“Fight for what really matters—and do it loud as hell.” So said Joe Strummer, vocalist and lyricist with London punk visionaries The Clash. Right from their formation in 1976, the band used every tool they could to give a voice to the voiceless and to fight the powers that be—to do it yourself and have a good time while doing it. How, and why, this iconic band’s words and ideals have endured are explored in the new Spotify original podcast Stay Free: The Story of The Clash.
The eight-part series, launching today, is produced in partnership with BBC Studios, and is narrated by hip-hop legend Chuck D, front man of Public Enemy. Like The Clash, Public Enemy openly challenged the status quo in a completely original way—this parallel and Chuck D’s personal experiences bring a surprising new dimension to the story of The Clash.
Today the band is still considered one of the most important and influential artists in all of music. They produced a vast eclectic body of work, and they never abandoned their principles. Their pointed, lyrical insights on topics such as social inequality and climate change were so fresh and direct, their musical taste so wide-ranging, that the songs sound more like they were written four days—not four decades—ago.
Founding members Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Nicky “Topper” Headon were never shy about blasting their messages in a manner that inspired immediate, head-bopping excitement as well as long-term activism and action. The band began to unravel after just seven highly productive years, but as Chuck D says in the podcast’s trailer, “The band burned so brightly, they had to burn out.” But in doing so they have achieved legendary status—and their lyrics and music have enjoyed eternal life.
After The Clash called it quits, the original and later members went on to create or join several other notable bands, including Big Audio Dynamite and The Mescaleros, to name just two. But The Clash proved—and remains—an impossible act to follow.
Stay Free is the latest addition to Spotify’s exclusive library of original music-focused podcasts, joining critically acclaimed shows like Dissect, The Joe Budden Podcast, and Under Cover. Spotify recently announced major expansions in its podcast strategy, acquiring podcast publisher Gimlet and services provider Anchor.
Podcasts are available on Spotify for both free and premium users.
Click the Follow button on Spotify’s page for Stay Free to listen to the first episode on February 28.