[[caption-width-right:300: The classic line-up of The Clash. From left to right: Joe Strummer, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon, and Mick Jones.]]

->''"When they kick down your front door\\
How you gonna come?\\
With your hands on your head\\
Or on the trigger of your gun?"''
-->--"The Guns of Brixton"

The Clash, AKA "the only band that matters," were a member of the original British PunkRock movement of TheSeventies known as the "Class of 77". The band stands with the likes of Music/TheRamones and The Music/SexPistols in the pantheon of definitive punk rock bands. Unlike their peers at the time, however, the Clash were no firm believer of the pure ThreeChordsAndTheTruth ideology: they were not afraid of experimenting with a diverse range of musical styles, and as such were critically acclaimed musically. In addition to no-nonsense stripped-down punk rock, the Clash were known for their eclectic tastes and experimental approach, besides punk being influenced by and performing reggae, dub, ska, funk, pop-rock, New Wave and soul, among others. They were also simultaneously the second [[RapRock rock band to release a rap]] track, "The Magnificent Seven" in 1981 (a few months after Music/{{Blondie}}'s "Rapture"), and the first British group to perform rap music.

With politicised songs and committed lifestyles ensuring their fame amongst punk rockers, the Clash were unique for their relative musical sophistication, and thus are often thought as "a punk band with a rock-n-roll sound." The band's 1979 album ''Music/LondonCalling'', often hailed as one of the finest punk rock records (and rock/popular music in general) ever recorded -- it is the highest rated punk album of all time in ''Magazine/RollingStone''[='s=] list, i.e. the popular yardstick. Also, at one point it was awarded as '''the best album of the '80s''', despite having been released in December 14th, 1979, though this is true for the American release. The band's reputation of not being [[JerkassFacade total assholes]] in interviews and their strong respect for their audience only adds to the vast amount of richly deserved respect directed at the group.

The band broke up in 1986 after a ten year career and went onto other projects. Jones formed Big Audio Dynamite and Strummer embarked on a solo career (including some time fronting Music/ThePogues) before founding the Mescaleros. Paul Simonon has become pretty well-known in the London fine art scene, and contributed to the Music/{{Gorillaz}} album ''Plastic Beach''. There were sporadic collaborations and ad-hoc performances by various combinations of the original lineup but no full reunion ever came about and the death of Strummer in 2002 laid to rest any hope of a reunion.

!!Principal Members (Founding members in '''bold'''):

* '''[[Music/BlackSabbath Terry Chimes]]''' - drums, percussion (1976, 1977, 198283)
* Rob Harper - drums, percussion (197677)
* Nicholas "Topper" Headon - drums, percussion, piano, bass, backing and lead vocals (197782)
* Pete Howard - drums, percussion (198386)
* '''Mick Jones''' - guitar, lead vocals, piano, harmonica (197683)
* '''[[Music/PublicImageLtd Keith Levene]]''' - guitar (1976)
* '''John Mellor (Joe Strummer)''' - lead vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, bass (197686, died 2002)
* Nick Sheppard - guitar, backing and lead vocals (198386)
* '''Paul Simonon''' - bass, backing and lead vocals, guitar (197686)
* Gregory "Vince" White - guitar (198386)

!!Studio and Live Discography:

* 1977 - ''The Clash''
* 1977 - ''Capital Radio''
* 1978 - ''Give 'Em Enough Rope''
* 1979 - ''The Cost Of Living''
* 1979 - ''Music/LondonCalling''
* 1980 - ''[[Music/{{Sandinista}} Sandinista!]]''
* 1982 - ''Combat Rock''
* 1985 - ''Cut The Crap''
* 1999 - ''From Here To Eternity: Live'' [[note]]Recorded between 1978 and 1982[[/note]]
* 2008 - ''Live At Shea Stadium'' [[note]]Recorded in 1982[[/note]]

!!Tropers Calling:

