There was a time when the Clash were called "the only band that matters." And for a time, it seemed like that wasn't just record-company hyperbole designed to sell records and concert tickets, but an indisputable fact.

They released only six albums during their brief lifetime, and all but one of them are classic records of not only the punk genre from which they originated but within the bigger umbrella of rock 'n' roll itself, as you'll see in our above list of the Clash Albums Ranked Worst to Best.

The Clash's first album came out in 1977, the same year the Sex Pistols' historic Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols debuted -- though the self-titled LP was delayed two years in the U.S., where it was given a revised track listing and a release after their second album came out in the States.

It was an exciting time for rock 'n' roll. The politically potent and emotionally charged songs on The Clash represented a new era. "No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones," as one of their songs memorably declared. But within two years, they were rewriting the rules while circling back to the roots those classic-rock bands were inspired by. London Calling was their masterpiece -- a double-LP distillation of a quarter century of rock 'n' roll. In the end, they were just as much a rock 'n' roll band as the Beatles and the Stones.

Over the next couple years, they got even more ambitious, before scaling back and eventually finding mainstream success. But by then tensions were at a boiling point within the band, and guitarist Mick Jones (a key component of the Clash's sound) and drummer Topper Headon were kicked out, and replaced for the group's final, all-but-disowned album.

So yeah, the Clash were the "only band that matters" for a brief period. Don't believe us? Check out the Clash Albums Ranked Worst to Best for proof.