The Clash - London Calling
When a band chooses to copy a classic album cover, it can be viewed in several ways: as a mockery, as a rip-off, as a tribute or as just plain arrogance. When the Clash chose to imitate Elvis Presley's first album for their make-or-break third release, I don't think they could be accused of mocking their predecessor and, considering the impact of London Calling, I don't think it can be viewed as a rip-off either. The Clash knew they had to do something special and instead of trying to play it safe, they went for broke with an ambitious double album that tore down the definitions of pop music just like Elvis had before them. Was it punk? Pop? Reggae? Rockabilly? Yes, it was all of those and more. This album shook the foundations of rock music. In that sense, the cover could certainly be seen as a tribute and an arrogant one at that. As amazing as their first two albums were, the Clash hadn't established themselves among the greats of rock n roll. By choosing to model their cover after Elvis', they were stating in plain view that they were making a truly great record, one of which the Elvis of 1956 could be proud.