Chapter 3

Coming to America

The band toured the US for the first time in February 1979, taking along as support Bo Diddley, one of the greatest pioneers of American rhythm & blues and a Clash hero. By then, their first album had reportedly sold 100,000 copies on import. The six-shows were billed as the ‘Pearl Harbour’ tour, and the group pulled no punches by opening their sets with the song I’m So Bored With The USA. The American audiences fell in love with them – and The Clash fell in love with America.”

Hits Back
Part 1

Release of Give ‘Em Enough Rope and heading to America

“There’s like a box of the records for Give Them Enough Rope and then Topper and Robin went round to cheapo cheapo’s with it so they had the record first before anybody else” — Mick

Part 2

Topper on American Music

Photo by Uhlemann, Thomas [Wikimedia Commons]

“We’d go home from gigs in a hotel in England and we wouldn’t be able to eat when we got back to the hotel, wouldn’t be able to eat until breakfast the next morning” — Topper

Part 3

Support Acts

“And also we had Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and it was in Washington DC and he came on in a coffin didn’t he” — Mick

Part 4

Antagonising America

“We were reading the review and it said after us David Johanssen’s band sounded like fragrant lilac” — Mick

Part 5

Audience Expectations

“We were bringing something that was more rock ’n’ roll and more fresh and more vibrant” — Paul

Part 6

Back to England

“We went and saw Bruce Lee’s grave and you know there were kind of like you know historical places of music and film to go and see” — Topper