Author(s): Randal Doane
This is a love story. It's the story of how The Clash fell in love with America, and how America loved them back. The romance began in full in 1977, when select rock journalists and DJs aided the band's quest to depose the rock of indolence that dominated American airwaves. This history situates The Clash amid the cultural skirmishes of the 1970s, and culminates with their September 1979 performance at the Palladium, in New York City. This concert, broadcast live on WNEW, concluded with Paul Simonon treating his Fender bass like a woodsman's axe. The performance produced one of the most exhilarating Clash bootleg recordings, and the photo of Simonon's outburst - which graced the cover of the London Calling LP - was recently deemed the greatest rock 'n' roll photograph of all time. That night marked one of the last opportunities for American audiences to see The Clash as a punk band, vying between conviction and uncertainty, before they became a seriously brilliant rock group.
Randal Doane grew up in Northern California on a diet of casseroles, iceberg lettuce, and rockabilly. He studied Marx, American racialisation, and cultural studies, and has published essays and articles on middlebrow aesthetics, illegal file-sharing, Adorno, Freud, Brian Wilson, and Bruce Springsteen. He presently serves as an Assistant Dean of Studies at Oberlin College.