Pitchfork tells the story behind the song used for Rodney Mullen’s final video part in its latest Liner Notes episode. The Clash’s London Calling was released in 1979 to worldwide critical acclaim. The combination of heavy guitar riffs and strong political messages fueled many a skate session and contest during the following years. And, five years later, Rodney Mullen would receive a similar reception from skateboarding when he was introduced to the world via Powell-Peralta’s The Bones Brigade Video Show.

The Clash would go on to be featured in 35 skate videos, according to (Real’s United Nations [2008] included). And Rodney would go on to invent nearly all of the tricks that comprise the fundamentals of modern street skating. For his final full-length offering in Almost: Round Three [2004], Rodney chose to skate to “Train in Vain”—the final track off London Calling that was written by guitarist Mick Jones in one night. The love song with country/western-influenced lyrics, that drew inspiration from Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man,” was recorded the following day.

When put into context, the song choice for Rodney’s coup de grâce is just as poetic as the tricks it contains. For more on London Calling, watch the full Liner Notes episode above. And if you’re feeling nostalgic, revisit Rodney’s part from Almost: Round Three below. 

Rodney Mullen | Almost: Round Three [2004]

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