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Credit: John Coffey

Music

Mick Jones of The Clash on his favourite Rolling Stones album

The Clash formed in 1976 and became one of the earliest London punk groups to rival the Sex Pistols. Their style developed over the latter half of the 1970s into a unique formula of punk, infused with reggae, dub, funk and rockabilly – a winning combination that pushed them to the height of punk-era fame and secured them a place in rock ‘n’ roll history. 

In the early days, The Clash did the rounds, playing in any dingey pubs and small music venues around England that would admit an up and coming punk group. In July 1976, they gave their debut performance in Sheffield, supporting the Sex Pistols. In just a few short weeks over that summer, The Clash had become a prominent force in the punk scene, riding in the wake of the Sex Pistols alongside Manchester outfit Buzzcocks.

While The Clash were associated with the punk movement, their unique sound was diverse thanks to the eclectic tastes of the members. By the late 1970s, The Clash became much more than just a punk group and were among the most important bands in the so-called new wave. Prominent acts of the 1980s, including Echo and the Bunnymen, Aztec Camera, U2, and The Specials, all later described The Clash as a key influence.

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The success of 1979’s London Calling across the Atlantic also meant the group inspired a variety of subsequent US acts, including Bad Religion, Green Day and Rise Against. Bob Dylan’s son, Jakob, once described London Calling as the record that “changed his life”. 

In a 2004 interview published in The Observer, The Clash’s lead guitarist, Mick Jones, discussed some of the artists and albums that influenced him most as a musician. It’s apparent that the 1960s held most of Jones’ favourite music, as he picked out classic albums from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Who, The Kinks and The Beatles. 

He also showed some love for the glam era, picking out David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars and Mott the Hoople’s Wildlife
Jones also revealed his love for The Rolling Stones, and while explaining that so many of their classic albums could be described as personal favourites, 1972’s Exile On Main Street came just a cut above the rest.

Sticky Fingers, Get Your Ya Ya’s Out, Goatshead Soup, Beggars Banquet, Their Satanic Majesties, Let It Bleed…” Jones said. “It could have been any of these but for total absolute feel it has to be Exile. Records used to come out on Thursdays so by the Saturday, if you were into a band, you knew all the tracks by heart.”