Combat Rock was the last album to feature lead guitarist Mick Jones and drummer Topper Headon. The album was originally going to be released as a double LP under the title Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg. Mick Jones produced the album and did the majority of the studio work along with Topper who was suffering from a severe Heroin addiction. But the Record Company deemed the album to be unreleasable and demanded a remixing of the completed songs. During this time, The Clash was moving away from their "punk" sound and experimenting with an early 80's hip-hop/dance pop sound. This decision along with a serious drug problem that was threatening to implode the band made this release all the more tenuous. But the disc finally accomplished what they have been setting out to do since 1978, break into the American Pop music scene. The album went platinum with two of their best known songs "Should I Stay or Should I Go" (a ballad about Mick's relationship with Ellen Foley and "Rock the Casbah" a song built around a piano and bass track composed and performed by Topper. The final album was remixed by Glyn Johns who took the original Jones mix and made it more "pop" friendly.
The band gained a lot of fans and lost a lot of their older ones with the release of the album. Topper was too junk sick to promote the album was replaced by the band's original drummer Terry Chimes. Chimes was replaced by Pete Howard when he didn't want to become a full time member. The Clash reached a mainstream popularity that was becoming a strain upon the other members. They supported The Who and made an appearance at the U.S. Festival which was the last time Mick Jones was a member of The Clash.