Portal:The Clash

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The Clash Portal

The Clash performing in Oslo in 1980. Left to right: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, and Paul Simonon.

The Clash were an English punk rock band that formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk. Along with punk, their music incorporated elements of reggae, ska, dub, funk, rap, dance, and rockabilly. For most of their recording career, The Clash consisted of Joe Strummer (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Mick Jones (lead guitar, vocals), Paul Simonon (bass guitar, backing vocals, occasional lead vocals) and Nicky "Topper" Headon (drums, percussion). Headon left the group in 1982, and internal friction led to Jones's departure the following year. The group continued with new members, but finally disbanded in early 1986.

The Clash achieved commercial success in the United Kingdom with the release of their debut album, The Clash, in 1977. Their third album, London Calling, released in the UK in December 1979, brought them popularity in the United States when it came out there the following month. Critically acclaimed, it was declared the best album of the 1980s a decade later by Rolling Stone magazine.

The Clash's politicized lyrics, musical experimentation and rebellious attitude had a far-reaching influence on rock, alternative rock in particular. They became widely referred to as "The Only Band That Matters", originally a promotional slogan introduced by the group's record label, CBS. In January 2003, the band—including original drummer Terry Chimes—were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked The Clash number 30 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Selected article

"Bankrobber" is a song, and single by The Clash. The song was not released on any of their studio albums, instead appearing on their compilation Black Market Clash. Upon its 1980 release as a single (initially available in the UK on import only) it peaked at #12 on the UK Singles Chart, and at #14 on both the Irish Singles Chart and the New Zealand Singles Chart.

The song haphazardly chronicles the life of the narrator's father, the bankrobber of the song's title (who "never hurt nobody"), concentrating on the theme of the drudgery of many working class jobs.

Young Ian Brown and Pete Garner — later of The Stone Roses — were in attendance at the studio recording session of this single.

The Clash filmed a low-budget video for the song, depicting members of the band recording the song in the studio, interspersed with Clash roadies Baker and Johnny Green wearing bandanas over their faces, performing a bank heist in Lewisham. During the filming, Baker and Green were stopped and questioned by the police, who thought they were the real thing.

Selected album

Give 'Em Enough Rope is the second studio album by the English punk rock band The Clash. It was released on 10 November 1978 through CBS Records. It was their first album released in the United States, preceding the US version of The Clash. The album was well received by critics and fans, peaking at number two in the United Kingdom Albums Chart, and number 128 in the Billboard 200.

Selected picture

Topper Headon (Sept08).jpg
Credit: Steve Haughey, Cedar Tree Design
Topper Headon, British rock drummer for The Clash (30 September 2008)

Major topics

Did you know...

  • ... that U2's The Edge wrote about The Clash that they, "more than any other group, kick-started a thousand garage bands across Ireland and the U.K.... [S]eeing them perform was a life-changing experience" and Bono described them as "the greatest rock band. [...] They wrote the rule book for U2"?
  • ... that Mick Jones's last appearance with the group was on 28 May 1983 at the festival's New Music Day, and in September 1983, he was fired?
  • ... that most of The Clash's eponymous debut album was conceived on the 18th floor of a council high rise on London's Harrow Road, in a flat that was rented by Mick Jones' grandmother, who frequently went to see their live concerts?

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The Clash performing in Oslo in 1980. Left to right: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, and Paul Simonon.
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