Steel Pulse – Ku Klux Klan

Straight outta the tenement yards of Handsworth in Birmingham, Steel Pulse formed in 1975 and were an integral part of punk’s history.

Having been shunned by promoters for their fiery blend of protest politics and Rastafarianism, they found a happy home sharing stages with everyone from The Clash and The Stranglers to Generation X and The Police.

Their performance at the Rock Against Racism concert in front of 100,000 people in Victoria Park, alongside The Clash on 30 April 1978 was an occasion no one who was there will forget.

It was as a support act for Burning Spear that they got noticed and signed by Island Records, who put out their album Handsworth Revolution and this landmark single, Ku Klux Klan, which they ‘dedicated’ to the leaders of the National Front and KKK on this BBC performance – a brave statement at the time.

Fiercely political, for a time they performed in costumes mocking British archetypes – vicars, footmen, and bowler-hatted toffs – and even played at Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.

Their most memorable image is frontman David Hinds’s improbably tall topknot, towering more than a foot above his head… which hadn’t yet grown by the time of this performance.

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