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Release code: ODI173696 Added on 27-10-2014, 19:33
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Release Info: TOPPER HEADON - Waking Up

LP Mercury Records 1986
CD reissue Mercury Records 1992 with bonus tracks


"Originally Headon joined The Clash with the intention of establishing a reputation as a drummer, before moving onto other projects, but he soon realized their full potential and remained with them for four years. Headon appeared on the albums Give 'Em Enough Rope (1978), The Clash (US version, 1979), London Calling (1979), Sandinista! (1980) and Combat Rock (1982), as well as several landmark singles the Clash recorded during their early period. Also of note are his lead vocal on Ivan Meets G.I Joe from Sandinista and his work on the hit single Rock the Casbah from Combat Rock, on which Headon composed most of the music and played drums, piano and bass guitar. He also appeared on Super Black Market Clash (1993), which included B-sides from the band's single releases. Clash singer/guitarist Joe Strummer is quoted as saying that Headon's drumming skills were a vital part of the band. Tensions rose between Headon and his fellow band members due to his addiction and he left the band on 10 May 1982, at the beginning of the Combat Rock tour. The band covered up the real reason for Headon's departure, the apparent growing use of heroin, claiming Headon's exit was due to exhaustion. In a later interview for the rockumentary Westway to the World, he apologised about his addiction and speculated that had he not been asked to leave The Clash the band might have lasted longer and might possibly still be together. He also lamented the fact that the best known Clash line-up had been considering a reunion at the time of Strummer's death, after the positive reunion during the Westway to the World rockumentary.

"Topper Headon's musical acumen should have ensured a lengthy run, if only for composing the Clash's biggest U.S. hit, Rock the Casbah (on which he played everything but lead guitar). However, well-publicized heroin problems led to the drummer's 1982 dismissal, followed by guitarist Mick Jones' ouster on dubious ideological grounds in 1983. Fans assumed the former Clash mates would work together, which didn't happen. Left to his own devices, Headon cut this sleek-sounding album with first-rate help from guitarist Bob Tench (of Jeff Beck fame), ex-Clash session keyboardist Mickey Gallagher, and vocalist Jimmy Helms, who sounds appropriately gritty without being overbearing. Musically, the album offers few surprises from the Clash's resident soul-jazz buff, falling comfortably into unhurried jazz, R&B, and soul grooves; just compare his relaxed take on the Stax classic Time Is Tight to his former band's more urgent treatment on Super Black Market Clash. Highlights include the swirling pop-funk of Got to Keep on Going, one of several songs addressing Headon's addiction; Pleasure and Pain, a hard-hitting showcase for Tench; and Just Another Hit, whose poppy drive belies its clever metaphor for stardom, professional killing, and drug addiction".
(Ralph Heibutzki, All-Music Guide)


Got To Keep On Going


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