end of the world, at least as we know it.”

It’s hard to deny that the title makes for a punchy slogan however. The 2012 Olympic Games begin on July 27.

Watch the Clash’s ‘London Calling’ Video

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