The Clash were a punk rock band from London, England, United Kingdom, active from 1976 to 1985. One of the most successful and iconic bands from the first wave of punk in the 70s, they incorporated rock and roll, reggae, rockabilly, and eventually many other music styles into their repertoire. They were legendary for their uncommonly intense stage performances.
From their earliest days as a band, The Clash stood apart from their peers with their musicianship as well as their lyrics, the passionate, left-wing political idealism in the lyrics by frontman Joe Strummer and guitarist Mick Jones contrasting with the lyrical nihilism of the Sex Pistols and the musical minimalism of the Ramones. Their 1979 album 'London Calling' is considered by critics as one of the greatest albums in the history of rock music. Rolling Stone declared it the best album of the 80s, even though it was released near the end of 1979 at first (technically, Jan 1980, in the United States).
The Clash's attitude and style, as much as their music, has influenced countless bands, both within and outside the sphere of punk rock. Often lauded as "the only band that matters," The Clash were canonized as rock saints even before they broke up. This was officially confirmed in 2003, when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their five big albums from their heyday ('The Clash', 'Give 'Em Enough Rope', 'London Calling', 'Sandinista!', and 'Combat Rock') continue to earn a great deal of interest from rock fans into the new millennium.
Mick Jones went on to form Big Audio Dynamite after being fired from The Clash, and he more recently has produced albums by artists such as The Libertines and Babyshambles. In 2004, he formed Carbon/silicon with musician Tony James (of Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik fame). Exploring various genres such as alternative rock and electronic music, he continues to collaborate with other modern groups such as Gorillaz.
Joe Strummer went on to form and front Joe Strummer and the Latino Rockabilly War and then Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros. He also had a notable solo career that involved work in films and other endeavors, often earning critical acclaim. He died on December 22, 2002, the victim of an un-diagnosed congenital heart defect. Mourned by countless punk fans, his life has been subject to several tributes and was memorialized in the 2007 documentary 'Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten'.
Bass player Paul Simonon went on to form Havana 3 A.M., a group that released a self-titled album in 1991, yet he decided to quit music in the early 90s in favour of becoming an artist. In 2006, he returned to music as bass player in a musical project together with singer-songwriter Damon Albarn. The project is often referred to as The Good, The Bad & The Queen, the name of the groups first recorded album that came out in 2007. In terms of his paintings, his well-received work notably was in an exhibition at Thomas Williams Fine Art in London.
Drummer Topper Headon released a solo album, 1986's 'Waking Up', before leaving the music business to become a taxi driver and escape the heroin addiction that cost him his legacy in The Clash. Over the years, he's had sporadic involvement in various music-related endeavors, such as being a key part of the aforementioned 'The Future Is Unwritten' film. He's currently residing in the seaside town of Dover, England.
1976 Original line-up
Joe Strummer – lead vocals, rhythm guitar Mick Jones – lead guitar, backing vocals Keith Levene – lead guitar Paul Simonon – bass guitar, backing vocals Terry Chimes – drums, percussion
1977 Joe Strummer – lead vocals, rhythm guitar Mick Jones – lead guitar, backing vocals Paul Simonon – bass guitar, backing vocals Terry Chimes – drums, percussion
1977-1982 Classic line-up Joe Strummer – lead vocals, rhythm guitar Mick Jones – lead guitar, backing vocals Paul Simonon – bass guitar, backing vocals Topper Headon – drums, percussion
1982-1983 Joe Strummer – lead vocals, rhythm guitar Mick Jones – lead guitar, backing vocals Paul Simonon – bass guitar, backing vocals Terry Chimes – drums, percussion
1983 Joe Strummer – lead vocals, rhythm guitar Mick Jones – lead guitar, backing vocals Paul Simonon – bass guitar, backing vocals Pete Howard – drums, percussion
1983-1986 Final line-up
Joe Strummer – lead vocals, rhythm guitar Nick Sheppard – lead guitar, backing vocals Vince White – lead guitar Paul Simonon – bass guitar, backing vocals Pete Howard – drums, percussion Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.