Monday, March 29, 2010

The Clash


“When you blame yourself, you learn from it. If you blame someone else, you don’t learn nothing, cause hey, it’s not your fault, it’s his fault, over there.”

Joe Strummer of The Clash

by Eric Johnson

The Clash were an English rock band that formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk rock. Along with punk, they experimented with 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, 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.

Peter Howard,Mick Jones,Joe Strummer,Paul Simenon on tour, Amarillo, Texas.

The Clash were a major success in the UK from 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 politicised 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.

After rehearsing with Strummer for less than a month, The Clash made their debut on 4 July 1976, supporting the Sex Pistols at the Black Swan in Sheffield. The band apparently wanted to make it onstage before their rivals in The Damned—another London SS spinoff—made their own scheduled debut two days later. The Clash would not play in front of an audience again for another five weeks. Levene was becoming disaffected with his position in the group. At the Black Swan, he approached the Sex Pistols' lead singer, John Lydon (then going by Johnny Rotten), and suggested they get a band together if the Pistols ever broke up. n 29 August, The Clash and Manchester's Buzzcocks opened for the Sex Pistols at the Screen on the Green—The Clash's first public performance since 4 July. The triple bill is seen as pivotal to the British punk scene's crystallization into a movement.

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked The Clash number 30 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. According to The Times, The Clash's debut, alongside Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, is "punk's definitive statement" and London Calling "remains one of the most influential rock albums". In Rolling Stone's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, London Calling ranked number 8, the highest entry by a punk band. The Clash was number 77 and Sandinista! was number 404. In the magazine's 2004 list of the 500 greatest songs of all time, "London Calling" ranked number 15, again the highest for any song by a punk band. Four other Clash songs made the list: "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" (228), "Train In Vain" (292), "Complete Control" (361), and "White Man In Hammersmith Palais" (430). "London Calling" ranked number 48 in the magazine's 2008 list of the 100 greatest guitar songs of all time.

In John Robb's description, The Clash's debut established the "blueprint for the sound and the soul of what punk rock would be about.... The Clash were utterly inspirational, utterly positive, and they offered a million possibilities." Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers, the first major punk band from Northern Ireland, explained the record's impact:
The big watershed was The Clash album—that was go out, cut your hair, stop mucking about time, y'know. Up to that point we'd still been singing about bowling down California highways. I mean, it meant nothing to me. Although The Damned and the Pistols were great, they were only exciting musically; lyrically, I couldn't really make out a lot if it.... To realize that The Clash were actually singing about their own lives in West London was like a bolt out of the blue.

Discography :

The Clash (1977)
Give 'Em Enough Rope (1978)
London Calling (1979)
Sandinista! (1980)
Combat Rock (1982)
Cut the Crap (1985)


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