Give 'Em Enough Rope

(Released 10th November,1978)

List of songs :

 1 Safe European Home

 2 English Civil War

 3 Tommy Gun

 4 Julie's Been Working

    For The Drug Squad

 5 Last Gang In Town

 6 Guns On The Roof

 7 Drug Stabbing Time

 8 Stay Free

 9 Cheapskates

10 All The Young Punks (New Boots And Contracts)


The Clash Rope Demos:


The original postcard...the photograph is entitled End of the Trail

Give 'Em enough Rope made it to number two in the UK album charts.




By the time the band made its first public appearance of 1978, at the Anti-Nazi League concert in Victoria Park at the end of April, most of the songs for their new record had been written and rehearsed. The band had begun rehearsing intensely throughout January at Rehearsal Rehearsals, their Camden Town HQ.


The walls of the Rehearsal Rehearsals in Camden were covered with a variety of posters of Bruce Lee, Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols and The Clash.

      Bruce Lee appeared in 26 episodes of an American series during 1966 called The Green Hornet.        

Interestingly, the second episode was called Give 'Em Enough Rope......

The Green Hornet was first aired on 9th September 1966 and was about a newspaper magnate, Britt Reid, who at night would don a mask, trilby hat and green overcoat to fight crime with his trusty man servant, Kato. Each week, the Hornet, armed with his Hornet Sting gun and Kato with his hands and feet of fury would jump into their gadget-laden car, The Black Beauty, and set out on missions of justice.

Website Source :

The artwork for Give 'Em Enough Rope was poached from a Chinese government postcard called 'The End Of The Trail' showing a dead cowboy being picked apart by vultures as the Red Army rides in.

Gene Grief, a young punk artist in San Francisco, was asked to design the front cover by The Clash during their tour of The United States. The artist portrayed an American icon, the cowboy, face down in the dirt, nothing but a lifeless carcass, a meal for the vultures. In the background a mounted Chinese pheasant surveys the loathsome Western landscape. Interestingly, Joe Strummer's earliest band were known as The Vultures.....

During May 1978, The Clash recorded more demos at Utopia studios which was situated off Fitzroy Road, close to their Camden Town base and were scheduled to be re-recorded with Sandy Pearlman within a couple of weeks. The actual location of the studio was in the cul-de-sac, Egbert Street, just off Chalcot Road.

Now known as UTOPIA VILLAGE which is a series of office departments.


 was recorded at Basing Street studios (now Sarm West), off the Portobello Road.                   

(A Riot of Our Own, p,72)

Basing Street Studios was owned by Island Records. The building was originally a chapel that had its foundation stone set in July 1865. It became a recording studio in the late 1960s where Jethro Tull's 'Aqualung, Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin IV, and the Rolling Stones' Goat's Head Soup were produced. It was also at this studio that Bob Marley recorded "Punky Reggae Party" and that the Clash first made the acquaintance of Lee "Scratch" Perry.


                      In response to the famine in Ethiopia, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure wrote the song 'Feed The World' in December 1984,and arranged for the song to be recorded by an all star cast under the name "Band Aid". Recording took place at Sarm West, formerly Basing Street studio, where the Clash had recorded Give 'Em Enough Rope, and just a few doors away from the uninvited 37,Lancaster Road home of Joe Strummer.


Sandy Pearlman..........producer stayed at a hotel in Drury Lane during the recording sessions.                 

(A Riot of Our Own, p.104)


Sandy Pearlman arranged to relocate to the Automatt in San Francisco to finish the record. In August 1978, Joe and Mick were flown to California for three weeks of overdubbing.    The Automatt had a great jukebox with (The Bobby Fuller Four's) I Fought The Law on it..... which later was worked into a Clash song.



     The final mixing of Give'Em Enough Rope took place in New York in the small mixing room on the tenth floor of the Record Plant on 321 W44th Street.


This second album outlined a prophetic vision of international terrorism, Third World poverty and the trials and tribulations of being reluctant rock'n'roll heroes.




" I had to dash out to Henrit's drum shop, Soho Square, to get the complete range drumsticks."                                 

(A Riot of Our Own, p.74)



" A place had been booked near Wardour Street for the press launch.... with the Ship pub nearby."

(A Riot of Our Own, p.117)


               Drug Stabbing Time and Safe European Home were written in The Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica during the 7 to 10 day stay in December 1977.

" ....which at least gave Paul time to learn by rote the base line to 'Safe European Home '. He stayed late at Rehearsals, practising with headphones on, tongue pressed to top lip in concentration."

  (A Riot of Our Own p.48)

  Shortly after the Pigeon shooting incident, The Clash worked up a song from a band jam and gave it the title 'Guns On The Roof.'
            Tommy Gun is about the ego of terrorists who read their own press clippings like actors and rock stars. In early 1977, Operation Julie, named after undercover policewoman Julie Taylor, who was part of the team, netted a haul of some 1.5kg of LSD microdots. Julie's Been Working For The Drug Squad is based on the University graduates who manufactured the LSD in a remote farmhouse in Wales and " imagining tripping policemen."



