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

Combat Rock is the fifth studio album by the English punk rock band The Clash. It was released on 14 May 1982 through Epic Records. It was the last album to feature original member Mick Jones, who was fired from the band, and drummer Topper Headon, who was kicked out for his heroin addiction.

Although the album includes different styles of music, it is considerably less experimental than their previous album Sandinista!. In the United Kingdom the album charted at #2, spending 23 weeks in the UK charts. The album reached #7 in the United States, spending 61 weeks on the chart. The album has been certified 2x platinum.

Selected picture

Joe Strummer Live by Joe Kerrigan.jpg
Credit: Joe Kerrigan
Joe Strummer live in 2001

Major topics

Did you know...

  • ... that the song, "Ghetto Defendant", features beat poet Allen Ginsberg, who also performed the song on stage with the band during the New York shows on their tour in support of Combat Rock?
  • ... that originally Topper Headon joined The Clash with the intention of establishing a reputation as a drummer, before moving onto other projects?

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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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