In 1980 I was attending school at CW Post Center of Long Island University. I was also sharing an apartment in Oyster Bay Long Island with 3 women: Cande Roth, Ellyn Solis, and Dorothy (Orant) Morrison. The night I moved into this insane asylum I ended three years of being a non-smoker. I purchased that pack of Newports … and torched up the first smoke, and didn’t quit again until the early 90’s.
In my years at Post I was a communications major and later film major. I also did radio shows on the college station WCWP 88.1 on the FM dial. I also was a photographer for an NYC club magazine called Non-LP B-Side. Those were some exciting times. Musicly there was the whole UK & US punk explosion that brought so much amazing and exciting music. I use to spend a lot of my extra cash either at Bleaker Bob’s in NYC or a few of the independent music stores on Long Island that specialized in British imports. Buying the latest import singles & LPs my radio shows were something to hear. I loved bands like The Clash, The Jam, The Sex Pistols, XTC, Elvis Costello, Ian Dury And The Blockheads, Fashion, Richard Hell And The Voidoids, Tom Verlaine with or without Television, Graham Parker, The Undertones, Ultravox, The Ramones, Talking Heads, all the assorted Stiff and Two-Tone bands and so much more. And what money I didn’t spend there I was spending on photographing some of these bands and paying to have the film processed at professional color labs, in NYC or on “Lonkisland”.
Dorothy was also an avid musicologist and fan girl of so many of those bands. That was one of our many connections. She also turned me onto a lot of stuff that she loved too. We influenced each other. Hell … when I met this girl she was “sittin’ on the hood of a Dodge” in the parking lot at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. A friend of mine and I were waiting to buy Springsteen tickets. We drove in from southern NJ the night before and slept in my car. Early the next morning, before “the line formed”, I was wandering around the parking lot and here was this beautiful blond wild child, sitting on the hood of that car (but no soft summer rain) and asking me … “hey you like Costello too?” I was wearing an Elvis Costello t-shirt at the time. And that was that. We talked and that started the long slow process of friendship … and years later … a bit more.
Dorothy and I were in L. O. V. E. with the Clash. There was always something about their music, attitude and politics that resonated with us, and the world. They were so much less nihilistic than the Pistols. Plus they had huge hearts. You could see it in the passion they showed onstage and off.
The photos below are from the 16 Tons tour at The Palladium New York show March 7th of 1980. I had to call Dorothy to confirm that … and even she wasn’t sure. The first few images are of Mikey Dread at the microphone and The Clash dancing onstage with raincoats, bandannas and pork-pie hats.
It’s been quite a long time since I’ve seen these photos. Sadly, I had completely forgotten that the negatives were in such horrible condition. This had nothing to do with age, and all to do with the custom photo lab that developed them back in 1980. The emulsion has pinhole specks that can not be cleaned off, plus there are water streaks that flow down the entire film strip, from when they were originally dried. I am both angry and saddened. Back then, I would get my film developed by professional labs. I would get the film developed and have contact sheets made. Then with trusty loop in hand I’d see which photos were worth enlarging and adding to my portfolio. I guess I had long forgotten how bad these negatives were.
The good news is that with the ability to scan and then digitally retouch the photos, they can be saved. If and when I publish these photos, I will have my work cut out for me. I have done basic retouching on the photos before putting them up here.
My fave photos are #12 of Mick tearing into his guitar … and with the backdrop and lighting … just a great moment captured in time. There is also one of Joe … #8 … he looks like a little boy, so sweet and innocent, singing his heart out with one squinty eye open and looking to the heavens. Just love that shot! :) Of the photos from backstage on the street, of course there’s the one of Mick holding the mini Coke can. That’s a classic! And I couldn’t resist colorizing just the can. “It’s the pause that refreshes in the corridors of power …”
Now here’s where I need some help. In photos 4 & 5 of the street shots … anyone know who the well quaffed gentleman with the skinny tie is? In photo #15 … anyone know who the woman next to Mick is? Plus if you know any of the people, or ARE any of the people in the shots …. please let us all know. Leave all comments below. Thanks!
As with all my other photos I will ask you not to steal them. They are copyrighted as is this post. Come back all you like to look and to see. You can even link to this post or any of my posts. But have the decency to credit me in the link and not republish my words or my photos without my written permission.
And there you have it. The Clash @ the Palladium March of 1980. Have fun & enjoy!