Joe Strummer The Movie
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About Strummer
Joe Strummer was a British guitarist, songwriter and vocalist who was born in the year 1952 in Turkey. Joe’s actual name was John Graham Mellor, and since his father was a British diplomat, John grew up in various countries before settling down in London, UK in the year 1959. Having discovered great interest in guitar playing and rock music from an early age, John changed his stage name to Joe Strummer during the mid-70s, to reflect his newly acquired lifestyle.

Success came early and his band 101ers got the opportunity to play with The Sex Pistols in the year 1976, announcing their launch into the mainstream punk rock scene. The very same year, Joe co-founded a punk band named ‘The Clash’. Soon, the band started attracting a strong fan following, and released various hit albums before parting ways in the year 1986.

Strummer was greatly inspired by the rock ‘n’ roll music he heard during his growing up years. Some of his early musical influences included the likes of Captain Beefheart, Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones. It was during these years that he changed his name to Woody, paying homage to the iconic American folk artist Woody Gutherie.

Strummer attended the Central School of Art in London in the year 1970 and completely immersed himself in the world of literature, music and films. Slowly, rock music became his main passion and he gradually distanced himself away from formal education. He formed his first proper band in the year 1974 and named it 101ers. Their first gig was at the Elgin’s pub in May 1975. It was around this time that he changed his name once again, this time renaming himself Joe Strummer.

As also mentioned earlier, Joe played a couple of gigs (as a part of 101ers) as an opening act for The Sex Pistols during the early 1976. These shows propelled him into the mainstream punk rock scene in the London, UK, bringing him to the attention of musicians Paul Simonon and Mick Jones. The three met once again the next week and it was not long before they got formally introduced to each other by common friend and eventual band manager, Bernie Rhodes. The result was the formation of their band ‘The Clash’. They derived their name from the frequency with which the word ‘Clash’ was used in one of the editions of the London Standard newspaper. The trio was soon joined by drummer Terry Chimes who completed the original 4-man line-up of ‘The Clash’.

Whenever people talk about punk rock and rock music in general, the songwriting chemistry that existed between Mick Jones & Strummer is often talked about in the same breath as the equation that existed between legendary partners like Richards & Jagger or McCartney & Lennon. Together, Jones and Strummer wrote a good number of ‘The Clash’ songs which went on to become popular punk rock anthems of the time. Joe Strummer had always been the motivational force, writer and front man of ‘The Clash’. He, along with his band ‘The Clash’ became one of the few enduring, expansive and influential groups to have emerged from the British punk rock scene during the 70s era.

Joe Strummer finally passed away in the year 2002 in Somerset, England owing to an undiagnosed heart condition.