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Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash
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Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  983 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
The only internationally successful, million-selling group to emerge from the late seventies London punk scene, the Clash set out to change the world with a potent mix of politics, iconic imagery, and blazing rock ‘n’ roll. It was an agenda mirrored in the Clash’s music, which swiftly evolved from ferocious punk rock to incorporate reggae, ska, funk, jazz, soul, and hip-ho ...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published May 11th 2005 by Da Capo Press (first published October 21st 2004)
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Joe Blow
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Good Music Lovers
Recommended to Joe Blow by: Andy
This book just solidifies that The Clash is still "the only band that matters." I read this in about week, I could not put it down. It goes into each band members life before the band and life in the band. I can't say enough about how great this book is. I love it.
Jason Coleman
Oct 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: musique
Go way back with these guys. I remember still being on my learner's permit when Sandinista! came out, so I had to throw my oblivious mother in the car for the drive to the record store. I even saw them live—only a couple gigs before they fired Mick Jones, so just under the wire. But it's been ages since I've listened to them. Something about the Clash—their rousing, communist-cell single-mindedness, their asexuality, I don't know what—put me off once I left my teens. Reading Pat Gilbert's (very ...more
Jennifer Ozawa
I may have fallen a tiny little bit in love with The Clash.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Passion is a Fashion is a lengthy, involved, yet essentially engaging biography of The Clash as written by music journalist Pat Gilbert. Strung together from a variety of sources including his own in-depth interviews with the players, Gilbert puts together a detailed story of a band that was both similar to and very different from others. In other words, this is both a predictable tale of rock and roll excess and one wherein the band largely eschews the clichés and tries to accomplish the huge t ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The absolute best book about the Clash I have ever read.It's almost 500 pages, small ass print and informative as fuck.Great writing, very British.Fucking love The Clash.
Paula Hartman-Carlo
May 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves The Clash
This is the definitive biography of The Clash. Pat Gilbert not only interviews just about every person who was involved with the band but he also paints a detailed picture of what England was like in decades following WWII. The book is well organized and the reader can easily imagine what it was like to be on the road or in the studio with The Clash. Gilbert provides a discography and a bibliography. The only thing I was disappointed with was the lack of photos. There were a few pages but it was ...more
May 06, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: posers
a cool bunch of guys who were real nice to people and real dicks to each other.
Apr 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Yes
Great bio on the Only Band that Mattered.
Kay Smillie
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Out of all the books about the Clash this is the one to buy. Pat Gilbert really does have a passion for the band. It covers everything you need to know about the band from the days before they existed to what happened after the band was no more. Put four strong willed characters in a group and rock and roll from the heart was the result. My first gig was forty years ago this month (October 1977) and the Clash were the headline band. Great book.

Ray Smillie
Eric Lawless
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a really good rock bio/backstory tome. As a rule, to me at least, these are almost always sketchy to some degree. You know, we're reading a book about a rock band so....Shakespeare it ain't. This one was very well done, input from ex-band members and people in the bands inner circle back in the day. Any of the issues between band members in the past were answered honestly and openly, no b.s. A very good rock bio indeed!
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not much of a review for now, but when I read the part about Joe Strummer crashing at Rick Rubin's house while Johnny Cash was recording his American sessions and giving the impression that Joe was hanging around Cash like a wide-eyed little schoolboy, my heart warmed like a roasting fire.
Nick Sweeney
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A close look at the whole Clash phenomenon - for sure, in my opinion, the best band to come out of punk, who transcended it with some everlasting tunes. If the Clash had done nothing else but White Man in Hammersmith Palais, they'd still have been immortal one-hit wonders. So I've nailed my colours to the mast: I am a fan, and was always a fan, though I could see the rot setting in once they'd got into the triple-album jaunt of Sandinistas. You have to allow your heroes some flaws, I think.

Pat G
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
my rating of this book says i really liked it, but as it is a band bio, it was, at times, tedious..almost, at times, really effing boring. but who cares, right? i have been going through, like, the second great awakening of loving the clash (maybe it's an every 20 years thing? maybe i ought to save the other decent bio for when i'm 55?), so it just isn't enough to listen to, talk about, think about the imperative to _learn shit_, too.

