Joe Strummer, cofounder of the Clash —"The Only Band that Matters" — was born today, August 21, 1952.
Strummer's maniac, aggressive, and driving rhythm playing on his battered 1966 Fender Telecaster — which was later recognized with Fender Custom Shop and Artist Series models — always seemed to push the band into overdrive, even as it expanded and redefined its punk sound with elements of reggae, dub, rockabilly, and ska.
After the Clash imploded in 1986, Strummer tackled a number of different projects until starting up the Mescaleros around 1999. He was still working with the Mescaleros when he died at his home on December 22, 2002 of an undetected congenital heart defeat after walking his dog. He was just 50 years old.
Let's celebrate Strummer's birthday with an early Clash video, and a 1999 Mescaleros show...