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Tags: the clash | keith levene | dead

Keith Levene, Co-founder of The Clash, Dead at 65

keith levene performing
Keith Levene (AP)

By    |   Monday, 14 November 2022 12:11 PM EST

Guitarist Keith Levene, co-founder of pioneering punk bands The Clash and Public Image Ltd., died at age 65 on Friday of liver cancer, the New York Post confirmed. 

The news was first revealed Saturday by author Adam Hammond in a statement on Twitter. 

"It is with great sadness I report that my close friend and legendary Public Image Limited guitarist Keith Levene passed away on Friday 11th November," Hammond wrote. "There is no doubt that Keith was one of the most innovative, audacious and influential guitarists of all time."

Born in 1957 in London, Levene was a teenager when he got his foot in the door as a roadie for Yes in the early 1970s. He was 18 when he founded The Clash with guitarist Mick Jones and bassist Paul Simonon. The lineup was completed when Levene and manager Bernard Rhodes convinced Joe Strummer to join as their vocalist. 

The band quickly gained a cult following when Levene decided to leave. The band had just begun recording its 1977 debut album when he exited the group and went on to co-form Public Image with Sex Pistols singer John Lydon, who was previously known as Johnny Rotten, and bass player John Wardle, who was famously known as Jah Wobble. They later recruited Jim Walker on drums. 

Together, the band released their highly successful 1979 debut album, "Public Image: First Issue," and 1979 sophomore album, "Metal Box," before Levene left in 1983. 

"Keith sought to create a new paradigm in music and with willing collaborators John Lydon and Jah Wobble succeeded in doing just that," Hammond wrote on Twitter. "His guitar work over the nine minutes of 'Theme', the first track on the first PiL album, defined what alternative music should be."

Hammond added: "So much of what we listen to today owes much to Keith's work, some of it acknowledged, most of it not."

Levene is survived by his sister, Jill Bennett, and his partner, Kate Ransford.

Zoe Papadakis

Zoe Papadakis is a Newsmax writer based in South Africa with two decades of experience specializing in media and entertainment. She has been in the news industry as a reporter, writer and editor for newspapers, magazine and websites.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


TheWire
Guitarist Keith Levene, co-founder of pioneering punk bands The Clash and Public Image Ltd., died at age 65 on Friday of liver cancer, the New York Post confirmed. 
the clash, keith levene, dead
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2022-11-14
Monday, 14 November 2022 12:11 PM
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