The Clash and musical artistry

Against the corporate voice

in Working for the clampdown
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At the heart of the mythology of punk rock is the notion that it was driven solely by a ‘do it yourself’ ethic that denounced the technical virtuosity of the most celebrated recording artists that came before. Drawing on the first-hand experience of a former manager of the band, this chapter suggests that the success of The Clash originated not in this much-lauded DIY culture but rather in a much more conventional and traditional dedication to their craft. That the band were able to sustain a commercially successful and artistically innovative career for so long was because they were absolutely committed to striving for ever greater levels of musical excellence. This commitment ensured that for all the compromises they were required to make, The Clash retained a palpable ‘authenticity’ that enabled them to challenge the artistic constraints of the ‘corporate voice’.

Working for the clampdown

The Clash, the dawn of neoliberalism and the political promise of punk

Editor: Colin Coulter

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