Saturday, July 7, 2007

When the sevens clash...

I just realized that today is July 7, 2007, which reminded me that 30 years ago was the day when “the sevens fully clashed.” The Rastafarian leader of the reggae group Culture, Joseph Hill, believed 1977 was going to be a year of judgment when past injustices would be avenged, and he released the song Two Sevens Clash.

According to the liner notes, “the prophesies noted by the lyrics so profoundly captured the imagination of the people that on July 7, 1977 a hush descended on Kingston--people did not go outdoors, shops were closed, an air of foreboding and expectation permeated the city.”

I doubt many injustices were avenged on that day and Marcus Garvey’s Black Starliner didn’t repatriate all Africans, but the message influenced people around the world and the British punk group The Clash took their name from the song. It was the only reggae album to make Rolling Stone’s list of “50 Coolest Records.”

Since I was thinking about Culture and The Clash, I looked them up and was sorry to learn that Joseph Hill passed away unexpectedly in August. If I recall correctly, I saw Culture perform outdoors with the Red Hot Chili Peppers around 20 years ago.

I also learned in Chris Salewicz’ new book, Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer, that the leader of the Clash was part Armenian! That was a surprise, since I have been a fan since I was a teenager and I had no idea. So today is a tribute to Joe Strummer and Joseph Hill, on the day when the sevens clash!