joe strummer is, clearly, the best of the icons who
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Probably the most intelligently written music biography I've read. The Clash deserve it, as they are one of the few great bands to truly derive their complex political and philosophical viewpoints from lived experience. Gilbert seems to allude that the views they represented were the very reason that the band was predestined to a relatively short lifespan. Those viewpoints - the foundation of the band - did not mix with success. Punk music was not about success. Once the band achieved that succ ...more
Mark Farley
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"This is a very funny book," guitarist Mick Jones tells me recently over the new books table. "But don't believe everything you read.""Why's that, Mick?""Well, people remember events differently sometimes."Mick Jones there summing up what is essentially great but also the downfall of this sort of book but despite the guitarists reservations and possible mental blocks, this is the most definitive account of the West London band. It's wonderfully anecdotal to the point where you feel like you a me ...more
Apr 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Police and Thieves was the first Clash song that I remember hearing. Andrew had the Story of the Clash on two cassettes and I fell in love right away. I remember then getting The Clash on Broadway three CD set and listening to disc 2 especially over and over in my room. While I have always loved the music, I admit that I knew very little about the group before reading this book. Would I have liked as much if I didn’t love the music? Probably not. The book is a fascinating look at four very diffe ...more
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love the Clash. I do. I love everything about them. So why did it take me this long to read this book? It's dense. Jam-packed. Every paragraph has at least two different anecdotes. This isn't a bad thing. Not at all. Actually, it's a good thing, because you really get to know their band personalities and how they interact. It's light on the personal info (which is fine, that's all been covered in other sources mentioned in the last chapter), but heavy on band inspirations, interactions and imp ...more
Bre David
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash" by Pat Gilbert shows the story of the rise and fall of the 70s and 80s British punk band The Clash. I enjoyed this book because I learned things about my favorite band that I otherwise would not have known. For example, Morrissey, the lead singer of the Smiths, once signed up to drum for the band but they didn't think someone from the north could be a rock and roll fan so they threw his information away. I learned about Mick Jones being a prima ...more
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
For anyone who isn't jaded enough about punk rock, this is the book for you! What do you get when you mix a Woody Guthrie worshipping pubrocker, a couple wahed-up glamrockers, a reggae fanboy who can't play bass, and a several drummers of varying importance? Throw in a tyrannical manager, and you might just have something. A definite good read that any fan of the Clash won't be able to put down.
Victoria Tonner
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book because it stuck to the music and the inner workings of The Clash instead of gossip about wife's and girlfriends and I gained a better insight into Bernie Rhodes and his relationship with the clash and after reading this I agree the only thing left was to end the group after Rock the Casbah, best book about The Clash as a working band .
Timo Vuorensola
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music-books
Kattava ja läpikotainen, kelvollisesti käännetty The Clashin elämäkerta, joka opasti minut syvemmälle punkin hämmentäville alkulähteille. Kirja antoi myös paljon inspiraatiota ja innostusta, ja mikä tärkeintä, ajoi levykauppaan ja The Clashin tuotantoa hankkimaan.

Mielenkiintoinen musiikkielämäkerta muillekin kuin The Clashin faneille.
Nov 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of punk music, fans of The Clash
Recommended to Misssharice by: Saw it in Waterstones
A really interesting insight into the history and creation of the legends that are The Clash. It goes right back to when the band members were children and right to the death of Joe Strummer and the band's activities after this event. A really enjoyable read for fans of The Clash and punk music alike.
Sam Holliday
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wanted the definitive Clash biography and I think I may have found it. A really good read and one where the latter part of the career got the attention it deserved. A great band deserves a great book. The Clash just got it.
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I learned so much about The Clash! 90% of the things were a mystery to me until now.
The writing was good though the overall structure was a little jumbled.
If you consider yourself a fan, then this is a must-read.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Without a doubt, the best rock biography ever written in terms of its lyrical, exhaustively-researched, tongue-in-cheek, unbelievable scoopage and dust-in-the-eyes melancholic beauty. A pretty thick book that flies by so quickly you'll want to read it again.
Naomi Krokowski
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A book that honors The Only Band That Matters. Thorough but moves briskly, full of admiration for the complex characters that made up The Clash. I've spent years and untold hours enjoying and obsessing over their music and enjoyed getting to know how the alchemy and genius happened.
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, adult
Oh my goodness. This was an exhaustive history of the band and I loved learning about them, but fuuuuuck, the writing was so dryyyy. I usually read so fast, but this took me almost two months because it was so difficult to get into. But the content of it is great!
Jul 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A great book about one of the best bands ever. It's a very entertaining story, and really makes you feel what it must've been like to be in London in the late 70s. I also love the epilogue, which is a great tribute to Joe Strummer, who passed away before the book was published.
Rob Schorr
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought I'd read every decent book about the Clash. Somehow this one flew under my radar. Well worth it if you appreciate them. Well researched, well written from a different angle than most other books. Two thumbs up!
Apr 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rock-bio
My other favorite Clash book
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