The Sex Pistols may have been the first British punk rock band, but The Clash were the definitive British punk rockers. Where The Pistols were nihilistic, The Clash were fiery and idealistic, charged with righteousness and a leftist political ideology. From the outset, the band was more musically adventurous, expanding their hard rock & roll with reggae, dub, and rap rockabilly among other roots musics. Furthermore, they were blessed with two exceptional songwriters in Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, each with a distinctive voice and style. The Clash copped heavily from classic outlaw imagery, positioning themselves as rebels with a cause. As a result, they won a passionately devoted following on both sides of the Atlantic. While they became rock & roll heroes in the UK, second only to The Jam in terms of popularity, it took The Clash several years to break into the American market and when they finally did in 1982, they imploded several months later. Though The Clash never became the superstars they always threatened to become, they restored passion and protest to rock & roll. For a while, they really did seem like «the only band that mattered»...
Pete Townshend: «He was a joy always. Even when he was depressed he was a joy. That heart of his always worked too hard. He's been making great music lately. I will really miss him.»
Moby: «Strummer had such a big heart and was without question one of the most important musicians of the last 50 years. Can you even imagine a world in which the Clash hadn't existed?»
Pat Gilbert, MOJO Magazine: «On-stage, he was electrifying: spitting out his lyrics and jerking at his beloved Telecaster as if a high voltage current was passing through him; off-stage he was warm, funny and impassioned, always fascinated to meet fans, talk politics, and share around his cigarettes and booze. It was a way of communicating with his public that he kept up to the very end...»
Bono, U2: «The Clash were the greatest rock band. They wrote the rule book for U2.»