It’s hard to believe that Joe Strummer died ten years ago. Strummer didn’t create punk, but he brought politics to punk and always kept evolving with music. In the 1970s, The Clash wrote about a failing economy that offered few job opportunities for the youth, problems of racism, military expansionism around the world, police brutality and many other issues that have once again become problems in society. I keep wondering if there will be a Joe Strummer of today’s generation, but so far it is not to be.
The Clash left a huge legacy in terms of the groups and musicians that they influenced. Every time I try to name them, the list becomes unweildy – but it includes Manic Street Preachers, U2, Moby, Aztec Camera, Green Day, Public Enemy and Billy Bragg.
You can’t necessarily hear The Clash’s music in those artists, but the key legacy for any band is the ability to inspire others. Strummer sang about being in a “Garageband” and he undoubtedly motivated many thousands of others to do the follow the same path.
It’s important to realise what a musical magpie he was. Influences, ideas, lyrical and musical phrases were harvested from many sources and from many different genres of music. Running through the bands of which he was a part, you can hear blues, reggae, ska, rap, rock and roll, African beats, Balkan beats… you name it.
From the 3 album Sandinista!