This week’s new issue of NME (which you can purchase digitally, as well) includes a free special 16-page collectors’ magazine celebrating The Clash. Click through this gallery to find out more about the influential punk band and the lasting impact they’ve had on some of today’s biggest names in music.
In July 1976, The Clash played their first gig supporting the Sex Pistols in Sheffield.
By January ’77, they signed a £100,000 deal with CBS Records. On April 2, 1977, the band appeared on their very first NME cover, and were branded “Thinking man’s yobs”.
Five years after The Clash disbanded, they achieved their only UK No. 1 single with ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Go’, which was reissued after being used in a Levi’s advertisement.
James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers says that without The Clash, “the Manics would be a completely different band…Knowing how political they were – and remember, back then, you equated politics with smoke-filled rooms full of people talking about dogma and drudgery – to see them…well, politics looked glamorous for the first time ever.”
“The people involved with The Clash are my family,” former Clash guitarist Mick Jones told NME in 1977.
Between 1977 and 1985, The Clash released six studio albums. Grab a copy of this week’s new issue of NME for a complete guide to their back catalogue.
‘London Calling’, released December 14, 1979, was one of punk’s few true masterpieces. This double album also has one of the most recognisable covers of all time.
‘Give ‘Em Enough Rope’, released on November 10, 1978, was the band’s second album. It was initially criticised for its ‘clean’ production, courtesy of Blue Oyster Cult’s Sandy Pearlman.
“The Clash were the band that made me want to form a band,” Jamie T told NME. “It’s got such different styles, and it’s all coming from different members – it can’t be done solo.” Head to our blogs for more tributes to the band.
October 1999 marked the release of ‘From Here To Eternity’, a collection of some of the band’s best live moments – including a US recording of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ and ‘London’s Burning’ from the 1978 anti-fascist rally in London.
‘Cut The Crap’ was The Clash’s last album (released November 4, 1985). Apparently the title was changed from ‘Out Of Control’ without the band’s knowledge or consent.
‘Combat Rock’ (released May 14, 1982) was The Clash’s last album with Mick Jones and Topper Headon (who were then forced out of the band). It included hits such as ‘Straight To Hell’ and ‘Rock the Casbah’.
“They wrote the coolest, most attitude-filled songs I’ve ever heard,” says The View’s Kyle Falconer. “I find their attitude absolutely inspiring, and those tunes – man, I’d kill to have written ‘Clash City Rockers’! I’d give my left eye to go back in time and see them play…”
Lester Bangs wrote a three-part series about The Clash for NME in December 1977. “Unlike most of the bands I’d ever met they weren’t stuck up, weren’t on a star trip, and were in fact genuinely interested in meeting and getting acquanited with their fans on a one-to-one, non-condescending level,” he wrote.
Mick Jones told NME: “My first impression of Joe [Strummer] was great – I imagined him a little bit like Eddie Cochran; a real frontman, and very rock’n’roll.”
“If The Clash hadn’t been around, I’m sure another band would have come along,” Mick Jones told NME. “I’m almost sure these things are fate, you know…”
Frank Carter of Gallows told NME: “I absolutely fucking love The Clash. What is there not to love? It’s all about the songs for me – I really like ‘White Riot’ and ‘I’m So Bored With The USA’. Amazing songs. I remember running around the dancefloor with all my cousins, dancing like a dick to ‘London Calling’ at my auntie’s wedding when I was six.”
‘Super Black Market Clash’ is a 1993 compilation of B-sides and rarities. The man on the album artwork is Don Letts, who worked with the Clash on several occasions and was a founding member of Big Audio Dynamite (with Mick Jones.)
‘Sandinista!’ was a triple album released in 1980. Kurt Cobain blamed the album for “not letting me get into punk” for years due to the mix of jazz, reggae, rockabilly, dub and children playing piano.