About once a year, I'll put on London Calling and stay there for a week straight. The Clash emerged amid the filth-and-fury hype that surrounded early English punk, but the band eclipsed everything about that scene in about a year. On their third album, released in 1979, they were light years ahead.

Class consciousness, rage and rebellion still colored their music, yet their songs had a depth and finesse possessed by few of their contemporaries. They showed that an egalitarian message could be just as powerful on piano as on a two-chord snot rocket. "The Card Cheat" is one example from this masterpiece of sound and storytelling, a must-have from start to finish.