The Clash

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Tom Morello & The Edge (U2)
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Quite simply, the Clash were among the most explosive and exciting bands in rock and roll history.

They played a major role in creating and defining the punk movement. If the short-lived Sex Pistols were glorious nihilists, then the Clash expressed punk’s impassioned political conscience. Their explosive, uptempo punk-rock manifestos were unleashed with pure adrenaline and total conviction. Following the Sex Pistols’ dissolution in January 1978, the Clash became the central voice of the punk movement and remained at the forefront for five years. Their albums—The Clash (1977), Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978), London Calling (1979), Sandinista! (1980) and Combat Rock (1982)—captured the tumult of the times with unerring instinct and raw power.

Hall of Fame Essay


Ira Robbins

With the sudden death of Joe Strummer on December 22, 2002, the story of the Clash finally came to an abrupt end.

In fact, the Last Gang in Town, as they called themselves in a song, had packed it in some twenty years earlier, drained of the high ideals and united purpose that had fueled some of the most fervent, exhilarating and provocative rock & roll ever made, No matter.

What the Clash - Joe Strummer (vocals, guitar), Mick Jones (guitar, vocals), Paul Simonon (bass, vocals) and alternating drummers Nicky “Topper” Headon and Terry Chimes - achieved was far greater than what it left on tape or burned in the memories of those who saw the band on ­ stage. It was a reckless force of nature that - on a great night, and there surely were many - relinquished conscious thought for careening energy.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program Cover 2003
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2003 Inductees The Clash
The Clash played with an unflinching political fire.
Tom Morello