May 11, 1985: Legendary punk rockers The Clash play Sunderland

The Clash singer Joe Strummer pictured during his solo career.
The Clash singer Joe Strummer pictured during his solo career.

May 11 marks the 34th anniversary of a surprise appearance in Sunderland by legendary punk rockers The Clash.

The band visited the city as part of a low key nationwide busking tour in 1985 and performed in Gollum's, a basement bar at the Mowbray Hotel, and at the Drum Club night club, in the Mayfair Suite, in Newcastle Road.

The former Mayfair Suite, in Newcastle Road, Sunderland.

The former Mayfair Suite, in Newcastle Road, Sunderland.

Among the songs they played across their two Saturday-night sets were Pressure Drop, (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais, I Fought the Law, Police on My Back, Clash City Rockers and White Riot.

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They also reputedly performed in - or at the very least visited - the former Salem pub, in Hendon, The Bunker musicians' collective, in Stockton Road, and the Carlton Bar, at Langham Tower, part of what was then Sunderland Polytechnic, across the same weekend.

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Lead singer Joe Strummer and company - minus fellow frontman Mick Jones after his departure from the band - mingled freely with fans as they carried their own instruments while walking between bars and venues.

Having never appeared in Sunderland during their 1977-82 heyday, this was the only time the group ever performed in the city before eventually splitting up in 1986.