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September 21, 1979: The Clash rock New York’s The Palladium

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POP history – September 21, 1979: The Clash rocked New York’s The Palladium for two nights.  This footage was shot on 8 mm film footage – the bootleg soundtrack put on later. The second night is celebrated forever. This was the night when Paul Simonon smashed his guitar into the stage at the end of White Riot, the show’s last song. Pennie Smith captured the moment that would form the cover shot of the epic London Calling.

Tom Carson recalls:

The musicians’ confidence was evident at every turn. Lead guitarist Mick Jones and bassist Paul Simonon leaped around as if no stage could hold them; Nicky Headon’s drums cracked through the music with the authority of machine-gun fire. The group’s perfect ensemble timing – the two guitars locking horns above the percussion; the way Jones’ ethereal, incantatory backup vocals filled the gaps in Joe Strummer’s harsh leads – went beyond mere technical mastery; it was audible symbols of the band’s communal instinct.

Feel the energy:

And – well, let’s have it. Vicky Park bounced:

  • Sain

    I was there!

  • David

    The September 21st date makes for a great legend. After all it was the night of the WNEW-FM simulcast of the concert and, based on the London Calling album credits, the night of the Paul Simonon bass guitar
    smash at the end of White Riot – in an iconic photo taken by Pennie Smith. Only problem is that he smashed his guitar the night before – I witnessed it on the 20th with my own eyes – and the videos you supply supports the 21st is the WRONG date. The guitar he smashed had the word PRESSURE stenciled on it (photos of the smashed bass are easily found online) and the first video above, shot 9/21 and taken from a ABC “20/20” documentary on punk rock, CLEARLY shows Paul playing a bass WITHOUT the word “pressure” (because he smashed that one the night before). (It’s harder to make out on the “drug stabbing time” video but I don’t see the word pressure on Paul’s guitar here either). Joe’s shirt determines the date of the photo. On the 21st, as both these videos show, Joe is wearing a solid BLUE shirt. EVERY PHOTO FOUND ONLINE TAKEN ON SEPTEMBER 20th shows Joe wearing a pink/purple shirt with abstract white lines AND IMPORTANTLY, a BLACK BREAST POCKET. This same black pocket shirt is visible in Pennie Smith’s own photographic contact sheet of the before and after moments surrounding the SMASH, which was included in the booklet that came with the 25th anniversary “legacy edition” of London Calling. And finally, besides the photos and video that prove the date was September 20th, there is AUDIO (found on the guitars 101 bootlegs website) from 9/20 where you can actually hear the thumps of the guitar smash. And if you listen to the entire 9/20 show it is evident that that show was not nearly as good as the 9/21 “WNEW” show, and it was Paul’s frustration with the performance and poor audience reaction, that caused him to smash his guitar. And also the WNEW DJ’s (richard neer and Pam merly) make NO MENTION of seeing the smash in their post concert commentary on the 21st. Maybe one day the album credits will be corrected.