Topper Headon (The Clash)

Topper Headon, English drummer and songwriter with British Punk bands the Clash and Mirkwood was born 30 May 1955. He joined the Clash in 1976 alongside Joe Strummer Mick Jones and Paul Simonen as part of the original wave of British punk. Before joining The Clash Strummer also had previous musical experience with The 101ers, Latino Rockabilly War, The Mescaleros and The Pogues. Along with punk, their music incorporated elements of reggae, ska, dub, funk, rap, and rockabilly. The Clash became one of the most prominent of the emerging bands in the UK punk rock scene, their second album, Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978) reaching number 2 on the UK charts. Soon after, they began achieving success in the US, starting with London Calling (1979), and peaking with 1982′s Combat Rock, reaching number 7 on the US charts and being certified 2x platinum there.

The Clash achieved commercial success in the United Kingdom with the release of their debut album, The Clash, in 1977. Their third album, London Calling, released in the UK in December 1979, earned them popularity in the United States when it was released there the following month. It was declared the best album of the 1980s a decade later by Rolling Stone magazine. In 1982 they reached new heights of success with the release of Combat Rock, which spawned the US top 10 hit “Rock the Casbah”, helping the album to achieve a 2× Platinum certification there. The Clash’s politicised lyrics, musical experimentation, and rebellious attitude had a far-reaching influence on rock, alternative rock in particular. They became widely referred to as “The Only Band That Matters”, originally a promotional slogan introduced by the group’s record label, CBS. Sadly internal tensions within the band led to Headon leaving the group in 1982, and Jones also departed the following year. The group continued with new members, but finally disbanded in early 1986 shortly after the fnal album, Cut the Crap, was released.

After the Clash split Strummer embarked on his own solo music career and also acted wrote film scores for television and movies, and presented radio program’s and went on to become one of the most iconic figures of the British punk movement. The Clash were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 2003. Strummer sadly passed away 22 December 2002 however, Strummer’s friends and family established theStrummerville Foundation in his memory which promotes new music, and each year there are many festivals and both organised and spontaneous ceremonies worldwide to celebrate his memory. In January 2003, the band—including original drummer Terry Chimes—were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the Clash number 28 on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

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