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(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The Clash

(Nicky) Topper Headon 1956?–

Mick Jones 1956?–

Paul Simonon (also Simenon) 1956?–

Joe Strummer (born John Mellor) 1953?–

English songwriters.

The Clash are one of the most important rock groups to have emerged from the English New Wave and Punk movements of the late 1970s. Their songs, which one reviewer has described as "raw and angry," reflect the disillusionment of British urban youth in what they believe to be a repressive, ineffectually governed society. The Clash's musical style mixes funk, reggae, rhythm and blues, rockabilly, and traditional rock with lyrics that stress the importance of social awareness and activism.

The Clash's debut album, The Clash, was released in England in 1977. Two of the album's most popular songs, "White Riot" and "White Man in Hammersmith Palais," are overtly political statements against authoritarianism. Although the album generated much critical attention as a significant New Wave album, it was considered "too crude" for release in the United States. Upon its release in an altered form in America, The Clash became a best-selling album. On their second album, Give 'Em Enough Rope (1979), the Clash continued to express their political ideals in such songs as "English Civil War," a commentary on the erosion of the English social structure. In the lyrics on the album, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, the primary writers, "capture the moods of the urban England of the 1970s better than just about anybody else," according to Richard Riegel. London Calling (1980) is considered by most critics to be the Clash's best recording. In its experimentation with blues, urban soul, gospel, and rockabilly, the album exhibits the influence of American music on the overall sound of the group. Many reviewers praised its diversity and compared London Calling to the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street and the Beatles' White Album.

The Clash's next full-length...

(The entire section is 455 words.)