"I practiced daily in my room."

"......after several plays, that I realized what, or rather, who, the song was about. Crocker ! It was so tender, and so caring!  We were stunned as the lyrics of 'Stay Free' came through, loud and clear."             

(A Riot of Our Own,p.74)


" He (Crocker) had done three years at Albany Prison, Isle of Wight, after holding up a bookie's in Streatham with a sawn-off shotgun."

(A Riot of Our Own,p.52) 

Just down from the Pizza Hut, Streatham High St.

No.158 Streatham Hill, SW2 - The Locarno (also known as The Cat's Whiskers)

One of the great dancehalls and home of a blues, reggae and soul alternative to the mainstream rock tradition, the Locarno also looms large in The Clash story. Mick Jones pays lip-service to it in the song 'Stay Free'

'We'd go dancing down Streatham on the bus' and Paul Simonon has this to say about his skinhead past: 'The first live rock 'n' roll I can remember seeing was The Sex Pistols. All I listened to before then was ska and bluebeat down at the Streatham Locarno.'


Robin Banks (Crocker)


On February 2, 1979, The Clash began their first tour of the U.S.A.


In the Mojo magazine March 2003, the editor Pat Gilbert looks back to 1978 and the making of the second Clash album ".... a year of conflict, confusion and record company hassle."


Tony Fletcher's " the Clash.....the Complete Guide to their Music (2005)  " features an album by album, track by track analysis & information on when and where the music was recorded.



Sent: Friday, 24th June 2011 8:39am                    Subject: Give Enough Rope cover

Saw your bit on the art for Give Em Enough Rope cover. Where on earth did you come up with that?
The postcard was a photograph not a painting. It was put out by a Berkeley, CA postcard company.
I (not Gene Greif) had a show up, called "Chinese Tourist Art", in a San Francisco gallery, Postcard Palace.

Sandy Pearlman brought Joe and Mick to the show. They saw the piece that was to become the cover. They liked it and wanted to use it. I thought they were joking. A week or so later I was in LA hanging out with Rory Johnson and Mick Jones. We spent one day at Magic Mountain amusement park where I shot the enclosed picture.  NME published several photos of the session.

While in LA I got an urgent call from CBS art dept. asking where the cover was. That's when I realized they weren't joking. I flew back to SF, got the picture out of the show, did some Faux Chinese writing, (not the horrible shit CBS put on the second version) and took it to the airport to send it. (pre-FedX) Also, gave them the picture from the same Chinese magazine where I got the horseman and used that for the back cover.
Gene Greif worked in the Art Dept. at CBS. He got my artwork, took the shadow out from under the horse, the red hammer and sickle's in the vulture's feathers, and put blocky type across the top.
Even though CBS asked me to rush the cover to them, the Clash hadn't finished recording the album yet. That's why the track listing is wrong.
Several months later the record's about to come out and Sandy Pearlman calls me to tell me that my name's not on it and they took off the Chinese type. He didn't tell me that Gene Greif put his name on it.
The second version has "cover concept by Hugh Brown"
I ended up getting a lot more press in NME,  Creem,  NY Rocker, etc. as the "uncredited designer" than if they had given me a credit.
It still pisses me off when I see Gene Greif credited with starting the punk appropriation of imagery.
By the way - I've been a photographer and designer for years, have hundreds and hundreds of cover credits, was the creative director of IRS Records for six years and the Creative Director of Rhino Records for eleven years and have won over fifty awards for packaging including three Grammys.
When I dig them out of storage, I'll send you some photos of the band recording with Pearlman in SF, and some later photos of the band recording London Calling.


All the best,

Photographs provided by Hugh Brown

Sandy Pearlman

Sent: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 9:29 AM
Subject: Re: Clash posters etc


I still have to go through storage, as I said I have photos of the band recording. I also have them performing at Monterey Festival, in Santa Monica, in San Francisco and London. I did a lot of photos of Mick at Magic Mountain amusement park also.
Regarding recognition for the cover, I actually got a lot of press when the record came out. I found a few of the yellowed clippings and I've enclosed them. It was in Creem Magazine, NY Rocker, Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, BAM magazine, etc.
I probably got more press from not being credited, but I was pissed off that Gene Greif altered the art in stupid ways. Taking the shadow out from under the horse really annoyed me. And not using the good Chinese
type I had done.
It was great fun at the time. One of my favourite moments was being at Mick's grandmother's council flat (he was living there at the time) and he had just gotten the test pressing for London Calling, which he put on the stereo. About a minute into it, his grand mum comes in with a tray of tea and biscuits. Mick kind-of yelled at her saying you could only play the test pressing a few times before the sound quality went bad and now he had to start it over. I gave him shit for yelling at his grandmother. He was sheepish.
The Clash was an early punk cover, and I did a lot of them. Since the 70s I've done hundreds and hundreds of covers as photographer and designer. I was the Creative Director of IRS Records for 6 years and the Creative Director of Rhino Records for 11 years. I've won many awards including 12 nominations for Grammy Awards for packaging. I've won three.
I've been doing OK.

Click to London Calling page