From their earliest days as a band, The Clash stood apart from their peers with their musicianship, as well as their lyrics; the passionate, left-wing political idealism in the lyrics by frontman Joe Strummer and guitarist Mick Jones contrasted with the nihilism of the Sex Pistols and the simplicity of the Ramones. Their 1979 album London Calling is considered by critics as one of the greatest albums in the history of rock music; Rolling Stone declared it the best album of the 1980s, even though it was released near the end of 1979 (technically, Jan 1980, in the United States).
The Clash’s attitude and style, as much as their music, has influenced countless bands, both within and outside the sphere of punk rock. Often lauded as “the only band that matters,” The Clash were canonized as rock saints even before they broke up. This was officially confirmed in 2003, when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Mick Jones went on to form Big Audio Dynamite after being fired from The Clash, and more recently has produced albums by The Libertines and Babyshambles. In 2004 he formed Carbon/Silicon with Tony James of Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik fame.
Joe Strummer went on to form and front Joe Strummer and the Latino Rockabilly War and then Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros. He died on December 22, 2002.
Bass player Paul Simonon went on to form Havana 3 A.M., before quitting music in the early ’90s in favour of becoming an artist. He has recently (2006) returned to music as bass player in a musical project together with a.o.Damon Albarn. The project is often referred to as The Good, the Bad & the Queen, the name of the recorded album.
Drummer Topper Headon released a solo album, Waking Up in 1986, before leaving the music business to become a taxi driver and escape the heroin addiction that cost him his legacy in The Clash. He is currently residing in the seaside town of Dover, England.