Primarily known as the band Joe Strummer was in before he joined The Clash, The 101'ers were part of the last wave of British pub rock bands of the mid-'70s. The group never released any recordings while they were together, yet they were among the important transitional figures in the metamorphosis of pub rock into punk rock.

Joe Strummer formed the 101'ers in May of 1974, recruiting guitarist Clive Timperley, bassist Dan Kelleher, and drummer Richard Dudanski; according to legend, the group either named themselves after the torture room in George Orwell's 1984 or the building where they lived. By the end of the summer, the group had performed their first concert, playing Brixton's Telegraph pub. For the next year and a half, The 101'ers worked the pub rock circuit. During 1975 and early 1976, the group laid down some demos.

In the first half of 1976, the 101'ers had been opening for The Sex Pistols on selected dates. Inspired by The Pistols and the burgeoning punk movement, Strummer decided to quit The 101'ers in June 1976 and form The Clash. Within a month, the group's only single, "Keys to Your Heart," was released on Chiswick Records.

Following the demise of The 101'ers, Dudanski played with The Raincoats and, later, Public Image Limited; Timperley joined The Passions; and Kelleher became a member of the Derelicts. In 1981, after The Clash had become stars, Strummer allowed a 101'ers compilation called Elgin Avenue Breakdown to be released. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide