The Magnificent Strummer

The Clash leader dies, closing out a somber 2002 for rebel music

Recall that the Who's John Entwistle died in a Las Vegas hotel room on the millionth Who reunion swing. There was none of that stuff with Strummer. He wrote songs for movies like Sid and Nancy (naturally) and Grosse Pointe Blank. He released the solo effort Earthquake Weather in 1989, blasting through titles like "Gangsterville" and "Island Hopping." In the late '90s, he also formed Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, which experimented with Latin and African rhythms, released two albums on Hellcat Records and played the Tibetan Freedom Concert with the Beastie Boys in 1999. Reconciliation with Jones, whose songwriting sensibilities are punchier and whose melody on "Train in Vain" sold the Clash as hitmakers, could have been fruitful -- and important.

But it won't happen. Fortunately, for the pop music world, neither he nor his amazing band were just another story.

Kick & Scream says "Happy New Year!" Send the author wishes of your own to his online address: christopher.oconnor@newtimes.com.

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