* AddledAddict: This sadly happened to Headon by the time ''Combat Rock'' was released. This was the main reason why he left the band in 1982.
* AlbumTitleDrop: ''Sandinista!'', in "Washington Bullets".
* {{Angrish}}: Near the end of "The Right Profile"
* AntiPoliceSong: "Guns of Brixton", which according to Paul Simonon is about the paranoia of a young Brixton man isolated by violence and poverty who's seen ''Film/TheHarderTheyCome'' a few too many times.
* AffectionateParody: The typographic design for the now-legendary cover to ''Music/LondonCalling'' is a ShoutOut to Music/ElvisPresley's debut album ''Music/ElvisPresleyTheAlbum''.
* TheBandMinusTheFace: Jones, who was the FaceOfTheBand along with Strummer, got sacked in mid-'80s.
* BlandNameProduct: "Koka Kola," maybe.
* BlondeBrunetteRedhead: Paul (blonde), Topper (redhead), Joe (chestnut), Mick (raven).
* BourgeoisBohemian: The band got some flack for this once they became superstars, since their lyrics about the WorkingClassHero (or satire thereof) didn't reflect their circumstances. Notably, when the band's manager Bernie Rhodes bought a huge white mansion, some fans parodied the lyrics to "White Riot": "''White mansion, I wanna mansion/White mansion, a mansion of my own''"
* BoxedSet: ''Clash On Broadway'', '' Sound System''
* BreakupSong: Yes. The Clash, of all people. "Train in Vain." ([[LyricalDissonance "You didn't stand by me, no way..."]]) Which was a major hit!
* BritishTeeth: Jones is infamous for, and has a healthy sense of humor about, his absolutely horrid teeth.
** In concert with his current band Carbon/Silicon, Jones will often tell the story of a childhood accident that led to the discovery that all (not some, ''all'') of his baby teeth were rotten and had to be pulled lest he contract a blood infection. He cites this as the reason his permanent teeth grew in the way they did.
** Joe Strummer's teeth are....not exactly the nicest, either.
* [[TheCameo Celebrity Cameo]]: Creator/AllenGinsberg on "Ghetto Defendant."
* CherubicChoir: The ''Sandinista!'' version of "Career Opportunities."
** Also the version of "The Guns of Brixton" at the end of the ''Sandinista!'' song "Broadway"
* CoolPeopleRebelAgainstAuthority: [[{{Deconstruction}} Deconstructed]] ''[[DeconReconSwitch and]]'' [[{{Reconstruction}} reconstructed]] in "Death Or Glory"
-->"He who fucks nuns will later join the church."
* CoverVersion: e.g. "Brand New Cadillac", "Police On My Back", "Police and Thieves", "Every Little Bit Hurts" and "I Fought the Law."
** CoveredUp: "I Fought the Law" and especially "Police on My Back".
* CanonDiscontinuity: ''Cut The Crap'' was disowned by the band and left out of its reissue program.
* DreadfulMusician: In the early days. But after they got the hang of their instruments, recorded their first album, and recruited Headon as their drummer after Chimes quit, they averted this with flying colors.
* DrugsAreBad: "Hateful", and "Junkie Slip".
* {{Eagleland}}: "I'm So Bored with the USA" is Type 2.
* EasterEgg: An accidental one. "Train in Vain" was meant to be released as a promo for NME magazine. When that fell through, they quickly added it to ''London Calling'' after the packaging had already been printed. As a result, "Train in Vain" wasn't listed on the album cover. This didn't stop it from becoming one of the band's best-known and well-loved songs.
** A more deliberate version from the same album: Alongside the usual [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrix_number matrix number]], the double LP had a message etched into the run-out grooves one word at a time: "TEAR DOWN THE WALLS".
* [[EverythingSoundsSexierInFrench Everything Sounds Sexier In Spanish]]: "Spanish Bombs" includes "''yo te quiero y finito/Yo te quierda, oh mi corazón''"[[note]]This seems to translate to "I love you and forever/I've left you, oh my heart," [[/note]]
** Don't forget "Should I Stay or Should I Go"...
* FormerTeenRebel: The subject of "Death or Glory".
* "We're a GarageBand/We come from Garageland"
* GenreRoulette: ''London Calling'', ''Sandinista!'' and ''Combat Rock'': Reggae, PunkRap, proto-Twee Pop, Alternative Dance, Rockabilly, Funk, Ska, Dub, Calypso, Gospel, Acoustic rock, and even some experimental tracks full of random noises...
** ''Sandinista'', especially: not only is it a triple album, giving much more room, but it pushes the envelope even further than ''London Calling'', switching between genres every three minutes. It's also the only album to feature all four members on lead vocals at some point: Topper on "Ivan Meets G.I Joe" and Paul on "The Crooked Beat".
* GodwinsLaw: The lines ''"If UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler flew in today/They'd send a limousine anyway"'' in "White Man in Hammersmith Palais" actually work because the song is about Nazi skinheads ruining an all-night reggae concert.
