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All The Young Punks \\ Why The Clash Are The Best Band Ever

Posted on the 30 September 2013 by Djwillis14

All The Young Punks \\ Why The Clash Are The Best Band Ever

With the recent release of remasters of all of the Clash albums, a huge Clash box set and a new Clash Best Of, it’s time to remind ourselves of one thing. The Clash are the best band in the world. Fact.

Yeah The Beatles revolutionised pop, Bowie made being an outsider cool, and the Sex Pistols spat punk in the face of the unsuspecting public, but the Clash did all this and more. Let me elaborate.

For starters, and really most importantly, The Clash have ace songs. Perfectly written pieces of punk poetry set to energetic guitars and menacing bass. Better still, after all this time the messages of Clash songs have kept their urgency. While the Sex Pistols’ imploded in America and other punk bands became caricatures of a quickly stagnating scene, The Clash morphed into something else entirely. While still managing to keep their punk sensibilities, The Clash released the seminal London Calling in 1979. If you haven’t heard this album in full, then you’ve been wasting your life. because it is truly flawless. No other band would be able to release an album with influences from disco, rockabilly, reggae and punk on a double LP (usually reserved for lengthy prog records) and it still feel authentic, a progression from their earlier punk beginnings.

All The Young Punks \\ Why The Clash Are The Best Band Ever

But even early on the thing that set The Clash apart from every other band stringing 3 chords together was their ability to champion genres. Take their debut The Clash, which had not only their own spine-tingling take on reggae with ‘(White Man) In The Hammersmith Palais’, but a cover of Junior Murvin’s ‘Police & Thieves’ which was, and is still, mind-blowing. A white punk band covering a black reggae song was unheard of. It was the first of many brave steps taken by the Clash to deconstruct the limits of the genre.

For a country just about to enter years of Thatcherism and the rise of the National Front, The Clash’s attempts to create a unified, multicultural audience was incredibly important. On Sandinista they dabble in dub and pave the way with proto-hip hop tracks. They again did all of this without losing sight of their values and, importantly the signature Clash sound.

Even live they were a cut above the best. If you hear a band being compared to The Clash live, go see them immediately. If they can even get half the energy levels of what Strummer and co put into every performance they’ll be worth it. Obviously I was too young to ever see them live, but even videos on YouTube give over the sense of raw passion and danger that every Clash gig had. My dad saw them during towards the end of their existence and still said Strummer gave it everything. The man lived to perform.

All The Young Punks \\ Why The Clash Are The Best Band Ever

But the real measure of how important and amazing The Clash are is their influence on other musicians. Every important musician of the last 3 decades would at some point list The Clash as an inspiration. I mean, even fucking Bono did and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. But that is the size of their influence Joe Strummer kept going till the day he died, and has since inspired charities and organisations all over the world. Guitarist Mick Jones has been in Big Audio Dynamite, produced The Libertines and plays with Gorillaz. Seriously, I bet he has some great stories. Bassist Paul Simonon also plays in Gorillaz and with Damon Albarn in The Good, The Bad and The Queen. Even drummer Topper Hendon had a fucking solo career.

And that is why they’re the best, most important, most inspiring, most vital band of all time. You can argue against me all you like, but I won’t listen.

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