the clash

In the second of my series of posts on the greatest rock band of all time, I’m going to look at non-Clash songs.  There’s no denying that they did their best work together, but on their own, Mick Jones and Joe Strummer still produced some amazing music…


…And one DVD.

10.  The Future is Unwritten.  A documentary by Julien Temple, who directed The Filth and the Fury, about one of the most important men in the history of rock and roll and punk, Joe Strummer.  Having read several books about the man, I can say that this doc, which is not always flattering, feels pretty accurate.

9.  “It’s A Rockin’ World”

From the 1998 soundtrack to Chef Aid: The South Park Album, a rollicking, easy single featuring Flea, Tom Morello, and Benmont Tench, among others.  It’s a simple, smooth ditty that shows off how well Strummer can write a hit.

8.  Keys to Your Heart-The 101ers. 

Strummer’s band before he was in the Clash created this “classic rock” type song.  This kind of retro sound is also evident in early Clash work like 1-2 Crush on You and Brand New Cadillac.
7.  “The Harder They Come.”

Jimmy Cliff’s classic.
6.  The Libertines, Up The Bracket. 

Mick Jones produced the band’s debut (and also Pete Doherty’s second band, Babyshambles), and his ethos and gritty textures are all over it.

5.  Carbon/Silicon.  Mick Jones’ 2002 project was pure political postpunk.  It wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved it.

4.  “Redemption Song,”

Strummer’s cover of the Bob Marley classic. He played it a lot. there’s a great version on Johnny Cash’s “Unearthed” collection, but it didn’t have as interesting a video on youtube.

3.  The Pogues.  After leaving The Clash, which arguably broke up because Mick Jones was a complete drug addict, Joe Strummer made the bizarre move of teaming up with a band who turned the alcoholic nonsense meter up to eleven.  After The Pogues fired their lead singer Shane MacGowan, Strummer joined them on their 1991 tour, after having already replaced their lead guitarist back in 1988.  The bootlegs from the tour are bad quality, but good music, but none are as great as his later work with Pogues like my personal favorite the song, “Afro-Cuban Bebop,” which is credited to Joe Strummer & the Astro Physicians. The Astro Physicians were actually The Pogues.

2.  The Globe by Big Audio Dynamite II.
  I know “Big Audio Dynamite” has its fans, and I do like it, but it feels like a warm up for the main event, which is this dance/rock/punk album that spawned megahits like Rush and the title track.
1.  Global a Go-Go by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros. 

The 2001 album is not just good, but is also a Hollywood darling.  A remix of the amazing single “Johnny Appleseed” served as the theme to HBO’s John from Cincinnati); an 18-minute instrumental titled “Minstrel Boy” was used in Black Hawk Down; “Mondo Bongo” appeared in Mr. and Mrs. Smith; and “Bummed Out City” was used in Sarah Manning’s eulogy in an episode of Orphan Black.  It’s Strummer’s best solo album.

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