No Elvis, Beatles, or The Rolling Stones

The Clash   Mick Jones (lead guitar), Joe Strummer (rhythm guitar, lead vocals), Paul Simonon (bass guitar).   Roxy Club opening gala, New Year's Day 1977.

The Clash

In the mid 1970s the predominant forms of music were, what’s now called “classic rock” and disco. The music of each genre was very different but shared an over produced quality and theatrical component that produced crowns of technical achievement (Tommy, Saturday Night Fever) that didn't relate to real life as I knew it.

That year a new form of rock n’ roll labeled Punk had emerged that had a raw and unfinished power that had a sense of purpose and urgency that was exciting and unpredictable. The defining moment of movement was at the Roxy Club in London, New Year's Day opening gala in 1977, headlined by The Clash.  “No Elvis, Beatles, or The Rolling Stones” is a line from the chorus of The Clash’s punk manifesto “1977” and featured in The Clash - BBC Documentary filmed by Julien Temple in the months prior to and at the Roxy New Year's Day concert.

There is a correlation between Modern Art and Punk music in that they are typically more intellectually challenging than technically proficient. Modern Art challenged what it meant to paint or draw, Punk challenged what it meant to sing or play an instrument.

Billed as “The Only Band That Mattered” by CBS to promote their investment in The Clash was at odds with the anti-commercial beliefs and general disdain for authority the Clash and punk movement represented. The Clash lived up to the hype and couldn’t be ignored. The early interviews and performances were magic, Joe Strummer was smart, articulate and uncorrupted by the fame that would follow. The magic was short lived as punk quickly evolved into New Wave and abandoned many of the qualities that were identified with the genre.

Long before the mohawks, spikes, Black Flag and Rancid, there was 1977 and The Clash.