Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Clash


   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, 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 28 on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

Band members:

Classic lineup (May 1977–May 1982):

  • Joe Strummer – lead vocals, guitar
Active: May 1976–1986
Instruments: lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards
Release contributions: all The Clash releases
Joe Strummer was a member of the original band formed in 1976, and remained with the band until they broke up in 1986.

  • Paul Simonon – bass guitar, backing vocals
Active: May 1976–1986
Instruments: vocals, bass
Release contributions: all The Clash releases
Paul Simonon was a member of the original band formed in 1976, and remained with the band until they broke up in 1986.

  • Mick Jones – lead guitar, vocals
Active: May 1976– September 1983
Instruments: vocals, guitar, keyboards
Release contributions: all The Clash releases except Cut the Crap (1985)
Mick Jones was a member of the original band formed in 1976. Mick Jones was fired from the band in September after his working relationship with Strummer stopped functioning.

  • Topper Headon – drums, percussion
Active: May 1977–May 1982
Instruments: drums and percussion
Release contributions: all The Clash releases except The Clash (1977) and Cut the Crap (1985)
Topper Headon joined the band after what he described himself as a "joyrneyman" drummer. He realised the potential of the band and remained with them for four albums and a b-side compilation. He was dismissed from the band when his heroine addiction became too prevalent.

Other members:

  • Terry Chimes – drums, percussion
Active: May 1976–November 1976; February 1977–May 1977; May 1982–May 1983
Instruments: drums and percussion
Release contributions: The Clash (1977), some on b-side collection Black Market Clash (1980)
Terry Chimes was an on-off member of the initial line-up of the band. He left and then was hired to record the debut album. He was omitted from the photo of it, because at that time he left. He was hired again in 1982 when Topper Headon left because of drug addiction. He left the band the following year when he couldn't deal with infighting.

  • Keith Levene – lead guitar
Active: May 1976–September 1976
Instruments: guitar
Release contributions: None
Keith Levene was a member of the original band. In early September 1976, he was fired from the Clash. Strummer would claim that Levene's dwindling interest in the band owed to his supposedly abundant use of speed, a charge Levene has denied. (Levene and John Lydon would form Public Image Ltd. in 1978.)

  • Rob Harper – drums, percussion
Active: December 1976–January 1977
Instruments: drums and percussion
Release contributions: None
Rob Harper drummed for a while during the December tour.

  • Pete Howard – drums, percussion
Active: May 1983–1986
Instruments: drums and percussion
Release contributions: Cut the Crap (1985)
Pete Howard was drumming for the band during the final twilight years.

  • Nick Sheppard – lead guitar, backing vocals
Active: September 1983–1986
Instruments: guitar
Release contributions: Cut the Crap (1985)
Nick Sheppard joined the band after Mick Jones was fired.

  • Vince White – lead guitar
Active: September 1983–1986
Instruments: guitar
Release contributions: Cut the Crap (1985)
Vince White joined the band after Mick Jones was fired.



   The Clash is the eponymously-titled debut studio album by the English punk rock band The Clash. It was originally released only in the United Kingdom on 8 April 1977 through CBS Records. The album was re-released in the United States in 1979, dropping four tracks and adding five other tracks. Both versions of the album are still in print.

   The album's front cover photo, shot by Kate Simon, was taken in the alleyway directly opposite the front door of the band's 'Rehearsal Rehearsals' building in Camden Market. Drummer Terry Chimes, though a full member of The Clash at the time, did not appear in the picture as he had already decided to leave the group. Another picture from the same Kate Simon photoshoot appears on the UK Special Edition DVD of Rude Boy, released in 2003. The picture of the charging police officers on the rear, shot by Rocco Macauly, was taken during the 1976 riot at the Notting Hill Carnival—the inspiration for the track "White Riot".


   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.

   The album was voted album of the year for 1978 by Rolling Stone and Time magazines, as well as the popular UK music weekly Sounds which gave it a glowing review upon release, with writer Dave McCullough calling it "swash-buckled heavy-metal" and claiming it to be "The best LP since the last Clash LP, both, I personally feel, transcending anything ever recorded".

   The cover was designed by Gene Greif, using a postcard, "End of the Trail", photographed by Adrian Atwater, featuring Wallace Irving Robertson.

   The cover of the first US pressings showed the band's name written in block capital letters. Subsequent US pressings used a faux-oriental style font, which was then replaced with the more ornate faux-oriental style font used on the UK release.

   The original American issue of the album also retitled "All the Young Punks" as "That's No Way to Spend Your Youth". This was revised on later editions.

   "Tommy Gun" and "English Civil War" were released as the album's singles, either side of Christmas 1978. They entered the UK charts at numbers 19 and 25, respectively.

   During recording of the album, Joe Strummer's trademark Telecaster guitar needed to be taken in for repairs, so for the bulk of the sessions he played a hired semi-acoustic Gibson ES-345.

   Sandy Pearlman, who produced the original album, was not a big fan of Joe Strummer's voice, to the point that he ensured the drums were mixed louder than the lead singer's vocals on the entire album.

   The album was originally titled "Rent-A-Riot".

