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    (Well i did threaten it elsewhere!)

    These are my views, but I think that they’re generally accepted by most Clash fans, so could be considered ‘facts’.

    The Clash is one of the very best debut lp’s ever released.
    Give ‘em Enough Rope is one of the poorest 2nd lp’s ever released (considering the 'status' of the band then & now).
    London Calling is one of the lp’s of the 70’s (or 80’s depending on where you live).
    Sandinista could rightly be called, with retrospect, a wonderful lp full of different musical genres & influences; a flawed masterpiece i have heard it described as recently).
    Sandinista at the time was hailed as a pile of cack!
    Combat Rock is a magnificent rock lp!
    Cut The Crap was a disappointment – to put it mildly!
    The Clash released many great singles that were not on lp's!

    The Clash were one of the most exciting live bands I, or many others, have seen. Their performances, particularly Joe Strummer, were so intense that you just knew they meant it (maan!).

    They were wrong to take back Bernie Rhodes as their manager, as that lead directly to the sacking of Mick Jones. Though I wasn't (& still aren't) a fan of his rock star “i-wanna-be-Jimmy-Page” posturing, he was still responsible for 50% (or more?) of the bands output & his arranging skills were greatly missed.

    It is unfortunate that Nicky “Topper” Headon became a heroine addict. As good a drummer a Terry “Tory Crimes” Chimes was/is, I don’t think they could’ve ‘branched out’ as they did in Sandinista & Combat Rock with him in the drum seat.

    Joe Strummer, at the time, was often looked up to my many ‘punks’ & alt rock music fans & free-thinkers as a spokesman of a generation. In his death he has become a kinda punk 'legend'. Not sure about that, but he is someone that I respected immensely both as a writer, a performer and a person.

    Feel free to add your own comments good or bad about The Clash, its members, its songs, what they 'stood' for - good or bad. This could be as good a thread as Magazine's! I certainly feel that Sandinista discussion could take up several pages, alone!
    I always chuckle when I read Colin's Clash observations in Everybody Loves A History. Something about "garrulous old gits", I believe?

    That said, there are blindingly amazing tracks tucked in here and there, and it is disappointing that America (generally) only knows them via the Combat Rock hits (and, eventually, Train In Vain), good as those songs were.

    Speaking of Combat Rock, the lengthier Clash On Broadway version of Straight To Hell is a must-hear, and is in my case preferred to the "original".

    The other comment I'll make for American buyers: avoid the original US Epic Records releases of Clash CDs. They are the worst-sounding mastering jobs I have ever heard and sound like they were recorded off a copy of a copy of a copy of a cassette. The Sony reissues are a vast improvement (esp. the London Calling big-deal set).
    I saw them a few times. They were okay. They are probably good for all the wrong reasons. The Clash probably inspired some of the worst bands of all time. Those bands suffered because they didnt have Topper Headon on drums, who was an amazing player in those years.
    "They are probably good for all the wrong reasons" - could you explain that one?!?!?!

    Don't think The Clash should be held responsible & taken to task for talentless oiks being inspired to pick up instruments. especially as that was punks mantra - "if i can do it, so can you"!
    Joe Strummer would have been better off as some Woody Guthrie/Dylan type. Mick Jones should have been in a glam rock band but he was born too late. Simonon could have been an actor. Topper should have been in an afrobeat band. I can't really figure out their politics.
    Thanks GB - nice thread.

    First off, I don't personally care about the bands politics Alexander - it was just the music and the perfomance of it that interested me. I'm not bothered if Joe was a punk, a hippie, or a rasta man - he was one of the most incredible front men, of one of the greatest live bands that ever existed. Mick Jones couldn't have been any more different to Joe, but he was perfect in the role he played. Paul was the coolest basist on the planet at the time and also adorns the best album sleeve ever put out - London's Calling. Topper is second to none as a drummer - certainly the finest I've ever seen play live - Terry was a very decent replacement when needed, but not on the same level.

    As GB has said - The Clash was and is still one of the finest debut albums ever - there's not a moment wasted on it, no dud tracks, no fillers - just sheer perfection from start to finish - I never skip a track when listening to it.

    Give 'Em Enough Rope - whilst a distance down hill from the debut, it still has some decent tracks and kept me for one interested. London's Calling was an awesome return to form and is classic in many people's eyes - plus it contains the immortal line "But I believe in this-and it's been tested by research, he who fucks nuns will later join the church"

    Sandinista is without doubt the masterpiece that it's finally being recognized as. The jumps from one musical style to another should have been a total mess, but it all works perfectly. there really aren't many bands around today that could works so many different types into one release and get away with it - in fact at the time even The Clash didn't. Thankfully people are looking at the work again and starting to realise the importance of it.

