Chapter 2

The Reggae Connection

When The Clash were recording their debut album in February 1977, they were asked to come up with an extra track to increase the overall running time. As big reggae fans, their answer was to cover Police & Thieves, a contemporary club hit by Jamaican singer Junior Murvin. The Clash gave the song their own edgy rock makeover, a move that kick-started punk’s lasting connection with militant black music, and opened up the band’s music to a strong reggae influence.

Hits Back
Part 1

Paul's Introduction to Reggae

Photo by nicksarebi [Wikimedia Commons]

“The reggae artists that used to come over to the UK, they used to have skinheads as their bodyguards so there was no antagonism towards black music or black people. It was really pro multiculturalism really” — Paul

Part 2

Topper on Reggae

“I asked him what did he think of our version and he said ‘oh you ruined it’” — Paul

Part 3

Seeing Reggae Acts

Photo by 3x0=3 [Wikimedia Commons]
Photo by Penny Smith

“I remember we played March Of The Mods in Italy, I remember that when there was kind of like a bit of a stage invasion and a few of us were drunk and we pulled out and we played March Of The Mods” — Topper

Part 4

Going to Jamaica

Photo by Penny Smith
Photo by Dubdem Sound System [Wikimedia Commons]

“Everything was happening, which we didn’t discover until the last day we were there, in the Sheriton just 100 yards down the road” — Mick

Part 5

The Harder They Come

Photo by Penny Smith
Photo by Matt-80 [Wikimedia Commons]

“The film was great and it did amuse me that they had to put subtitles of it on. But I guess there’s a lot of people that didn’t grow up in south London” — Paul