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Joe Strummer

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Joe Strummer


As the heart and soul of premiere '70s punk band the Clash, Joe Strummer's rasping yelp and politically charged messages can be identified within seconds by just about anyone born before 1980. The Clash's ever-evolving hybrid of punk, reggae and rock 'n' roll immediately influenced an entire generation of bands, and that influence continues today -- with groups such as Rancid and the Pietasters still borrowing heavily from London Calling (1979). Since the breakup of the Clash in 1985, Strummer has released precious little music, instead producing other bands and doing a little acting on the side. His return with the Mescaleros was a natural extension of his earlier work; the new stuff recalled Sandinista!'s fluffier explorations, but with more direction, more structure, and an even broader world music feel. The pop changes were a little more obvious and the techno beats were a new addition, but Strummer hadn't changed too much. He stopped calling for a white riot, and instead just asked for a little peace and quiet so he can play with his band. He died in 2003.

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