don't worry you're not alone."
Joe promised not to repeat the old mistakes. He promised rock n’ roll swagger and principal. But things went wrong. When that error occurred is a subject for Deep Clash Theoreticians but that he fell hard is incontestable.
The Clash got the Six Years of Greatness like Dylan had in ’62 to’68. Yet, after that, unlike the brilliant peaks and wretched valleys of Dylan’s innumerable second acts Joe produced only that Crap album, a handful of humble solo outings and some marginal soundtrack work.
than most guys put into an album.” Don Letts
The strength of the Clash’s work is that Strummer-Jones dynamic – their voices shoring up each other’s weaknesses, their contradictory public images and the way they embodied the split between music and lyrics.
In The Future is Unwritten Joe says that, unlike Mick who understood the music, he just wanted to get out some great words. He did. And in the end , no matter what, he left behind a fearsome body of work.
Catch22Rye (in my comments)
Those words, Strummer’s densely packed lyrics, meant everything to me. During one of those particularly miserable years of junior high school, I, rather sadly, befriended a cassette tape of London Calling. That tape remained stuck in my Walkman while I tried decrypting Strummer’s garbled argot all on my lonesome. As I translated snippets, I wrote out page after page of them in my Social Studies binder. Joe Strummer did not save my life but he gave me focus when it turned to shit.
I think he might've been our only decent teacher."The Hold Steady
Joe taught me that anger could be power. That knowledge helped me break break old patterns of passivity. It helps me still, after all my anger with Joe's untimely demise spawned these words. However, I've come to learn that anger can also become a weakness and that there are times when truces and forgiveness bypass power altogether.
Strummer not only inspired thousands to re-think anger and power he also got them to plug in their guitars and pen lyrics about him. I can’t find any songs about Mick, Paul or Topper (and definitely none about Terry) but lots on Mr. Strummer. So here they are collected in one place.
Songs about Strumming: Twenty Songs about Joe
(All songs , in order, are in the DivShare player below - click and enjoy)
- The Headlines With No One To Follow (A thrilling chorus drives home a song that celebrates Yoe Strummer in the best Swedish pop-punk style.)
- The Hold Steady Constructive Summer (While the sing-speak vocals can grate the Hold Steady are never boring musically or lyrically, as this song ably demonstrates.)
- Azra The Strummer (“Sell everything except your strummer.” Amen)
- The Radiators From Space Joe Strummer. (A rocking little narrative from this pre- and post-Pogues punk band.)
- Perry Keyes Joe Strummer (Keyes is an excellent Australian songwriter mining that seam between Strummer and Springsteen, which turned out to be richer than anyone imagined.)
- The Nu Niles Strummer’s Swing (Joe would’ve loved these spaghetti instrumentalists from Barcelona.)
- The Sting-Rays Joe Strummer’s Wallet (This 80’s British Psychobilly band name-checks Joe and quotes Eve of Destruction.)
- Stiff Little Fingers Strumerville (A newer track from this late 70’s Irish punk band – a bit earnest but such is the curse of Strummer fandom.)
- Suciedad Discriminada En el nombre del punk rock (Joe Strummer, Joey Ramone) (Strummer was a citizen of the world - “An atlas” in Bono’s words - so it’s no surprise to hear this band from Mexico, where Joe lived as a child, salute him.)
- The Alarm Three Sevens Clash (Mike Peters and co. took a lot of undeserved guff in the 80's for being a sloppy mixture of the Clash and Bob Dylan with worse hair but damn, as he proves here, Mike is still kicking.)
- The Beatsteaks Hello Joe (German punk band quotes London Calling riff to say hello and goodbye to Joe.)
- Billy Childish Joe Strummer’s Grave (Thirty years on and Childish, still all full of piss, vinegar and the early Kinks, gives us a screed against modern Britain that is venomous and fun.)
- The Gaslight Anthem I’da Called You Woody Joe (The very definition of the aforementioned Strum-Steen amalgamation and fucking good at it.)
- Die Toten Hosen Goodbye Garageland (The Dead Pants, Germany’s most legendary punk band, say sayonara to Joe with yet another fist-pumping lager-swaying sing-a-long.)
- Billy Bragg Old Clash Fan Fight Song (Let Billy, often called a “one-man Clash” in his better days, tell you all about Joe Strummer - good luck stopping him once he starts yammering.)
- Cowboy Mouth Joe Strummer (Overall, this New Orleans band seem like real Rock the Casbah fans but this track has some wit and a few fine (likely pro-tooled) vocal parts.
- Cock Sparrer Where Are They Now? (Early 80’s English oi band wrote some of the best songs in that genre including this call-out to Joe - and Tony Parsons and Julie Burchil - as they warn us “I believed in them – don’t you believe in us.”
- The Vacancies Strummer Hair-raising screams in the verses and a mournful, biting hook combine to “tell you a story about Joe Strummer.”
- The Pernice Brothers High as a Kite (Wikipedia says the lyrics include the line "We wore pictures of Strummer" but you'll need to listen closely as this is even quieter than usual for Joe (Pernice, that is). Give his solo album, Big Tobacco a listen, if you're ready for a nasty downer.
If you'd like to have this collection of songs all together you may (for evaluation purposes only - to be wiped from your computer in 48 hours etc. etc.) here , for a limited time, is the entire folder.
rings true is that Joe spoke the truth.” Mick Jones