    From Here To Eternity is an awesome piece of work - tracks from a number of gigs from various years throughout an amazing career. Everything is here - the passion, the skill, the excitement - everything. It's an absolute work of art of an album.

    Everything else the band released, with the exception of Cut The Crap, which is best forgotten as a terrible mistake, is worthy of owning.

    One of the greatest bands that ever stepped foot on the planet - on stage they were virtually unbeatable!

    Just my opinion.
    We seem to be of all the same opinion - it'd be nice to get some views form those that didnae like The Clash (if there are any) & why.

    in the meantime, if any1's interested, here's a link to a Strummer forum associated with the Redemption Song film. it never really took off - maybe that shows Joe's esteem outside of a small band of people that appreciate him, i don't know. take a butchers. I'm there somewhere, but not as GB - a gold star if you can spot me & what was the tell-tale giveaway?
    When I was wetting my muscial lips as a tender 14 year old kid in 1977, certain bands stood out from
    the new musical explosion that was happening then. those bands to me were the Clash, The Jam and Wire.
    The Jam cause they were so energetic and Now. Also they were very musical astute for a new young band.
    Wire cause, although all this new music was different, Wire were more different(if there is such a thing).
    They took music boundries that bit further. A trait they still do to this day.
    Now the Clash!! I don,t think you can really pin them down to any genre of music. Certainly they were at the forefront of
    Punk, but their own musical tastes and desires can certainly be heard a lot more clearer on the 3rd Album.
    I still love listening to the Clash and genuinely feel so much of their music is relevant in todays world.
    The Clash were a band at the right time. Their views outwith the music was challenging to say the least and did make you
    ask questions. Not many bands, if any could do what they set out to do and succeed.
    If I had been 14 when Glam rock was at its peak, I doubt if I would have held my teenage years so dear as I do.
    Those 3 bands meant the world to me.
    The Clash? a bit of a love/hate thing with The Clash TBH. If someone was slagging them off I'd be right in there defending them, pointing out how many great singles they'd made.

    On the other hand, when people start describing them as the greatest band ever I want to laugh. And suggestions that London Calling is the greatest album ever made is even more preposterous.

    So here goes...

    The Clash
    Even by 1978 this debut sounded weedy. I like it - there's some good songs here - but just imagine how good it would have sounded with a decent production like Bollocks or Damned Damned Damned. A missed opportunity...

    Give ‘Em Enough Rope
    Well I've not heard this in a long, long time so excuse my vagueness! I remember hearing a track on the radio when it first came out (it was Julie..I think) and thinking I know that voice and it taking a while to realise who it was because it was such a different sound from their debut and their singles. But as I remember it, this was a patchy affair.

    London Calling
    Sorry. I really can't understand what the fuss is all about. The title track is truly superb and I love Brand New Cadillac, but after that I think it's a bit boring TBH - yes even the ones that we're all supposed to like. I always think of it as their Exile On Main Street in that's it's over-long and over-rated.

    I hadn't heard this for years till a year or so ago and after side one I was thinking this is much better than I remembered. But as I approached the finishing line I was left thinking what I had always done. Some great stuff and some very ordinary stuff. Gotta say that The Magnificent Seven in particular sounded fab though.

    Combat Rock
    My favourite Clash album. I've not heard the alternative mixes, but I've always thought that this was a really under-rated set. Like Sandinista with all the naff bits rubbed out!

    Cut The Crap
    Never heard it!

    A few others that I haven't mentioned but which I like a lot are the singles Complete Control, White Man and Radio Clash, and the b-side Armagidion Time. And I played The Cost Of Living ep recently and felt that their cover of I Fought The Law has aged surprisingly well though I know a lot of folk didn't rate it at the time.

    Never saw them live - they played near me a couple of times and for whatever reason - regretably! - I didn't go.
    first time i heard "janie jones" on the radio i was hooked. then i heard "hammersmith palais" in a club in upper manhattan. i thought it sounded fantastic. it was one of those who-is-this-gotta-have-it moments. loved the 1st album. when i first moved to ny i used to get high and listen to it all the time.

    Rope might not be their finest hour, but there are some good songs here. and it rocked. that's all it had to do.

    don't totally agree with Keith and his comparison of London Calling to Exile. i always thought Exile was a bit boring, while i quite like songs 1 thru 10 on London. after that it peters out a bit.

    Sandinista has some great songs, but i haven't heard it in a while. "hitsville' is perfect pop.

    don't quite agree that JS was a "spokesman for his generation". great guy, someone to emulate if one so desired, but i think he was a spokesman for himself and himself alone. same label was put on Dylan, and he said no way man, they're just songs, aint no
    spokesman for nobody. and that's how it should be. a figurehead in Punk? nah, that's so antithetical as to what Punk is about in my mind.

    aside from the music, the Clash had a cultural significance in that they represented a sea change of everything that came before
    them. among many, many others they helped change the way people thought about their reality. it was revolutionary, stimulating,
    refreshing, and inspiring. for me the "politics" was bullshit. JS was a humanist, and that's all anyone can ever hope or need to be.
    The Clash first album is totally over-rated. It has a bunch of bad songs and sounds like crap. Almost every other band's first album that I can think of, from Beatles to Doors, to Vu, to MGMT, are far better. I'd rather listen to London Calling and Sandinista, and those albums are really post-punk.
    The Clash didnt change anything. That is why by 1982, Madness and Spandau Ballet were the biggest UK bands that were taken to heart by all the Brits. Who can remember any lyrics to "The Callup?" Everyone knows "Our House."
    Our House was played about 50 million times a day on the radio because it was and is commercial rubbish. And, funnily enough, I CAN remember all the lyrics to The Call Up without a problem - as for Our House, all I can remember is "Our house, in the middle of our street" but I really wish I couldn't!

    However Alexander, I respect your opinion - because that's all it is - YOUR opinion, which you are very entitled to. The Clash obviously didn't change the world, or even the face of music, but to their close band of followers (including me) they were everything they wanted and needed - they certainly helped me through some very difficult years and I still love listening to them today - they bring back many memories of some wonderfully atmospheric gigs, almost mystical to my 16/17/18 year old ears - I wonder how many Madness or Spandau Ballet fans can say that?
    Excellent – opposing views – let the arguments begin!?!?!?

    Keith. It’s sweet that you don’t partic rate LC that much, but to say it’s preposterous that some claim it is, is no less preposterous as saying that their debut is ‘weedy’! It may well have had poor production, but this is a debut lp by a small band & production values are 2nd to actually getting the lp released, not to mention expensive! & if you feel that the production on Pistols’ & Damned’s debuts is any better, that I feel is preposterous!
    I agree re Combat – much undervalued & often overlooked when Clash are discussed. Don’t feel you’ve missed out on Rat Patrol – unless I got a naff copy production/mixing is awful!
    I think yer wrong about I Fought The Law. At the time is was rated bigtime by media & fans alike, as born out by it’s fairly high (I think) chart position. Personally I didn’t like it – or now! Sounds like a 3rd rate Clash clone (could be the Alarm, then!)

    Freakbag. The problem is with being a ‘spokesperson’ is that it is often laid at their door without them asking! So I agree that yes he did speak for himself (as did Lydon), but many kids listened to him & agreed with his views – and there’s no newspaper/magazine gonna listen to any little ‘nobody’ off the street!

    Alexander. I could be totally wrong, but I’m assuming that your ‘listening with hindsight’ to The Clash – ie you wasnae a yoof when it 1st released? That’s the only explanation I can think of that your rate the day-to-day pop of MGMT over a powerhouse of an lp with lyrics that have somat to say!
    The Clash didn’t change anything? In the great scheme of things no group ever has. If you mean within the music industry, then by themselves, no, but ‘punk’ as a whole brought about an awful lot of change – independent labels, media/label interest in new groups (180degrees compared to now when there’s very little on major labels), journo’s with attitude &, of course, a few more artists that put somat more into their lyrics that “the moon in june” etc. All this sorta stuff is visible today & can be drawn back to punk (& maybe also the late 60’s hippy movement).
    Madness & Spandau were bigger UK bands than The Clash – SO WHAT? They were the pop bands of the day – punk was an ‘alternative’ strand of rock – as were (might as well mention the name) Wire. Just because they’re in the charts doesnae mean that they were “taken to heart by all the Brits” – what a ridiculous thing to say. By saying that you make all that we talk about on this forum (ie Wire) worthless. The idea of being an ‘artist’ is not necessarily to gain public approval or give up! Because the majority of radio listening public remember Our House, but not Call Up means nowt! If you really believed that why are you on here as a fan of Wire? Cos if they’re not on the front of magazines, on tv, on radio, by your own argument they’re worthless & not to be listened to.
    I didnae start this thread, & others aren’t contributing to it, cos I thought they were the best thing since sliced bread and everything else is rubbish, but to shoot the breeze about ‘em. & it’s no prob to me that you don’t like ‘em, but to compare them (& thus any small ‘alt’ band) to some kinda pop phenomenon is just, er, preposterous!
    Hmm, some interesting comments here....

