I describe how I got into The Clash in my review of London Calling, but it wasn’t a big leap for a teenage punk chick in the 90s to make the connection between Rancid and Fugazi and The Clash and Sex Pistols.
But as many listeners know, The Clash were really only a punk band for an album-and-a-half if you apply the purist three-minute, three-chord limit test. They shattered every expectation imaginable with the release of London Calling, then doubled down on musical diversity with the six sides of Sandinista! Not all of their wanderings proved to be successful, but the refusal to settle for same-o, same-o is a character trait I find admirable in anyone, especially in artists.
One thing that never changed with The Clash was their absolute commitment to social justice and human rights. Their songs could be satiric, blatant or incredibly moving but always championed the little people in their struggle against an often indifferent, mean-spirited power structure.
The Clash could make you laugh or make you cry out in rage, but they rarely failed to elicit a reaction. While I’ve never been one for nostalgia, I mourn over the meteoric brevity of their time together, the piss-poor parental timing that denied me a chance to see them live and the far too early loss of Joe Strummer.
There’s never been another band quite like The Clash.