   Other songs recorded during the sessions was single "White Man (in Hammersmith Palais)", as well as b-sides "The Prisoner" and "Pressure Drop". Four more songs were demoed: "One Emotion", "Groovy Times", "Ooh Baby Ooh (It's Not Over) (AKA "Rusted Chrome) (later reworked and released as "Gates of the West") and "RAF 1810".


   London Calling is the third studio album by the English punk rock band The Clash. It was released in the United Kingdom on 14 December 1979 through CBS Records, and in the United States in January 1980 through Epic Records. The album represented a significant change in The Clash's musical style, which now featured major elements of ska, funk, pop, soul, jazz, rockabilly and reggae far more prominently than in their previous two albums.

   The album's subject matter included social displacement, unemployment, racial conflict, drug use, and the responsibilities of adulthood. The album received unanimously positive reviews and was ranked at number eight on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003. London Calling was a top ten album in the UK, and its lead single "London Calling" was a top 20 single. It has sold over five million copies worldwide, and was certified platinum in the United States.

   The album received very positive reviews from critics. It was named best album of the year in the 1980 Rolling Stone critics' poll[citation needed] and also topped the 1980 Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics' poll. Robert Christgau described London Calling as "warm, angry, and thoughtful, confident, melodic, and hard-rocking" and called it "the best double-LP since Exile on Main Street". Tom Carson wrote in Rolling Stone that "the record ranges across the whole of rock & roll's past for its sound, and digs deeply into rock legend, history, politics and myth for its images and themes. Everything has been brought together into a single, vast, stirring story — one that, as the Clash tell it, seems not only theirs but ours. For all its first-take scrappiness and guerrilla production, this two-LP set — which, at the group's insistence, sells for not much more than the price of one — is music that means to endure. It's so rich and far-reaching that it leaves you not just exhilarated but exalted and triumphantly alive."

   In December 2010, the BBC reported that a film about the recording of London Calling was in the early stages of production. Mick Jones and Paul Simonon are working as executive producers for the film. The script was written by Jez Butterworth and shooting would begin in 2011. Alison Owen and Paul Trijbits had been chosen as the producers.

   Sandinista! is the fourth studio album by the English punk rock band the Clash. It was released on 12 December 1980 as a triple album containing 36 tracks, with 6 songs on each side. Anticipating the "world music" trend of the 1980s, it features reggae, jazz, mock gospel, rockabilly, folk, dub, rhythm and blues, calypso, and rap.

   For the first time, the band's traditional songwriting credits of Strummer and Jones were replaced by a generic credit to the Clash, and the band cut the album royalties, in order to release the 3-LP at a low price. The title comes from the Nicaraguan socialist political party, the Sandinistas, and its catalogue number, 'FSLN1', refers to the acronym for Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional.

   Sandinista! was voted the best album of the year in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics poll, and it was ranked number 404 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003.


   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. 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.

   Combat Rock was originally planned as a double album with the working title Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg, but the idea was scrapped after internal wrangling within the group. Mick Jones had mixed the first version, but the other members were dissatisfied and mixing/producing duties were handed to Glyn Johns, at which point the album became a single LP. The original mixes were later bootlegged.

   Pennie Smith shot the cover photo for Combat Rock on a deserted railway line outside Bangkok while the band was on their "Far East" tour in 1982.

  Following along the same note as Sandinista!, Combat Rock's catalogue number 'FMLN2' is the abbreviation for the El Salvador political party 'Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional' or FMLN.


   Cut the Crap is the sixth and final album by the English punk rock band The Clash, released on 4 November 1985 by Epic Records.

   Following the ejection of founding member Mick Jones from the group, The Clash hired guitarists Nick Sheppard and Vince White to replace him. The album was not mentioned in the Clash documentary Westway to the World and was not featured on the compilation album The Story of the Clash, Volume 1 or in the box set Clash on Broadway.

   Biographer Chris Salewicz noted that the "fundamental flaw" in firing Mick Jones from The Clash was that he wrote virtually all of the music. Clash associate Kosmo Vinyl commented, "We didn't think [. . .] 'Anyone can write a punk song!' That was our mistake." Unknown to the band at the time, Bernie Rhodes's solution to the problem was to take control of the music writing himself.

   According to guitarist Vince White the working title of the record was Out of Control. Bernie Rhodes changed it to Cut the Crap shortly before release without consulting the band. Rhodes also produced the record, using the alias of "Jose Unidos".

   In mid-2000, the album was remastered and re-released in Europe with a bonus track "Do It Now". The reissue was unannounced and not promoted. It came after the rest of the band's catalogue had been reissued in December 1999 -January 2000 in the U.S.

   Critical and commercial reception to the record was poor aside from the single "This Is England". The absence of Jones and former drummer Topper Headon (who had been kicked out earlier due to his ongoing heroin addiction) led many to regard Cut the Crap as a Joe Strummer solo album, despite the fact that Paul Simonon appeared on it as well. Reasons for the album's shortcomings included Joe Strummer's disillusionment with the group by this point, as well as his grieving over the deaths of his parents. When the album was re-released in 2000, Q Magazine noted "you wouldn't get into too many fights if you went around saying this was the Clash's worst album."

And now listen to some good old punk rock:

No comments:

Post a Comment