Today in Music History: The Clash released 'I Fought The Law'

The Clash - 1979
The Clash "Live In Boston" - 1979 (Photo: Bob Gruen)

History Highlight:

Today in 1979, The Clash released their first single in the U.S. with "I Fought The Law" (written by Sonny Curtis of Buddy Holly's Crickets, later popularized in a version by the Bobby Fuller Four). Joe Strummer and Mick Jones were inspired to learn the song after hearing the Bobby Fuller version on a jukebox owned by a San Francisco recording studio where they had been recording overdubs for their second album. This cover version helped gain the Clash their first taste of airplay in the States and is one of the best-known cover versions of the song.

Also, Today In:

1958 - The Quarrymen performed at the Cavern Club in Liverpool (the band's only performance at the club). It was three years later when they appeared again at the Cavern but under their new name as The Beatles.

1961 - Bob Dylan arrived in New York after dropping out of the University of Minnesota. He immediately got to work, playing a show at the club "Cafe Wha?" in Greenwich Village.

1962 - "The Twist" craze peaked, with a re-released version of Chubby Checker's song at No. 1 for the last time.

1963 - American lyricist Otto Harbach died at age 90 in New York City. He co-wrote, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", U.S. and U.K. No. 1 for The Platters in 1958.

1967 - Aretha Franklin recorded her first Top 10 pop hit, "(I Never Loved A Man) The Way That I Love You," at a famously tumultuous session at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

1969 - The Doors appeared at Madison Square Garden, New York City. They were paid over $50,000 for the gig making them one of the highest paid acts that year.

1976 - Bob Dylan started a five-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with his 17th studio album, Desire. The album features "Hurricane", which protests the conviction of former middleweight boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter for triple murder in 1966, arguing his innocence.

1977 - The Buzzcocks appeared at the Roxy, in London, England, supported by Chelsea.

1980 - Pink Floyd advertised their upcoming world tour to promote their album The Wall with a special billboard on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip that was gradually covered up each day with a brick until an entire wall was built over it.

1998 - Oasis had a No. 1 hit single in Britain with "All Around The World." At 9:38, the song enjoyed the distinction of having the longest running time ever for a No. 1 record.

1999 - The Offspring went to No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart with "Pretty Fly, For A White Guy". Taken from their fifth studio album Americana the single was a No. 1 hit in ten other countries.

2005 - Country-pop singer Lynn Anderson was arrested for stealing a Harry Potter DVD from a supermarket in Taos, New Mexico, and then, allegedly, punching the arresting officer in the stomach.

2008 - Amy Winehouse was admitted into rehab in a battle to kick her addiction to drugs.

2016 - David Bowie was at No. 1 on both the U.K. and U.S. album charts with his twenty-fifth and final studio album Blackstar.

2017 - Drummer Butch Trucks from The Allman Brothers Band died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at the age of 69.

2018 - English singer and songwriter Mark E. Smith from Manchester post-punk band The Fall died aged 60 after a long illness with lung and kidney cancer. Smith formed the Fall in 1976 and was the only constant member of the band. He was known for his tempestuous relationship with his bandmates, and frequently fired them - there were 66 different members over the years.

2019 - Weezer released The Teal Album, a collection of covers featuring their hit rendition of "Africa." Selections include "Take On Me," "No Scrubs" and "Billie Jean."


Aaron Neville is 79.

Neil Diamond is 79.

Warren Zevon was born today in 1947.

Blues Brother John Belushi was born today in 1949.

Jools Holland of Squeeze is 62.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

comments powered by Disqus