(Released 14th May, 1982)



List of songs :

 1 Know Your Rights

 2 Car Jamming

 3 Should I Stay Or

   Should I Go ?

 4 Rock The Casbah

 5 Red Angel Dragnet

 6 Straight to Hell

 7 Overpowered By Funk

 8 Atom Tan

 9 Sean Flynn

10 Ghetto Defendant

11 Inoculated City

12 Death Is A Star

                                              Mick and the River Kwai -1982


The Clash - Combat Rock (1982)

It was CBS Head of A&R Muff Winwoods idea for me to do this. Was Mick Jones miffed that the album largely got recorded without his involvement? Thats a bit of an understatement. He was extremely annoyed. I was asked to mix the album - I didnt produce it - they turned it in as a double album and CBS were not very happy. They called me in, asked whether Id be interested in mixing it, and I met with their manager and Joe Strummer and agreed to do it. I mixed it at my studio. We started at 10am and Joe was there at 9.45am and we worked all day. Mick didnt turn up till 7pm and Id already mixed four or five tracks. He came in and I said, Ill play you what weve been up to today. I played them all back and he sat there with a pencil and pad and was making notes and he went, Okay, these are the changes I want you to make. I said, Im not making any changes, Ive done it. So he got a bit miffed. I said, if youd have been here at 10am Id have been very interested to hear what observations you had while I was doing it. If you think Im going to do them all again for you because you cant be bothered to turn up till 7 in the evening, youre wrong, mate."

The following day I rang CBS and told them Mick Jones didnt want me to mix the album but theyd spoken to him and hed apparently agreed to let me and Joe get on with it. I think Mick liked the album in the end.

With the  working title of  'Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg'  The Clash embarked on their ground breaking tour of Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia on 24th January 1982.


In March 1982, Pennie Smith shot the cover photo for Combat Rock on a deserted railway line outside Bangkok in Thailand. The cover photograph continues the railway association theme begun by the cover of The Clash and later on by Sandinista ! 


Combat Rock took only a week to make number two in the UK album charts.

' Should I Stay or Should I Go ' was written in the Autumn of 1981 with the lyrics either referring to Mick Jones pre-empting his departure from the band or to his soon-to-implode relationship with Ellen Foley. The Ecuadorian Spanish backing vocals are by Joe Strummer and Joe Ely.


Topper recorded the piano, the drums and the bass for 'Rock the Casbah.' The piano riff for the song was one that he had been playing around with for years.

Mick added the guitar and Joe the lyrics he had written to suit, inspired by the floggings meted out to anyone owning a disco album in Iran.

Red Angel Dragnet was written in the Iroquois Hotel, near Times Square, New York by Joe Strummer. It was based on the Guardian Angel, Frank Melvin who was shot dead by a policeman in New Jersey on New Years Day, 1982.

(The Clash played Sacramento Memorial Auditorium 22nd October 1982)

 'Straight To Hell' began as a Mick Jones guitar doodle that would not work with a rock'n'roll beat; so Topper grafted on a bossa nova drum pattern, itself drawn from a Brazilian hybrid of samba, baiao and jazz.

The lyrics for the song were written at The Iroquois Hotel on New Year's Eve 1981.

"Eddie King's best-known work for The Clash is the cover of the Know Your Rights single and the Straight To Hell  12-inch, featuring a skull wearing a war helmet next to four aces." (pp.30-31 The Rise and Fall of THE CLASH by Danny Garcia (2012).

Mixing Know Your Rights PART 1 -

Mixing Know Your Rights PART 2  -



Ghetto Defendent features the poet, Allen Ginsberg "the voice of God" whose lyrics concerned New York's spiralling drug crisis.

Joe Blaney,  Fab 5 Freddy and friends at Electric Studios, NYC - November 1981 / 1982...


Tony Fletcher's " the Clash.....the Complete Guide to their Music (2005)  " features an album by album, track by track analysis & information on when and where the music was recorded.

Click to Rude Boy page