Unique in the history of modern music, the Clash was one of the most explosive and exciting bands to come out of the fertile late-1970’s London scene. The Clash took the manic anger of British punk and transformed it into a political and aesthetic agenda. The classic line-up of the Clash was together only seven years. In that time, they defined punk rock from a British perspective, celebrated the American roots of rock and roll, and embraced Jamaican ska, dub and reggae sounds. Their debut album became the best-selling imported record when it was denied a U.S. release. Album after album, as they railed against the status quo of corporate rock and safe middle-class values, the Clash was a burning reminder of why punk mattered.
The first major exhibit on the Clash’s legacy in rock and roll history, Revolution Rock examines the music and lives of the band through a display of well-known instruments, stage clothing, rare memorabilia and never-before-seen original manuscripts and artifacts from the band. Among the highlights are Joe Strummer’s Fender Telecaster, Mick Jones’ Gibson Les Paul Jr., Paul Simonon’s smashed bass guitar from the cover of “ London Calling,” and handwritten lyrics for London Calling, “Know Your Rights” and “Clampdown.” This exhibit came about through the direct involvement of the band members themselves and the family of the late Joe Strummer. The Clash were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.
True to form, Mick Jones, when asked about the new exhibit on the Clash, said, “If you told me 30 years ago that we were going to be in a museum – we would have laughed at you.” Joe Strummer’s collection appears courtesy of Lucinda Mellor, Joe’s widow, who together with friends and family, has started a charity, STRUMMERVILLE, for the promotion of new music. Mick Jones, Terry Chimes and Lucinda Mellor participated in unveiling the exhibit October 20-21 in Cleveland.