|Joe Strummer mural, NYC 2010 Bobby Clark, doeslikemusic.com|
Reggae rock wasn't so popular, or even around, rather, in the late 70's/early 80's, but when The Clash put out "Guns of Brixton" and "Rudy Can't Fail", for example, off of London Calling(1979), the seeds of Operation Ivy were sown to flower forth Sublime. Southern California's cottage industry music scene owes almost everything to Sublime, but if you trace its roots backwards, Joe Strummer was as much as an influence as Bob Marley was to Bradley Nowell. Whether you know this or not, Joe Strummer put out a cover of Marley's "Redemption Song" performed with American legend, Johnny Cash.
Ever heard M.I.A.'s "Paperplanes?" Who hasn't? That really awesome part that really made/makes the song stand out from everything else on the radio when it came out, besides the cash registers, was a sample of The Clash's "Straight to Hell." Crazy, right? M.I.A.'s song has been covered by a band featuring Tom Morello(Rage Against The Machine/Audioslave) and also sampled/remixed by Kid Cudi. Talk about trickling down. "Straight to Hell" has been covered directly by Boston's The Street Dogs and Scranton's The Menzingers.
The Clash_STRAIGHT TO HELL by KingsWithoutCrowns
Lyrics of social strife, injustice, political commentary, love and life were building material for Joe's songs. The world may dance to such hits as "Rock the Casbah" without taking a deeper look at what story the lyrics lay forth, and, really, that's okay. Many have listened. Somebody is bound to inquire, again. Joe will live on via his many works and impressions on those he's influenced. We have yet to see if another voice in the world has the mind of somebody like Joe to back it up; he is sorely missed and will never be replaced.
Below: Joe Strummer and the Mescalaros "Coma Girl"& Joe Strummer and the Mescalaros' "Coma Girl"