If The Sex Pistols lit the fires of punk, then The Clash kept it burning. Formed in just one day, when Joe Strummer met with Terry Chimes, Paul Simonon and Mick Jones on the Portobello Road, The Clash approached the punk ethic from a different perspective.
While the Pistols espoused anarchy and destruction, The Clash were much more of a protest band. Their desire was to unite, rather than to divide, to engender social and political change.
Unlike most of their contemporaries, The Clash were fairly proficient musicians. In Strummer, they had a passionate frontman who had a way with lyrics that set the bar for other, later artists, such as Billy Bragg, Green Day and The Manic Street Preachers.
Their first eponymous album is still hailed as one of the best punk albums of all time. With songs such as White Riot, London’s Burning and I’m So Bored With the USA, the band created an apocalyptic sound that drew on other influences, including reggae, rock ‘n’ roll and world music.
Subsequent albums, London Calling and Combat Rock, are held in equally high regard and saw the band straddle more eclectic musical influences. Rockabilly, ska and glam rock all found their way into the band’s roster, on tracks such as London Calling and Should I Stay Or Should I Go.