Chapter 1

I Wanna Riot

On 31 August 1976 band members Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon, then living in squats nearby, joined the rioting in Notting Hill, West London, when hundreds of black youths fought with police after a long summer of simmering tensions fuelled by overtly racist policing. The events of that day inspired the group to write the song White Riot, which helped to define the group’s radical and provocative political agenda, and in March 1977 became their debut single.

Hits Back
Part 1

Paul on the Riots

Photo by Simonok
Photo by Penny Smith

“It built up from paper cups to tin cans and the next minute it was bricks” — Paul

Part 2

Paul on the influence of the Rastas in the riots

“They seemed like they were orchestrating crowds like generals” — Paul

Part 3

Meeting Sid Vicious and returning to the riot

“The way his voice of authority was informed, you thought ‘yeah he’s right’ so the three of us all turned back and went somewhere else and tried to find Mick I think” — Paul

Part 4

“1-2 Crush On You” and artwork

“But you know the single is different? The single came out first” — Mick

Part 5

White Riot

“And you know what, what are white people doing? They’re not doing anything, they’re not reacting anyway whatsoever but then again we did by being in a band and writing about things that affected us” — Paul