Best Known For
Joe Strummer was a British singer, songwriter and guitarist best known as the co-founder and member of the punk rock band The Clash.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Joe Strummer was a British singer, songwriter and guitarist born on August 21, 1952 in Ankara, Turkey. Named John Graham Mellor, the musician was the son of a British diplomat and grew up in several countries before settling in London in 1959. Discovering an interest in rock music and guitar, he changed his name in the mid ‘70s to reflect his new lifestyle. In 1976, his 101’ers band played with The Sex Pistols, propelling him into the punk rock scene. That same year,
"The future is unwritten."
Strummer co-founded the punk band The Clash. The band gained a strong following and released several hit albums before breaking up in 1986. Strummer died on December 22, 2002, in Somerset, England, from a heart attack.
Singer, songwriter and musician John Graham Mellor, better known as Joe Strummer, was born in Ankara, Turkey, on August 21, 1952. Strummer is best known as the frontman of the legendary punk band, The Clash. He was born to Ronald Ralph Mellor, a British diplomat, and Anna Mackenzie. In his early childhood, his family lived in Ankara, Turkey; Bonn, Germany; Cairo, Egypt and Mexico City, Mexico before settling in Surrey, a suburb of London in 1959.
Strummer was sent to boarding school and generally only saw his parents during summer breaks. During his school years, Strummer discovered and was inspired by rock 'n' roll music. Early influences included The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, and Captain Beefheart. It was during this time that he changed his name to Woody, as a homage to American folk icon Woody Guthrie.
Strummer attended London's Central School Of Art in September 1970 and immersed himself in films, music, and literature. Rock music became his consuming passion and he grew disillusioned with formal education. In 1974, Strummer formed the band The 101'ers. They played their first gig at Elgin's Pub in May 1975. It was during this period that he changed his name again—this time to Joe Strummer—to reflect his new guitar style.
In early 1976, the 101'ers played a couple of gigs with The Sex Pistols as an opening act. The shows with The Sex Pistols would propel Strummer into the emerging punk rock scene in London, and gain the attention of musicians Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, who were in the audience. The three men would coincidently cross paths the next week while in the unemployment line at the Lisson Grove Dole Office.
Jones, Simonon and Strummer were formally introduced a short time later by friend, and eventual manager, Bernie Rhodes. It was during this introduction that The Clash was formed—their name was derived from how often the term "clash" was used in an edition of the London Standard newspaper. Drummer Terry Chimes completed the 4-man original Clash line-up shortly thereafter.
The songwriting collaboration between Joe Strummer and Mick Jones is often compared to the chemistry between legendary duos such as Lennon and McCartney or Jagger and Richards. The pair wrote songs about political and social injustice, cultural apathy, repression, and militarism.
profile name: Joe Strummer profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
When musicians land big fame, there typically comes a moment of reinvention in which the "rock star" identity is born. This new persona often requires a new name, a way to differentiate between the private and public versions of themselves. Musical monikers take different forms, from the simple, last-name changes aimed at boosting celebrity appeal—like Steven Tyler—to the glamorized version of a childhood nickname—like Jay-Z. Musicians' nicknames and aliases tend to take on an identity all their own over time, often becoming as full of personality as the artists they represent.
Musical Monikers 109 people in this group
In entertainment, where the line between fiction and reality is often blurry, names are a crucial part of a celebrity's image. Stage names are often chosen to make an actor or musician's name easier to pronounce or remember, or simply to make it sounds more attractive. Here are famous celebrities who have changed their names.
Name Changers 236 people in this group
Following the "Swinging London" era of the 1960s, a new group of cultural icons arose. The 1970s saw the emergence of the punk rock movement, built upon the wave of psychedelic and folk rock music introduced in the '60s. In the post-hippie era of the early '70s, rock 'n' roll had a new glam image, pioneered by outrageously dressed rockers like David Bowie and Marc Bolan. Soon other acts followed, most notably young performers like Siouxsie Sioux and groups like T.Rex and The Clash. The music of the '70s inspired fashion as well, in particular designer Vivienne Westwood, whose punk designs for the Sex Pistols helped define the decade's London style. Biography.com looks at the various icons who defined London in the '70s.
London Punk- Cultural Icons: 1970s 16 people in this group