Terry Chimes was a member of the proto-punk band London SS, which also featured Mick Jones and Paul Simonon who, with Chimes, would team up with Joe Strummer and Keith Levene to form The Clash.
Both Chimes and Levene subsequently left, but Chimes was brought back to record the band's self-titled debut album, The Clash. On the album sleeve, he was credited as Tory Crimes. After recording the album, Chimes left the band once again and was replaced by Topper Headon.
In 1982, Headon was forced out of the band for his drug addiction, and Chimes was asked to rejoin. He participated in The Casbah Club tours for both the USA and the UK, a brief tour supporting The Who, and the following Combat Rock tour back in the USA. He was also featured in the music video for the single, "Rock the Casbah." After the Jamaican World Music Festival of 1982, he left for the third and final time.
After leaving The Clash, Chimes drummed in bands including Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers briefly in 1977 and 1984, Cowboys International in 1979, Gen X from 1980 to 1981, Hanoi Rocks in 1985, The Cherry Bombz in 1986 (with ex Hanoi Rocks members Andy McCoy and Nasty Suicide and ex Sham 69/Wanderers/The Lords of the New Church Dave Tregunna) and Black Sabbath on their Eternal Idol Tour in 1987–88. He also played drums with Billy Idol for a period of time.
In 2003, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Clash. At the induction ceremony, he gave an acceptance speech praising Topper Headon's work.
He was nominated as a Scouting in London Ambassador for the Scout Association Region for Greater London at an Adult Appreciation ceremony in 2008.
Chimes has been linked to an Irish film called "Ringsend". The film is also set to star Martin Kemp.
He currently plays drums for The Crunch and the Anita Chellemah Band.