The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

The Clash (Nicky ('Topper') Headon; Mick Jones; Joe Strummer; Paul Gustave Simonon)

Identify sitters

© Pennie Smith

2 Likes voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

The Clash (Nicky ('Topper') Headon; Mick Jones; Joe Strummer; Paul Gustave Simonon)

by Pennie Smith
bromide fibre print, 1977
16 in. x 12 in. (405 mm x 305 mm)
Purchased, 1999
Photographs Collection
NPG x87825

Sittersback to top

Artistback to top

  • Pennie Smith (1949-), Photographer. Artist or producer of 12 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Formed in London in 1976, The Clash comprised vocalist Joe Strummer, guitarist Mick Jones, bass player Paul Simonon and drummer Terry Chimes, soon to be replaced by Topper Headon. The songs on their 1977 debut album 'The Clash' were inspired by the political disenchantment and social unrest rife throughout Britain in the late 1970's. Early Clash gigs were notoriously violent occasions and the group's cult status was fuelled by music press hysteria which established them as the leading voice of the Punk Rock movement. They rejected the effective censorship placed upon them by music industry money-men and preached the virtues of punk's do-it-yourself approach to being creative. Subsequent albums 'Give 'Em Enough Rope' (1978), 'London Calling' (1979), 'Sandinista' (1980) and 'Combat Rock' (1982) combined an eclectic range of musical styles and saw the band tackle controversial subject matter on a global scale. A series of epic world tours established their status as one of the greatest live acts in rock history. The acrimonious departures of Jones and Headon by 1983 and 1985's lacklustre release 'Cut The Crap' marked an underwhelming finale to The Clash's existence. Re-released in 1991 after appearing in a television commercial, the 'Combat Rock' single 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' became the band's first UK number one. Rumours of a reunion continued until the sudden death of Strummer in 2002. The Clash were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Hoare, Philip; Pepper, Terence, Icons of Pop, 1999 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 4 June -19 September 1999), p. 51

Events of 1977back to top

Current affairs

In celebration of her 25th year as Queen, Elizabeth II tours the British Isles visiting communities and schools in 36 counties, before touring the commonwealth. Across the country people held street parties to celebrate the occasion; there were 4,000 street parties in London alone.

Art and science

British punk rockers, The Sex Pistols, release the single, God Save The Queen to coincide with the Silvery Jubilee celebrations. The single reached Number 2 in the charts among claims that it was being kept off the top spot for political reasons. The band was arrested for trying to perform the song from a boat on the Thames during the Queen's Royal Progress trip down the river.


Elvis Presley dies of a heart attack aged 42. His body was discovered collapsed on the bathroom floor of his Graceland mansion in Memphis by his fiancée Ginger Alden. Rumours that the star is actually still alive but in hiding continue to perpetuate among diehard fans.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.


Scientific techniques

Watch our playlist exploring scientific techniques used by the Gallery to unlock the secrets behind our Tudor portraits.

Watch now

Subjects and themes

Search the collection by themes - from pets to weddings!

Discover the Collection

Black History Month

Take a tour exploring our Collection created by Alayo Akinkugbe for Black History Month in 2020.

Take the tour

A Picture of Health

Learn about pioneers in medicine, health and social reform from 1840 to 1920.

Explore the timeline