16 Tons Tour
Supported by Mikey Dread

last updated 18 April 2003
Last updated 7 July 2008 - support acts added
updated 5 Jan 2010 - added punters comments & flyer

Audio 1

unknown gen- 26 tracks - 85.30 mins - Sound 2

Keys to Your Heart

Sound Quality

The sound is very flat and too many copies off of what is no doubt a decent master recording. Bass sounds dominate as a result, with little top end; vocals are OK but guitars distant and drums dull.

Most of the song intros can be made out but not the song improves. The sound is not awful holding some clarity, keyboards come across well but overall an unengaging sound.

Back to the Birmingham Top Rank again

Back to the Birmingham Top Rank again, one of The Clash’s least favourite venues, according to the comments in Pennie Smith’s book, (the photos in the dressing room are from this gig) but at least it was their last visit.

This is another typically poor recording from this first leg of the 16 Tons UK Tour but it can boast another rare Keys To Your Heart, completeness and the earliest circulating live Rockers Galore.

"on these two birmingham dates they were supported by spizz energy the one night and ian dury on the second ,who i seem to remember singing janie jones with the clash"



Link and Link

Birmingham Top Rank

The Birmingham Ballroom (formerly Birmingham Academy), Dale End, Birmingham. This site started off as the Top Rank. This venue became known for hosting major names through the 1960s and 1970s. Local bands also use to play there.

The Top Rank in Birmingham, also known as The Hummingbird Club in the 1980s, was a prominent music venue that hosted major names in the 1960s and 1970s. It was located in Dale End in the city center. The venue was known for hosting iconic bands such as The Clash, with The Specials supporting them in 1978.

The Specials, a band formed in nearby Coventry, gained wider attention after their performance at the Top Rank. The venue's significance in the music scene of the time is evident from the documented performances and the iconic photos captured by Birmingham photographer Mick Geoghagen.


Clash play Keys To Your Heart

A by now pretty standard set list and a tour weary Clash struggle at times to find inspiration. Keys To Your Heart, Joe’s first major song writing credit (follows Mick’s first Protex Blue) and although sound is better on the tape labelled the 5th, it’s an interesting performance with Mick singing the choruses with Joe and adding his own guitar licks to the song.

Train In Vain is off the set list for a few nights (not one of Joe or Johnnies favourites) becoming a set staple only after its US Top 40 single success.

The first Spanish Bombs of the tour gets a tired sounding vocal from Joe but Mick’s playing is inventive and light.

Capital Radio gets yet another brand new intro and improves from Joe (new with every live outing, no tired stage routines with Joe Strummer!); “This is 3.9 on the medium wave band, got the request line open now, you can dial 015129437, the telephone’s over by Gluggo there!” His improves in the song are sadly unclear.

Wrong ‘Em Boyo has an edit after Joe’s intro “Down the casualty department of the hospital” which restarts at the ska intro, and then suffers a further small edit.

Joes shouts and cries over the intro to Police & Thieves are heavy with echo and it’s a fine performance but his improves are lost in the muddy sound.

An impassioned Janie Jones and Complete Control with Topper adding a mini drum solo intro to the latter, bring the main set to an end.

Mikey Dread joins Joe as usual now on Armagideon Time, which segues into English Civil War. A passionate Garageland leaves the audience shouting for a second encore.

A tired band return, Joe “OK now you’ve asked for it, now gonna try and give it”. Bankrobber now very much a reggae song following Mikey’s influence who returns after Topper by mistake plays the ‘machine gun’ intro to Tommy Gun, to toast Rockers Galore over the Bankrobber music.

Then it really is Tommy Gun with a fired up Birmingham’s Burning a fitting climax to a long 26-song concert.

Did you go? What do you remember?

Info, articles, reviews, comments or photos welcome.
Please email blackmarketclash



Clash City Rockers
Brand New Cadilac
Safe European home
Jimmy Jazz
London Calling
Guns of Brixton
Protex Blue
Keys to your Heart
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
White Man in Ham Palais
Spanish Bombs
Capital Radio
Wrong `Em Boyo
Police and Thieves
Janie Jones
Complete Control
Armagideon Time
English Civil War
Rockers Galore
Tommy Gun
Birminghams Burning

There are several sights that provide setlists but most mirror www.blackmarketclash.co.uk. They are worth checking.

from Setlist FM (cannot be relied on)

from Songkick (cannot be relied on)
... both have lists of people who say they went

& from the newer Concert Database and also Concert Archives

Also useful: Ultimate Music database, All Music, Clash books at DISCOGS

Articles, check 'Rocks Back Pages'

16 Tons UK Tour


A collection of
- Tour previews
- Tour posters
- Interviews
- Features
- Articles
- Tour information

A collection of articles, interviews, reviews, posters, tour dates January, February 1980 covering the period the 16 Tons tour of the UK.


Video and audio footage from the tour including radio interviews.


Return of the Last Gang in Town,
Marcus Gray


Passion is a Fashion,
Pat Gilbert


Redemption Song,
Chris Salewicz


Joe Strummer and the legend of The Clash
Kris Needs


The Clash (official)
by The Clash (Author), Mal Peachey


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