Big Audio Dynamite

Big Audio Dynamite

PlugInMusic.com is giving one lucky fan Big Audio Dynamite's "This Is Big Audio Dynamite - Legacy Edition." Enter now for your chance to win!

"Born from the ashes of the Clash," is how Don Letts puts it, referring to the cosmic implosion in 1983, after seven glorious years, of the original lineup of ‘the only band that really mattered.' Parting ways with the band for ‘ideological differences' (as rock lore has always noted), free agent Mick Jones was free to set the stage for the arrival two years later of Big Audio Dynamite.

That arrival (October 1985) came in the form of This Is Big Audio Dynamite, a monumental and influential album of British post-punk rock revisionism ‘clashing' head-on with hip-hop beatboxes (pre-Beastie Boys and Fatboy Slim and Run-DMC's hip-hop-rock fusion projects), dancefloor grooves, the Vocoder (precursor of T-Pain's Auto-tune), and eye-opening, ear-bending cinematic samples gathered up from spaghetti westerns, Nic Roeg films and more.

The 43-minute album (released on the cusp of the LP and CD eras) hit the UK and US AM and FM, rock and R&B radio (and video) airwaves, club dancefloors, and mobile sound systems with a salvo of 12-inch singles - "The Bottom Line," "E=MC²," and "Medicine Show." B.A.D.'s debut was destined to take its rightful place as "the album that the Clash should have followed Combat Rock with" (as Letts writes).

Twenty-five years later (anniversary to be celebrated in 2010) the album's punch is commemorated with "This Is Big Audio Dynamite - Legacy Edition." The 2-CD package presents a newly remastered version of the original 8-song album, plus a second CD of 12 bonus tracks comprising rare U.S. and UK 12-inch remixes, edits, dub versions, outtakes, and B-sides - five of them previously unreleased on CD. This latest entry in the critically acclaimed multiple-disc Legacy Edition series will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting April 27, 2010, through Columbia/Legacy, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

Adding to the package is the full-color booklet containing essays written by original band members Mick Jones, Don Letts, Dan Donovan, Leo "E-Z Kill" Williams, and Greg Roberts, which mesh into a biographical portrait of the band. There are also unpublished photos and shots of memorabilia from the original album release.

The second CD, containing the 12 bonus tracks, will be especially interesting to B.A.D. aficionados as well as newcomers. The first eight tracks are alternate versions of songs following the album sequence: a 12-inch remix of "Medicine Show" (whose video, directed by Don Letts, featured former Clash members Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon, and Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols and Public Image Limited); the previously unreleased dub version of "Sony"; a 12-inch remix of "E=MC²" (the album's most successful single, hitting #11 in the UK for a 9-week chart stay, #47 in Australia, and #33 on the U.S. Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart); and so on

The Vocoder - at first confined to electronic music practitioners such as Walter (Wendy) Carlos and Robert Moog in the 1960s, came into wide use by rockers in the '70s and '80s, from Alan Parsons and Pink Floyd and Kraftwerk, to Electric Light Orchestra and Mike Oldfield. But B.A.D. were pioneers in bringing the device to the hip-hop beatbox genre, as heard in the previously unreleased Vocoder version outtake of "BAD."

The final four bonus tracks on CD two include the previously unreleased outtake of "Electric Vandal" (an unencountered B.A.D. song); the UK 12-inch promo non-LP B-side "Albert Einstein Meets The Human Beatbox"; the U.S. 12-inch remix of "BAD"; and the 7-inch non-LP B-side of "This Is Big Audio Dynamite."

This Is Big Audio Dynamite raised the curtain on a band that challenged the imprint of the Clash, in terms of both recorded output (11 albums, including those by B.A.D. II) and longevity (five years of B.A.D., another decade of B.A.D. II). Under the direction of Mick Jones, B.A.D. rallied "a call to arms for the troops," Greg Roberts writes, "with its clattering beatboxes, racing percussion, white lines bass and magnificent ringing chords that were the very essence of classic UK rock."

"From the outset B.A.D. was a breeding ground for ideas," Roberts sums up, "a crossroads where all good forms of music could and should diverge; New York, London, Kingston ...funky beats, reggae bass, rock guitar and classic songs shot through with cinematic vision. The diverse personalities in our West London clan made for a challenging and energetic fun filled ride in the short lived but bright burning star that was B.A.D. The first album has all the playful inventiveness of a group set free from musical constraints."

THIS IS BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE - LEGACY EDITION (Columbia/Legacy 88697 48239 2, originally issued October 1985, as Columbia 40220) Selections:

  1. 1. Medicine Show (3rd single, UK #29, U.S. Dance #42)
  2. Sony
  3. E=MC² (2nd single, UK #11, U.S. Dance #37)
  4. The Bottom Line (1st single, UK #97, U.S. Dance #33)
  5. A Party
  6. Sudden Impact
  7. Stone Thames
  8. BAD.

Bonus CD:

  1. Medicine Show (12-inch Remix)
  2. Sony Dub (Dub Version Previously Unreleased)
  3. E=MC² (12-Inch Remix)
  4. The Bottom Line (12-inch Remix, Edit Version)
  5. A Party Dub Edited dub version from UK Medicine Show 12-inch)
  6. Sudden Impact (12-Inch Mix Previously Unreleased)
  7. Stone Thames (12-Inch Mix Previously unreleased)
  8. BAD (Vocoder Version, Outtake Previously Unreleased)
  9. Electric Vandal (Outtake Previously Unreleased)
  10. Albert Einstein Meets The Human Beatbox (B-Side of UK E=MC² 12-inch Promo)
  11. BAD (U.S. 12-Inch Remix)
  12. This Is Big Audio Dynamite (7-Inch Non LP B-Side)

Congratulations to the winner, Kyle Tyckoski!