* GratuitousSpanish: "Spanish Bombs"; "Should I Stay or Should I Go".
* GreatestHitsAlbum: ''The Story Of The Clash, Volume 1''
* HeavyMeta: "Clash City Rockers," "Radio Clash," "We Are the Clash".
* IThoughtItMeant: During UsefulNotes/TheGulfWar, U.S. military personnel would play "Rock the Casbah" to motivate the troops, specifically for the lines "''The king called up his jet fighters/He said you better earn your pay/Drop your bombs between the minarets/Down the Casbah way''". Strummer was reportedly brought to tears when he heard about this, because he intended the song to be about peace and love (and indeed, the following lyrics describe the soldiers contradicting their orders).
* ImmediateSelfContradiction: The odd line "A nuclear error, but I have no fear/'Cause London is drowning and I, I live by the river!" in "London Calling".
* {{Jerkass}}[=/=]JerkassFacade: Surprisingly averted for an early punk rock band, usually seen as more authentic and violent in their rebelliousness. A good example would be to compare [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVygiX0KEEw their Tom Snyder appearance]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OirTyITUJ1Y John Lydon's]].
** The were known for being very devoted to their fans, from their attempts to get albums released with extra tracks so it'd stay cheap to their efforts to keep the bouncers off their fans at their 1978 Glasgow gig (culminating in the arrest of Strummer and Simonon) to trying to keep the situation under control in Belfast in 1977 after a show was cancelled to helping fans sneak into gigs.
* LastSecondWordSwap: "Cheat's" line "You're a fool if you don't know that, so hit the road you stupid fool" would probably have ended with 'twat' but it was changed.
* LyricalColdOpen: "London's Burning".
* LyricalDissonance: Is there a jollier-sounding song about hardcore drug addiction than "Hateful"?
** They tended to enjoy this trope, especially on ''London Calling'': "Death Or Glory" is an upbeat little number about, uh, how even the toughest rebels eventually sell out.
** "Lost in the Supermarket" stands out in partiular - a very poppy and catchy disco melody that goes with arguably the most introspective and depressingly direct lyrics within the band's catalogue.
** Almost any time "London Calling" is used on tv - especially in advertising - it's likely to be this.
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness: Most of the straightforward PunkRock tunes that make up their first two albums(and show up occasionally thereafter) are in the 5-6 range. The rest of their work covers the entire bottom half of the spectrum- they could (and did) play in a ''huge'' variety of genres.
* MusicIsPolitics: "Complete Control"
* TheNewRockAndRoll: "Rock the Casbah" is about a Shareef who tries to outlaw rock and roll, even resorting to armed combat. It doesn't work.
* NewSoundAlbum: ''Music/LondonCalling'' had some tentative steps beyond the punk/rock sphere, but ''[[Music/{{Sandinista}} Sandinista!]]'' was a full-blown GenreRoulette album experimenting with dub, rap, reggae, disco, twee pop, gospel and soul influences. Later, ''Cut The Crap'' was intended as a NewSoundAlbum taking them ''back'' to their original punk sound, but it was a [[CreatorBacklash dismal]] [[CanonDiscontinuity failure.]]
* ANuclearError: The TropeNamer, through a line of "London Calling".
* ProtestSong: Almost everything they wrote.
* RagTagBunchOfMisfits: A schoolboy turned pub rocker, (Joe) a young man whose ambition in life is to be a rock star, (Mick) a handsome art student who had never picked up any instrument until he joined the band, (Paul) and a prodigal jazz, funk and soul drummer (Topper) form a punk rock band. Surprisingly, it works ''perfectly.''
* RapRock: TropeMakers along with {{Music/Blondie}}.
* RefrainFromAssuming: The ''"Stand by me"'' chorus of "Train in Vain" got so bad that in the States the single was released as ''"Train in Vain (Stand by Me)."'' The song itself is a last-minute addition and was not featured at the track listing, which makes things worse.
* TheRival: The Music/SexPistols, until they broke up in early 1978.
* RockersSmashGuitars: On the album cover of Music/LondonCalling. Of course, the hilarity is that ''London Calling'''s cover is actually of Paul Simonon smashing his bass.
* {{Sampling}}:
** "Red Angel Dragnet" uses ''Film/TaxiDriver'' and introduces it with the lines "Only Travis/Come in Travis". However, rather than using clips directly from the film, they had Kosmo Vinyl recite from the script while doing an impression.
** "Inoculated City" includes a SpokenWordInMusic sample of an ad for the toilet bowl cleaning product 2000 Flushes - the sample was unauthorized, so some copies of ''Combat Rock'' include an edited version of the song that removes it.
* SecondPersonNarration: "The Guns of Brixton"
