Dubbed the The Only Band that Matters, The Clash mixed hard rock and later reggae and dub with political and social commentary. Mick Jones had formed the London SS to replicate the hard rock sound of Mott the Hoople and The Faces. Joe Strummer was leading the 101'ers but abandoned the band after hearing the Sex Pistols in 1975.
Jones and Strummer turned out to have a Lennon-McCartney songwriting relationship. Strummer had hard rock sensibilities and political motivation, while Jones represented the melodic and some might say rock star part of the tandem. Their distinctive voices are heard throughout their short career. Later efforts by Strummer's reconstituted Clash and Jones' Big Audio Dynamite showed the punk and rock edge versus rock and dub. Jones' childhood friend Paul Simonon was a songwriter and fine musician in his own right, and he went onto form a roots rock band before going into painting.
In 1978, The Clash toured the UK on their White Riot tour. A year later, they successfully toured the US and Europe on their Pearl Harbour '79 tour. On their last full band tour in 1982, The Clash opened for the The Who in support of their hit single Should I Stay or Should I Go and the record Combat Rock. They were routinely booed off the stage.
In 1983, Tory Crimes was fired for heavy drug use. Jones was sacked by Simonon and Strummer for drifting away from the original idea of The Clash. The reconstituted Clash toured and tested the new lineup. Their album Cut the Crap was poorly received. In 1986, Simonon and Strummer decided to permanantly disband.