Originally released in 1982, Combat Rock is the Clash’s best-selling album and the final one featuring the classic line up. Now comes a special edition of the album, Combat Rock + The People’s Hall, coupling the album with an additional 12-tracks compiled by the band.
Originally released in May 1982, Combat Rock was the final album from the Clash’s classic line up of Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Topper Headon, and features two of the band’s most well-known songs, "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" and “Rock The Casbah,” plus favorites “Straight To Hell” and “Know Your Rights.” It’s their biggest selling and highest charting album in both the UK and US.
The new edition includes an additional 12 tracks curated by the band, charting the band’s story from the final performance of the Bonds Casino residency via their People’s Hall rehearsals in West London to the release of the album. It includes previously unheard, rare, and early versions of tracks which act as a bridge and prelude to Combat Rock.
Having returned to London following their pivotal 17-show residency at New York’s Bond’s Casino in 1981, the band rehearsed and recorded at The People’s Hall in the squatted Republic of Frestonia near Latimer Road in London and from there they embarked on a tour of the East and South East Asia, during which the album sleeve image was captured by Pennie Smith in Thailand.
The tracks on The People’s Hall chart the period from what was their last single, “Radio Clash,” right up to the release of Combat Rock. It also highlights a new version of “Know Your Rights,” which was recorded at The People’s Hall on the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, and the previously unreleased instrumental “He Who Dares Or Is Tired.” Other notable tracks include “Futura 2000,” Mikey Dread’s “Radio One,” and outtakes “The Fulham Connection,” (previously known as “The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too”) as well as “Idle In Kangaroo Court.”
Combat Rock is indicative of the Clash’s constant evolution and was influenced in part by the relatively recent end of the Vietnam War, particularly on “Sean Flynn,” inspired by the disappearance of the photojournalist and film star’s son. The band’s curiosity and range is illustrated by the many styles and voices on Combat Rock, notably poet Allen Ginsberg’s apocalyptic spoken word on “Ghetto Defendant” and graffiti artist Futura’s rap on “Overpowered By Funk.”
The Clash’s influence on punk, post-punk and indie rock is well documented and Combat Rock specifically continues to inspire waves of rediscovery from new audiences, most notably with the use of “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” as a prominent plot device in the first season of the Netflix smash Stranger Things.