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We Remember Joe Strummer 10 Years After His Death

Alot of things can happen in 10 years, it can be the difference between being a tear away teenager and a doting family man, maybe between being the new...

Alot of things can happen in 10 years, it can be the difference between being a tear away teenager and a doting family man, maybe between being the new boy at work and being the boss. For me it’s a change from heavy drinking, mosh-pit jumping, metal head to having three children to look after.

When Joe Strummer died on 22nd December 2002 it shocked a lot of people and left a huge quiff-shaped whole in the world . The victim of an undiagnosed heart condition, Strummer had always been at the forefront of what he loved, his music, and creating that music gave him a voice to share his concerns about global warming and the environment through foundations such as ‘Future Forests’.

Born John Graham Meller on 21st August 1952, Joe Strummer developed a passion for rock music listening to acts like Little Richard and took his natural position centre stage in bands The Vultures and The 101ers. He also worked part time as a gravedigger. In 1976 Strummer was asked to come on board with Mick Jones as guitarist and singer for The Clash, opening for Punk Rock bad boys the Sex Pistols, and releasing their debut in 1977.

The Clash released 6 albums between 1977 and 1985, all but the last receiving critical acclaim, until Strummer disbanded the group and went to live in Spain. Strummer did the rounds appearing in some great films and proving his abilities were not simply confined to music, also often writing the soundtracks to films too. He took up parts in various bands, including The Pogues, as members of the band came and went. Eventually he formed his own backing band, made up from various top musicians, called The Mescaleros producing some of the greatest music Strummer written to date.

22 December 2002 and the worst news came, Joe Strummer had died suddenly at his home in Somerset, taking with him a catalogue of music that we were yet to hear. His time with The Mescaleros had proved beyond doubt that Strummer was the pure talent behind The Clash and during this time had written some amazing songs. The album Streetcore was released posthumously in 2003, a collection of fantastic songs including a cover of Redemption Song and a tribute to Johnny Cash. Hits on the album include Coma Girl and my favourite the Bobby Charles cover Silver and Gold.

Without doubt Joe Strummer was a leading light in the music industry and penned some of most imaginative lyrics in punk rock history. He lived his life doing what he loved, and did it very well, working with some of the best in the business he made a name for himself as a consummate professional. Joe Strummer is still sadly missed today, especially by people like me who only just missed out on seeing him live, but we still have his legacy to sing along to, a great collection of music and a body of work that is un-paralelled.


The Mighty Machine Steve, forged in the heart of a collapsing sun, born in The Dark Star, the soul of Heavy Metal. He is the Apollo Creed of Alternative Music.... except not black.