The Clash

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About The Clash

Political punk as we know it was born in 1976, when guitarist Mick Jones, bassist Paul Simonon, and drummer Terry Chimes of pub rock group London SS recruited guitarist Keith Levene and guitarist/vocalist Joe Strummer to form a new band. Named The Clash, their first concert was supporting the Sex Pistols, a pairing that set the ideological goalposts for British punk with the Sex Pistols bringing the destruction and The Clash providing the social conscience. The band, which quickly dropped Levene and replaced Chimes with Topper Headon, found lyrical inspiration in the headlines, blending explosive rock guitars and beats gathered from around the world with an ideology that was anti-fascist, anti-violence, and anti-racist. Their adrenaline-fueled early records (1977’s The Clash and 1978’s Give ‘Em Enough Rope) gave way to the reggae-inspired rebel music of 1979’s London Calling and disco experiments of 1980’s Sandinista!, which were then streamlined into the platinum-selling anthems of 1982’s Combat Rock. The common thread running through these ever-shifting styles was the group’s condemnation of England’s growing authoritarianism. Burning so bright, hard, and fast, it was only inevitable that they’d soon implode. By 1983, Headon and Jones had been ousted from the group while Strummer and Simonon soldiered on through the release of 1985’s Cut the Crap. The Clash broke up the following year, leaving a legacy of in-your-face rebel rock for the ages. Their words still show up on protest signs, their influence is heard in pop-punk and politically conscious bands like U2 and Pearl Jam, and their songs are still mandatory listening for conscious punks worldwide.

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