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Joe Strummer was a British singer, songwriter and guitarist best known as the co-founder and member of the punk rock band The Clash.
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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.
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