The Clash Photography

The Clash

Often referred to as “The Only Band That Matters,” the Clash were one of the most celebrated acts in the early days of British punk. These pioneers of political punk—lead vocalist Joe Strummer, guitarist Mick Jones, bassist Paul Simonon and drummer Nicky “Topper” Headon—all shared similar anti-establishment ideologies and musical influences.

The Clash’s first show was an opening slot for the Sex Pistols in the summer of 1976. But where the Pistols were all about anarchy and chaos, the Clash were more focused—protesting racial divisions and advocating working class revolution—and musically diverse, infusing their punk rock with elements of reggae, dub and rockabilly.

Their self-titled debut dropped in 1977, but it would be 1979’s breakthrough London Calling that attracted American attention with hits like the title track and “Train in Vain.” The band’s most commercially successful effort was 1982’s Combat Rock—thanks to the smash hit “Rock the Casbah”—but internal strife led to a break-up soon after, long before 2003’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

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