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      The Clash

      The Clash

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      The most provocative, politicized and musically adventurous act to emerge from the punk movement, The Clash were deservedly once hailed as 'The Only Band That Matters.' Formed in London in 1976, the original line-up of frontman Joe Strummer, guitarist Mick Jones, bassist Paul Simonon and drummer Terry Chimes made their live debut supporting Sex Pistols shortly after and by early 1977, the buzz surrounding them proved to be so significant that CBS Records offered them a remarkable £100,000 deal. The Clash proved they were capable of living up to the hype with their self-titled first studio effort, which not only reached No.12 in the UK but also became America's biggest-selling import album of all time. Topper Headon then replaced Chimes for the release of 1978's cleaner-sounding Give 'Em Enough Rope before the band performed in front of 100,000 people at London's Rock Against Racism concert, and embarked on their first Stateside tour. But home to their debut US hit, "Train in Vain," and one of the most iconic album covers of all time, it was 1979's London Calling, a double album which threw punk, ska, reggae and rock'n'roll into a vibrant melting pot, where The Clash established their reputation as an era-defining band. 1980's Sandinista!, a triple LP which saw the group venture into dub and hip-hop, further showcased their sense of adventure, while 1982's Combat Rock upped their commercial appeal with the iconic hits "Should I Stay or Should I Go" (which thanks to its use on a Levi's TV ad gave them a sole UK number one ten years later) and "Rock the Casbah." But the group began to implode at the height of their commercial fortunes, firstly with the departure of Headon over his drug abuse, and secondly with the firing of founding member Jones in 1983. Guitarists Nick Sheppard and Vince White, and drummer Pete Howard joined a new-look The Clash in time for 1985's Cut the Crap, a disappointingly incohesive affair which Strummer later disowned, but a year later the group officially announced their split. Big Audio Dynamite, Havana 3am and The Mescaleros were just some of the projects that various members formed in The Clash's wake, and although the group briefly came together to help compile 1999 compilation From Here to Eternity, any chances of a full-blown reunion were quashed when Strummer died from a congenital heart defect in 2002, just months before the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.



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