I’ve been listening to “Spanish Bombs” by The Clash on obsessive repeat all weekend. Even though London Calling is one of those albums that I’ve listened to a thousand times, “Spanish Bombs” always just acted as one of the songs that go into making the London Calling one of the best complete albums ever pressed to vinyl, no more important than the title track, “Lost in the Supermarket,” “Death or Glory,” or any of the other songs on the near-perfect record.
But lately I’ve realized that there is something even more special about “Spanish Bombs” that makes it one of the best examples of just how great Joe Strummer and Mick Jones worked together as both songwriting partners. There’s a special energy to the song, the Strummer/Jones dueling vocals sound great, and then you combine all that with the song’s lyrics that make you want to consult Wikipedia to better understand what the band is singing about, and suddenly it is not only one of the standout songs on the album, but possibly the best overall song The Clash ever put out.
One specific verse sent me down the internet wormhole more than others:
“Fredrico Lorca is dead and gone”
A nod to thee antifascist poet Fredrico Lorca, a member of the Generation of ’27, Lorca was assassinated in 1936 at the age of 38 as the Spanish Civil War raged on. The assassins, their full motives, and Lorca’s body were never discovered, but Lorca’s work and legacy live on. I’ve been searching the internet for some of it, and have come upon this postcard a few times from Lorca and Salvador Dali to Antonio de Luna that is as ominous as it is lovely:
“Dear Antonito: In the midst of a fine atmosphere of sea, phonographs and cubist paintings greeting you and hug you. Dali and I prepared something that will be moll bé, Without realizing it, I have set in the Catalan. Goodbye Antonio. Say hello to your father and for you my unalterable friendship with my best. You’ve seen what they’ve done with paquito! Silence ”