Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Joe Strummer

Seven years ago today Joe Strummer died suddenly in his home at Broomfield in Somerset, the victim of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. From the time I discovered the Clash in 1979 to the present day, Joe has been a defining force in my life. When I heard the news that Joe had passed away it was a devastating day for me as well as countless others. Most of us know the basic history of The Clash, one of the most important groups of our times. Yet Joe was a man of mystery, willfully reinventing himself to take part in the 1977's radical punk movement. The reality - which included a secret family past, enormous worldwide success, bleak years in the wilderness and a triumphant return to stardom - contained all the elements of Shakespearian tragedy. But through enormous personal struggle and resolve, Joe Strummer turned his life into an uplifting, epic story. I have often said that as the world was getting it's first look at punk via the Sex Pistols and parents being scared shitless by them, it was really the Clash that should have had the parents running scared. Joe Strummer was a man I much admired and one of the greatest poets of our generation if you will. There's really nothing more I could say that hasn't been said by better writers than homercat. Was he the greatest singer? Compared to many, no. Was he the greatest guitarist with the cleanest live performance? No way. But when you read the lyrics and see the raw artistic talent, it will make you involuntarily sit down and take your breath away. Thanks for the music Joe.

Willesden To Cricklewood
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