It is offical – The Clash is the greatest band of all time
November 1, 2011
Some people try to debate who they think the greatest band of all time is. Some people try to say The Beatles while some argue the Rolling Stones. People that smoke a lot of dope might say Pink Floyd. Youngsters have a proclivity for Nirvana. But all this is seriously humourous. No band has impacted music and society the way The Clash did. They were so influential they impacted bands even before they were even a band like the Rolling Stones and Beatles, both of whom should thank The Clash for their success. There is no debate really. The Clash is simply the greatest band of all time.
Why is The Clash so damn great?
- Their worst song, Rock the Casbah, was a huge commercial success. Yea the song is horrible but millions and millions of people still bought it. What other band can say their worst song was #8 on the Billboard chart?
- I recently saw Moneyball and Real Steel: two movies released in the fall of 2011. In Moneyball Brad Pitt has a Clash Poster in his office and in Real Steel (set in something like 2030) one of the hoodlum back alley robot boxers wears a London Calling t-shirt. The Clash broke up in 1986. Yet whoever is responsible for things like that in movies felt compelled 25 years later to still make sure to include them in their movie. It is like a secret handshake.
- London Calling is brilliant. There isn’t a song that is less than spectacular on this album. Train of Vain was an add -on that didn’t even make the song list on the album and yet the song still totally rocks. The song London Calling is probably the most popular on the album and while it is great, it isn’t even top three on the album. Most artists are consider a huge success if they produce two or three great songs over their career and The Clash had 19 on one album. Also, I can’t imagine any argument in which someone could convince me there is a better album cover. Ever. The cool thing about it is the picture is out of focus and completely not staged. Its blemishes make it perfect. So you can safely say, London Calling is literally flawless inside and out.
- Redemption Song cover in which Joe Strummer sings with Johnny Cash. The song is incredible, better than Bob Marley’s original version. Enough said.
- I think I am a pretty regular average guy. So going with that premise lets look at my iPod. I have 2.52 GB of music on it. 312.8 MB of it is The Clash. If they weren’t the greatest band of all time would they take that much memory on my iPod? I think not. While this is only mostly a scientific extrapolation, it still is pretty sound reasoning.
- MIA sampled Straight to Hell for her hit, Paper Planes, that was a commercial success thanks to the movie Pineapple Express. Almost three decades later musicians still feel they need to steal from The Clash to be successful.
- Rock? Punk? Ska? Reggae? Rockabilly? There are splashes of Jazz , Gospel and Folk. Even a precursor to rap and hip hop. I defy you to define their music. What other band has no classification? They are their own category. A category of one.
- Sandinista. 3 album set. 36 songs. This is a collection of songs that at first seems random and many average the first go around. Maybe even the second. But every time you listen to the tracks, their genius is further exposed. The lyrics are politically charged, the music is diverse and dynamic. And in classic anti-establishment attitude, the music was all that mattered when the band released the album despite opposition from their label. And if this wasn’t all enough, the band reduced or eliminated (depends on who you believe) their royalties to make the album more affordable to kids like me. Lastly, Charlie Don’t Surf is one of my favorite songs ever.
- They are known as “The Only Band That Matters”. That pretty much sums it up, no?
- When I saw the Clash open for The Who in 1982 at the Pontiac Silverdome, they were playing Should I Stay or Should I Go and the stupid crowd started chanting “go”. So what did Mick Jones do? He flipped off the crowd, unplugged his guitar and walked off stage. How cool is that?
These are the objective facts that prove The Clash’s greatness, if we wanted to go into subjective opinion I could go on and on and on, but let’s stick to just the facts here.
I would love to hear your opinion on the subject.