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The Clash Biography

Last updated: 07/20/2012 12:00:00 PM

Mick Jones had a band called London S.S. with Bernard Rhodes who would become later The Clash's manager. Paul Simonon joined the London S.S. at its last legs. After, they decided to start all over again in a new band. Mick Jones decided to teach Paul Simonon how to play guitar, but as Paul had never played that instrument, it was too difficult for him. So they decided he should play bass, "because it's easier and has only four strings", as Paul said once.

They got Keith Levene as another guitarist and Terry Chimes as drummer. Bernard Rhodes was becoming the band's manager. Paul and Mick met Joe Strummer once, and Bernard asked him if he would like to join the band. Joe Strummer had another band (called The 101'ers) and was more musically experienced than the others by that time. He joined them on 31st May 1976, and Mick Jones said that it was a great deal getting Joe, because of that. Keith left the band, because the others said he wasn't into their project, so they voted him out. After, Terry Chimes left the band too. By that time The Clash consisted of only Mick Jones, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon. Terry Chimes would be back only to record their first album.

Paul Simonon came with the band's name, he said that The Clash could be a good one. They recorded their first album, self titled The Clash (1977), which was one of the most selling import albums in the U.S.A., since it was released only later in America, but with some different tracks from the british one. After, Nicky "Topper" Headon joined in April 1977. Their second work was Give 'em Enough Rope. This was a hit (reached number 2 in the U.K.), and divulged The Clash's work to a great number of fans. But their greatest album in the opinion of The Rolling Stone Magazine (and music critics) was their third one, titled London Calling, which was rated the best album of the 80's decade and one of the best rock 'n' roll albums of all time.

The fourth work released was Sandinista!, which was a three record set album. Combat Rock came after and was the last album with Mick Jones and Topper Headon. Mick Jones started another band called Big Audio Dynamite. After that The Clash released their last album, Cut the Crap (1985), only with Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon from the original formation. After the end, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, the ones who wrote almost all of the Clash's songs, started working together again in the Big Audio Dynamite's project.

The first two albums (The Clash and Give 'em Enough Rope are punk rock albums). London Calling is more pop rock. Sandinista! has a lot of music styles in it, Combat Rock is pop rock. The last, Cut the Crap, sounds more disco.

Although they've explored more than one musical style, The Clash was rated as a punk rock band, because it started as one, and their punk ideas never died, as it can be noticed in most of their albums. There were other albums released too, which are a review of The Clash's work with some previously unreleased tracks, demos, live tracks and remixes.

Joe Strummer said that their work is an attempt to show different feelings, like the union that must exist between people. He also said that The Clash was trying to teach new ways of feeling, thinking and being to their fans. The money wasn't really important to them, as they wanted to transmit their ideas. London Calling, a two record set album, and Sandinista! (three record set) were both sold by the price of a regular LP.