Remembering when The Clash tore the house down in Aylesbury in 1980

The Clash are one of many pioneering musical artists who performed in Aylesbury on multiple ocassions.
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Among the most beloved and influential acts of the Punk era, Joe Strummer and co. returned to perform at Stoke Mandeville Stadium two years later.

Today, the focus is on their 1980 gig at Aylesbury’s iconic Friars venue.

By the evening of 5 January 1980 The Clash were already established as rock royalty.

Their timeless London Calling album was released the previous summer, with the title track remaining synonymous with the capital today, having been immortalised at sporting events.

Performing alongside the Londoners was Ian Dury and The Blockheads, household names in their own right.

The band had reached mainstream status after releasing their 1977 Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll album which included the memorable earworm, Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.

In 1980 Friars reputation for attracting major artists was already well-established, but this double bill still stood out.

Joe Strummer performing in AylesburyJoe Strummer performing in Aylesbury
Joe Strummer performing in Aylesbury

A Bucks Herald report at the time, which can be viewed on the Friars website here, described the booking as a ‘coup’.

The Clash’s set was filled with songs off what would go on to be one of the most influential and memorable albums of the last decade, including of course the iconic title track.

Reports from the time hail the band’s relentless energy, describing a chaotic, yet controlled set.

The Bucks Herald describes the evening, as “one which will be hard to match for the rest of the year”.

But only after accusing the London-based band of selling out and raising criticism of the radio-friendly nature of the London Calling album.

Dury and co. received similarly glowing reviews for their showing in Aylesbury.

A contemporaneous news report praised Dury’s ‘chilingly passionate’ performance, fitting the rock’n’roll attitudes that remained at the start of the ‘80s.

That reporter was even more blown away by The Clash than The Bucks Herald.

Offering as good an endorsement as you could ever hope for, stating: “I could spend the rest of my life at one of their gigs.”

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