The Clash

 (released on 8 April,1977)

 

List of songs :

 1 Janie Jones

 2 Remote Control

 3 I'm So Bored With The

   U.S.A.

 4 White Riot

 5 Hate & War

 6 What's My Name

 7 Deny

  8 London's Burning

 9 Career Opportunities

10 Cheat

11 Protex Blue

12 Police & Thieves

13 48 Hours

14 Garageland

 

 

 

Most of the debut LP 'The Clash' was written on the 18th floor of a council high rise on London's Harrow Road. The flat was owned by Mick's grandmother, who regularly turned up at Clash gigs...

 

 

 

videos

    One of the regular punk scene photographers, and a friend of the band, the American Kate Simon, took the iconic punk image front cover picture the previous year (late 1976) which captures the three-piece Clash posing like street-fighting-men on the trolley ramp of the old Tack Room opposite the Rehearsals building, in Camden.

 

  The stairway used for the front cover design of their first LP " The Clash"

Details of exact location can be found on this website:

http://www.feelnumb.com/2010/10/15/the-clash-debut-album-cover-photo-location/
 

   

During the cover shoot for the first Clash album, 1976

 

 

The back cover photograph by Rocco Macauley, shows a police charge at the Notting Hill Riot within the shadow of the Westway.

 

 

                The Rehearsal space was a very small area just inside the big arch-topped door (15ft x 10ft approx.) which is opposite the walkway (album cover) just above the red spec on the left of the above photograph. If you look down the big building with the two visible windows you can see the big entrance door. Those windows were the location of the upstairs office and if you look below you can just see the top left hand corner of the big door. It has a small normal door to the left of it and there is an over-sized red telephone box just outside it which is used by the market security.

        The big door which had 'Rehearsal Rehearsals' written quite small in red and white on it back in the early days can be seen in the Virgin Stores video documentary, filmed in 1977, called " Punk in London." As you went through the door the kit was set up to the left as you entered in front of an arched topped wall which is where Paul Simonon painted the car dump mural.

       The area is open at the weekends to go into as it now sells second hand clothes, but the arched wall has been knocked through and the area is now bigger than it was then. 

   

      If you walk through the STABLES entrance you can see a big red door to the right which was the entrance to Rehearsal Rehearsals.

      If you walk through the STABLES entrance and turn left you will see the stairway which was used for the first of The Clash's album covers.

 

 

An example of what the inside of Rehearsal Rehearsals may have looked like.......

 

 
           They wrote short, sharp, fast-riffing songs about the social, racial and political tensions that were simmering in the Summer of '76.

The Clash recorded their first album at CBS Studios, Whitfield Street, London-Studio 3,a tiny room at the top of the building, near Tottenham Court Road over twelve days, three four day sessions on consecutive Thursday-to-Sunday sessions, beginning on 10th February 1977.

 

The Spaghetti House opposite the studio was where they ate during their recording breaks.

   

   The CBS studios is now known as : Sony Music Studios, LONDON.

 

 
   

                 'Janie Jones' opens the album with staccato chords played as Mick Jones and Joe Strummer interplay guitars over the obsessive drive of the rhythm section.

As Mick was travelling on the 31 bus, from Harrow Road to Chalk Farm Road, for yet another rehearsal, the tune and chorus to 'Janie Jones,' came to him out of the blue.

'Janie Jones ' tells the story of someone working in a dreary office job and resenting having to do so when he could be listening to music, seeing his girlfriend or getting stoned.

      The infamous party host,'Janie Jones' was a real-life vice queen who had enjoyed a spell of newspaper notoriety before being given a four-year jail sentence.

Janie Jones presently lives in Kensington, London.

  The number 31 bus passing Camden Lock Hotel in Chalk Farm Road with the Roundhouse immediately opposite.

I'm So Bored With The USA was first performed at 22, Davis Road, where Joe Strummer wrote some verses to what he thought was the chorus.

The rhythm guitar riff is from The Beatles' 'The Word.'

   

August 1976, Notting Hill Carnival inspired the song "White Riot"

White Riot is based on Joe Strummer's experiences on 30th August 1976 at London's Notting Hill Carnival, where violence erupted between the blacks and the police. It suggests that disaffected white youths should learn to express their anger like the black youths through direct action.

 

         'White Riot ', was first performed during mid-September 1976 and became one of the Clash's theme songs.

 In late November 1976, the Clash were to add two more songs to their repertoire. 'Hate and War' was partly inspired by the slogan on Joe's boiler suit and 'Cheat'..

          Hate And War was written by Joe Strummer in a small disused ice cream factory in Foscote Mews behind Harrow Road.

 

 

Protex Blue  was inspired by and named after the brand of contraceptives available from the machine in the toilets of the Windsor Castle music pub on the Harrow Road, just round the corner from Mick's high rise flat, Wilmcote House .

   

  What's My Name was written by Mick and Keith Levene before Joe Strummer arrived on the scene around May 1976 at Riverside Studios which The Clash were using before Rehearsal Rehearsals became available.

   

  The Clash's first recorded reggae cover was a version of Junior Murvin's 1976 hit 'Police And Thieves 'and is superbly performed in the " Rude Boy " video.

   

 The 100 Club, Oxford Street, W1 immortalised by The Clash in "Deny."

   

   'London's Burning',the seductive power of amphetamine sulphate, were the lights of the Westway as seen from the balcony of Wilmcote House.

A scene from "The Westway" video shows Mick peering over Wilmcote House balcony at the evening lights below.

       

'Career Opportunities' was introduced to the band's set sometime in October 1976; it was a title Mick suggested to which Joe wrote the dead-end jobs lyrics 'Do you wanna make tea at the BBC?' at Rehearsal Rehearsals.

 

  '48 Hours' was written in the upstairs room at Rehearsals when the band required an additional song.

The song is about speeding through a weekend non-stop to taste as much as possible before the five-day week arrives again.

   
Garageland was written as a result of Charles Shaar Murray's New Musical Express review of The Clash at Screen On The Green :    

" The kind of garage band who should be speedily returned to their garage, preferably with the motor running, which would undoubtedly be more of a loss to their friends and families than to either rock'n'roll."

The riff's debt is to Mott The Hoople's "All The Way From Memphis."

 

In the Uncut magazine February 2003, original band members tell the inside story of the group's early days and the making of their debut album with superb photographs by Kate Simon.......

 

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.

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