In one of the best and most talked-about sequences in Richard Linklater’s instant classic film Boyhood, Ethan Hawke gives Ellar Coltrane a homemade compilation he calls The Black Album. It consists of solo tracks from each of the four Beatles, sequenced in a way that captures the magic the band were able to make when they were still a cohesive unit. “Basically, I’ve put the band back together for you,” Hawke wrote in the liner notes.
It’s such a good idea that EW decided to steal it. There are countless bands who have broken up and never circled back around to a cash-grab reunion, and we’ve begun with one of my absolute favorites: The Clash. The group didn’t officially stick a fork in it until 1986, but the bloom was well off the rose by the time drummer Topper Headon left the group just prior to the release of 1982’s Combat Rock. The relationship between co-leads Mick Jones and Joe Strummer were hopelessly strained by the end, and by the time the group released the disastrous Cut the Crap in 1985, Jones was already deep into his second life as the frontman for Big Audio Dynamite.
Like the Beatles before them, the members of the Clash did make up and collaborate on an individual basis after they broke up, but they never got the band back together (and once Strummer suddenly passed away in 2002, that door was officially closed for good). Still, here are 19 tracks (the same number that appeared on the watershed London Calling) from the post-Clash lives of the core four that re-capture the spirit of what made them sonically and philosophically revolutionary. READ FULL STORY