Rock the Casbah from The Iroquois Hotel

It’s often fascinating to see where certain famous people and groups got their start – and to learn more about their backgrounds.  The English punk rock band The Clash formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk.  For most of their career, the group included Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Nickey “Topper” Headon.  Their first success came with the release of their debut album, The Clash.Their most famous song in America was “Rock the Casbah,” which they wrote while staying at The Iroquois hotel in New York City, owned by Shimmie Horn.  During the 1980s, this hotel was the meeting grounds for all sorts of actors, singers and famous people, and The Clash supposedly received inspiration their Billboard Hot 100 single in this location.“Rock the Casbah” addressed the Iranian clampdowns that were being imposed on imports of Western music.  The single made it to number 8 in the States, and was the biggest US hit they had. The video was shown non-stop on MTV as well.Since that original brainstorm at Shimmie Horn’s Iroquois hotel, The Clash’s song has been used as inspiration for many other great singers. Will Smith’s song “Will 2K” uses some of the lyrics and instrumentals, and U2 played snippets from the song on their 2005-2006 Vertigo tour.

Dan Kazan

Dan Kazan has had years of experience writing for some of the largest newspapers and magazines in the USA. He was one of the first pioneers in bringing the news online and has focused most of his recent energies into making Left Justified the high quality online news and opinion site which it is.Dan can be reached at dankazan(at)

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