* SelfTitledAlbum: Their debut.
* ShoutOut: At about 2:37 in "Remote Control", you can hear Strummer saying "I am a [[Series/DoctorWho Dalek]]!", followed by "I am a robot!" and "I O-BEY!", all in the Dalek's usual speech patterns.
** In the very beginning of their cover of "Police And Thieves", Joe Strummer can be heard shouting [[Music/TheRamones "Goin' through a tight wind!"]]. Interestingly, this was only a year after "Blitzkrieg Bop" from ''Music/TheRamones (1976)'' itself came out.
** "The Right Profile", about Creator/MontgomeryClift, starts "Say, where did I see this guy? In ''Film/RedRiver''. Or ''Film/APlaceInTheSun''. Maybe ''Film/TheMisfits''. Or ''Film/FromHereToEternity''."
** The cover of ''London Calling'' was a direct reference to the cover of Music/ElvisPresley's debut album ''[[Music/ElvisPresleyTheAlbum Elvis Presley]]'' (1956).
** "Car Jamming" mentions Creator/LaurenBacall.
** From "Clash City Rockers:"
--> "You owe me a move say the bells of St. Groove\\
Come on and show me say the bells of old [[Music/DavidBowie Bowie]]\\
When I am fitter, say the bells of Gary [=Glitter=]\\
No one but you and I say the bells of [=Prince Far-I=]\\
No one but you and I say the bells of [=Prince Far-I=]"
** Double shoutout to ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour''.
* SillyLoveSongs: While everybody remembers the AntiLoveSong subversion of "Train in Vain," they actually had one song that played it completely straight, released as a B-Side for Tommy Gun. Behold, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwP2UDdHB7c 1-2 Crush on You.]] Admittedly, this was written by Mick Jones pre-Clash and only performed by them.
* SomethingCompletelyDifferent: "Hitsville U.K.", a sweet love-letter to the then new independent label music scene which name checks a couple of the big players (Rough Trade, Factory, Small Wonder and Fast Product) and features lead vocals by Mick and his then-girlfriend, American actress Ellen Foley. The song's style is completely different to their other work and is often considered to be a forebearer to the twee pop genre.
** ''Sandinista!'', the album "Hitsville U.K." is on, is itself completely different from the rest of their albums, including various songs in [[GenreRoulette different genres.]]
*** Of particular note on ''Sandinista!'' is the song "Lose This Skin," which was written by, sung by, and prominently featured the violin playing of Tymon Dogg, with The Clash acting as his backing band.
* SopranoAndGravel: Two male variant. Strummer was a baritone and, especially on the early records, sang his lines in a rough, growly manner. Jones lies on the border of tenor and countertenor, and his vocals were much cleaner as a rule.
* UsefulNotes/SpanishCivilWar: The song "Spanish Bombs", from ''London Calling'', was dedicated to the Republican side of the conflict.
* StageNames: John Mellor is Joe Strummer. Original drummer Terry Chimes was credited in the liner notes for ''The Clash'' as "Tory Crimes", [[TakeThat a shot at]] [[UsefulNotes/BritishPoliticalSystem the Conservative Party in Britain]], who are also known as the Tories.
* StepUpToTheMicrophone: Paul Simonon on "The Guns of Brixton", "The Crooked Beat", and "Red Angel Dragnet"; Topper Headon on "Ivan Meets G.I. Joe"; Nick Sheppard on "North and South."
* AStormIsComing: "London Calling."
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: After Mick Jones was fired, he was replaced with Mick Jones-lookalike Nick Sheppard.
* ThreeChordsAndTheTruth: After all, they were part of the punk rock movement. By the time of ''London Calling'', they had largely ditched this aesthetic.
* TitleOfTheDead: "City of the Dead", B-side of the "Complete Control" single.
* TrrrillingRrrs: In "White Man (In Hammersmith Palais):"
--> "Onstage they ain't got no... Rrroots rrrock rrrebel"
* VocalTagTeam: Joe Strummer and Mick Jones went on a song-by-song basis on every album (except their final album ''Cut The Crap'', which was entirely Strummer due to Jones' firing). Although Strummer got the majority of songs, Jones sang lead on some of their most recognizable tunes (notably "Train in Vain" and "Should I Stay or Should I Go?").
* [[AWildRapperAppears A Wild Poet Appears]]: Creator/AllenGinsberg on "Ghetto Defendant". This probably would be a proto-version of the trope if Music/{{Blondie}} and The Clash themselves weren't already on that
* WhiteDwarfStarlet: "The Right Profile" is a tragi-comical version of this.
* WithFriendsLikeThese: Joe and Mick eventually. Apparently by the end Mick hated talking to Joe so much he'd just post his lyrics through Joe's letterbox and then walk home again.