What an Xmas scoop! -our sister blatt the Finnieston Times and their reporter Raymond Burke unearth yet another vital manuscript for the annals of contemporary rockography.
by Raymond Burke, Chief music correspondent, F.T. (Finnieston Telegraph)
One of the most successful bands to come out of London in the 70s and 80s was legendary punk outfit, The Clash. Led by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, the band would produce a string of hit albums and singles to great international acclaim. However, although their story has been told in countless books and magazine biographies, one little-known fact is that the band actually originated in Glasgow. Indeed, before their journey back south, many of what would be their greatest hits had already been penned and focused on the great Scottish city that brought them together and its surroundings. Evidence of this Caledonian connection was discovered recently when a set list of original titles was found in the basement of a Glasgow pub.
Although he was born in Turkey, Joe Strummer also had strong Scottish family connections; his mother was from Bonar Bridge in the Highlands, just a mile or two from the portentously named metropolis of Clashmore. Strummer’s father had a long career as an overseas diplomat for the British Government; however, before embassy staff were sent abroad to deal with difficult international issues, part of their training was a few months with Glasgow City Council to give them an insight into the anti-London sentiment of the colonies. This was what originally brought a young Joe to Glasgow.
Mick Jones had come north on holiday on an unfruitful search for the Loch Ness Monster and one day, whilst wandering along the side of the Clyde, staring into the murky water, he tripped and fell. The person who picked him up was Joe Strummer. When Joe saw Mick’s blackening eye, he laughed: ‘You look like you just lost a fight, mate.’
‘Yeah,’ said Mick. ‘I fought the Broomielaw.’
‘…and the Broomielaw won,’ replied Joe, punning Bobby Fuller’s old sixties song and starting a partnership that would change music history forever.
The two new friends immediately decided to form a band and quickly moved to enlist more members. Auditions were held in the Scotia Bar basement and they recruited bassist, Paul Semmit-Oan and drummer, Topper Headcase. Now all they needed was a name for their band. They considered ‘Glasgow’ in tribute to the city that brought them together, but they wanted a name that was a bit more exciting. Next they looked at the old gaelic origin of Glasgow – Glaschu. This was much closer and, when Semmit-Oan found a old handwritten book of Pictish words and phrases in a skip outside Paddy’s Market, they discovered that ‘Glaschu’ was derived from the Pictich word ‘Clash’ which roughly translates as: ‘To violently play a ukelele or banjo’. The Clydeside Clash were born.
During an intense period of rehearsals, lasting almost three hours, the group penned a large catalogue of songs based on their recent experiences. These early songs tackled a wide variety of topics such as social decay, racism, politics and police brutality but mostly focused on geographical locations in the south west of Scotland. The original hand-written list of these songs was recently discovered by a barman in the Scotia basement whilst kicking aside a dead rat as he changed the cider keg. Some of these songs, with very slight adaptations to their titles, would go on to sell millions worldwide.
A few weeks after their Glasgow rehearsals, the inspired young lads would move back to London and update their songs for a wider market, but a quick glance at the original list quickly reveals the undeniable influence that the short stay north of the border had on the group.
The original Clydeside Clash setlist-