    I like the Clash, as opposed to I love the Clash. I always thought that the 1st LP had some classic songs on it but the production was muddy, but having said that, it now sounds more "punk" than something like ....Bollocks, which is just a rock LP productionwise.
    ...Rope was a mish mash, but had some decent tracks, and is far better than genrally accpeted. Sandy pearlman's production job isn't as bad as made out.
    London Calling - is great, and isn't over long, maybe not the best LP of the 70s to these ears, but certainly in my top 100 of all time (none of the other Clash LPs would be in that list) but am I the only one that can't stand the title track? I always put the needle down on track 2...
    Sandinista - again, has some classic stuff, I love Hitsville, and I can listen to it all, but not in one sitting, and some of the excursions into dub can grate, but having said that it's a much better LP than....
    Combat Rock. Apart from Straight to Hell, this is rubbisgh. Sorry. I would like to hear Rat Ptrol From Fort Bragg to see if the longer mixes and additional songs make itr better? I certainly love the box set's version of Straight to Hell.
    Cut the Crap. Only ever played this once, apart from this Is England, which I think is a great, great Clash song.

    After that anyone? I love BAD, pretty much everything they did is worth a listen. Strummers solo LPs were pretty crap, but then he found himself with the Mescaleros, and their final album is a wonderful thing. Coma Girl ranks as one of his best songs for me.

    Overall? They didn't change the world, but the did change my world. But not as much as the Skids or the Ramones or Magazine did. And for that, I am thankful.
    I've always been a fan of the clash and 'generally' love their music, couldn't stop myself listening to sandinista when it first came out-loved it's diversity- to the extent I purchased a walkman so I could 'take it with me', interesting though that no-one has mentioned big audio dynamite,punk,NO,fun mosh-pit group, yes.
    Ari - Billy just beat you to it! Never clicked with BAD - not my cuppa.

    Billy - don't apoligise for not liking somat, mate, buty yeah - u probably are the only person that don't like London Calling. but take pride in being a minority of one - great place to be!!!
    I think Strummers stuff were rather hit & miss, but apart from Earthquake Weather, they were all soundtacks weren't they? Yeah - Mescalero's saw a return to form, partic Streetcore!

    Keith - yeah yer right about the singles, many didn't come out on lp's so their lp's were even more value for money! & that's another thing in the bands favour - for their 2 'middle' lp's they stuck it to their record company by releasing double & triple lp's for the price of single lp's! which, was very decent of 'em & even more so cos they were stuck in a 10 album deal & those extra 3 lp's could've helped 'em end the deal sooner. had they not split, of course!
    I saw the Clash twice in 1980 and 1982 in Los Angeles, during the London Calling and Combat Rock tours. They were probably one of my favorites at the time. But I hadn't heard a lot of bands at the time. People pretend like The Clash reinvented the wheel. That is what I am reacting to. Punk had some sort of impact. The Clash was a top 5 band in America with Combat Rock in 1982. That's how long it took americans to respond to UK punk. But at the same time, in the UK, they had gotten bored of punk and that sort of music, and had embraced more pop bands like Madness.
    yeah, GB, i know what you are referring to, but a "spokesperson for a generation" is overstating Strummer's influence a bit. i
    mean "everybody's" heard of Dylan, Andy Warhol, or the Beatles, but outside of the rock world JS is pretty much an unknown.
    so while he may have been a figurehead of sorts for a small group of punks and squatters who didn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of, his views and ideas had a very limited audience. he was a self described humanist, and in my view,
    that's all he needed to be.
    You can't call Madness "commercial rubbish"!! They made some staggeringly brilliant, beautifully constructed and deceptively intelligent pop songs. They were to Britain in the 1980s what The Kinks were to Britain in 1960s, or the Beach Boys were to 60s California.

    The Clash too made some thumping good pop/rock tunes and some of their singles are just as commercial and radio-friendly as Madness or Spandau Ballet. I'm sure Mick Jones would admit that The Clash weren't averse to being in the charts, on the radio and crossing over into the mainstream.

    True, not everyone knows the words to 'The Callup", me included. But I would wager that as many people know the words to 'Rock the Casbah', 'London Calling', 'I Fought the Law', 'Should I stay..' etc as know 'Our House' or even Spandau Ballet's 'True'!

    Alexander says:
    "The Clash was a top 5 band in America with Combat Rock in 1982. That's how long it took americans to respond to UK punk. But at the same time, in the UK, they had gotten bored of punk and that sort of music, and had embraced more pop bands like Madness."

    Slight overgenerlisation there. The UK music scene does not move as one single entity. There were lots of Pop bands before, during, and after punk...they co-existed and amazingly some people didn't like punk and carried on listening to Yes, Jethro Tull & Genesis. Some people liked Punk, but they also liked Funk, Disco and Reggae. The Clash included.
    By 1982, Punk had evolved and splintered off in various directions and of course some people did a good job of mixing up some of the energy, style and impact of punk with pop music including the two-tone thing from which Madness evolved, and the Blitz kids/New Romantic thing from which spawned Spandau Ballet & co.