For the Clash's devoted, the past few weeks have been like Christmas: U.K.

For the Clash's devoted, the past few weeks have been like Christmas: U.K. rock mags Uncut and Mojo splashed the band on the covers of their current issues, and late frontman Joe Strummer was recently feted with a surprisingly potent tribute at the Grammy Awards. Now, just in time for the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, comes this immediately definitive retrospective, featuring all remastered tracks and 12 more cuts than the band's previous two-disc best-of, The Story of the Clash (1988). A few notable exclusions aside, like "Death or Glory" and "The Call Up," nearly all the greats are here, from "Janie Jones" to "Straight to Hell." All were hand-picked by the band members themselves. From the harmonica strains of "Groovy Times" to the goosebump-inducing intro to "Police on My Back" and the machine-gun snare work announcing "Tommy Gun," Essential is endlessly thrilling proof of the Clash's greatness. Those wondering why Strummer's passing leveled rock fans across the globe need give this set but one listen. The best from one of the best.—WO

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