US TV Appearance on the Friday show on ABC TV

updated August 2004
updated 12 april 2011 - added Friday's writer comments
updated 20 Sept 2012 - punters comments
updated June 2021 added tickets
updated March 2024 tickets and clipping

Audio 4 - 'Fridays' USTV

Sound 4 - 13min - Unknown gen? - tracks 4

London Calling

Video - 'Fridays' USTV

The video has now surfaced for sale through Shoutfactory.

Also here at Clash Offcial: Facebook Fridays Reel Video


The Clash footage has not been repeated recently enough for very good video copies to circulate, unlike for example the 1982 Saturday Night Live footage. Clips from it were included in the 1991 MTV Clash Rockumentary. It therefore could and should have been used on the Essential Clash DVD if Sony had been prepared to do the job properly and pay ABC to licence their footage.

Varying quality video copies circulate the best being one or two copies off the master. Audio dubs are similar, the best have 4 rating sound. Being a soundboard source all the instrumentation and vocals are well mixed although the live music sound on this show had a poor reputation.

Fridays was a sketch comedy TV show

With Paul back from his film work, The Clash seize the offer resulting from Train In Vain reaching No.23 on the Billboard chart, to gain their first network US TV exposure as the musical guests on Fridays, a late night live show on the ABC network.

Fridays was a sketch comedy TV show (to compete with Saturday Night Live) that aired on ABC between 1980-1982. The Clash appeared in the first season, episode 3.

Joe Shulkin was a writer on Fridays and remembers that night well

A viewer’s account describes the impact of The Clash on the show;

"The single greatest moment of this show happened when the Clash performed. Network TV had never seen such a moment before. The band did six songs back to back. I don't think anyone in the producers box knew what to make of it. Strummer was running all over the stage. It was completely frantic and had more impact then any of the comedy sketches."

Joe Shulkin was a writer on Fridays and remembers that night well

Answer to your question re April 25 1980: Did they play an LA gig that night and was Fridays pre-recorded?

The show was done at 8:30 p.m. L.A. time for live broadcast to the east coast and midwest. It was then seen on tape delay later that night in the western portion of the country. The band was not pre-taped.

They were there all day for numerous rehearsals including a full dress rehearsal in front of an audience late in the afternoon. Following the show there was an after party at Yamashiro restaurant in the Hollywood Hills which all the members of the band attended and everyone stayed until late into the night.

I talked to Joe Strummer for a long time that night, as well as the other band members. There definitely was no other public gig that night - and if there had been, I would have been there. "Joe Shulkin" <jshulkin[a]>


ABC TV Studios Los Angeles.

ABC TV Studios, 4151, Prospect Avenue, Los Angeles. Seated audience of general public but clearly some Clash fans too!

Deliver 4 tight powerful, performances

The Clash with Mickey Gallagher side of stage, deliver 4 tight powerful, performances and certainly mainstream America had seen little ever like this before.

The camera pans in over the seated audience’s heads to reveal the band backs to the camera as the opening bars of London Calling ring out. They swivel round just before Joe moves to the microphone and delivers his intense vocals. Joe, teeth still not fixed, with a new very short cropped haircut (one he would return to for the Jamaican Music Festival in November 82) looks suitably intimidating especially in close up. He’s wearing a red shirt and braces, and his white Fender Esquire now sports the words “I may take a holiday”.

Paul in black leather jacket has a spikey haircut, following his film role as a punk, he would soon follow Joe and sport an almost skinhead cut on the rest of the 80 shows. Topper is wearing an Alex Michon designed 16 Tons tour shirt but its Mick who shatters the visual impact of the rest of the band by wearing a bright purple zoot suit and tie, that even Kid Creole would have rejected.

Mick delivers a passionate vocal on the hit single, Train In Vain, then the band leave the stage, and the stage curtains are drawn.

When they return Mick, has taken off the offending jacket, Topper is in a red shirt and cap, Joe now wears a black and white striped shirt and only Paul remains unchanged. Paul sings a fine but shortened for TV, Guns of Brixton, losing its usual extended “dubwise” ending.

Then the highlight of the 4 performances; Joe says “Have Mercy” and then the band launch into Clampdown. It’s powerful TV with plenty of moment from the band, not least from Joe who jumps from Topper’s drum riser, to stand on Mickey’s organ and then back to the drum riser before getting to the microphone to sing.

TV constraints limit the usual extended ending but the band are able to build the intensity still further to a climactic ending with Joe adlibbing about Three Mile Island and “When does the pony express leave…last stage!”. The song ends and Joe, Fender aloft goes to Topper who drums on the strings. The footage ends with the band walking off stage side into their dressing room to be greeted by Kosmo Vinyl.

Broadast Live (see above)

Pete: Hey, Concerning the 27 April 1980 "Fridays," my recollection, confirmed by IMDB is that the show was broadcast live, like its model, "Saturday Night Live." It aired later than SNL--at 12:30, meaning it actually aired early Saturday morning. I suppose the band could have played a regular concert in LA beforehand. I doubt very much that the band's tv appearance was pre-recorded.

And I remember seeing this particular program!
Cheers, Pete McCluskey

Record Mirror

80 05 03

Did you go? What do you remember?

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Trouser Press

July 1980



London Calling
Train in Vain
The Guns Of Brixton

There are several sights that provide setlists but most mirror 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 US Tour


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

A collection of articles, interviews, reviews, posters, tour dates covering the period the 16 Tons tour of the US, March 1980.


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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