A tribute to Joe: Revisit Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl paying homage to The Clash’s Joe Strummer, 2003
It took the sad and untimely demise of Joe Strummer—as well as the arrival of some American musical juggernauts—for the Grammys to finally give The Clash their dues. The sad passing of the legendary Joe Strummer in 2002 meant that the 45th annual awards show doffed its cap to one of punk’s iconic leaders.
An undoubted icon of the punk rock movement, Strummer’s untimely death at the savage hands of a heart condition left his fans bereft and his influence on the current state of rock and roll more obvious than ever.
Strummer and his band The Clash influenced so many bands with their riotous rock sound during the seventies and eighties that it is sometimes easy to forget how different music would be without them. Sadly, it is often when we lose these figures of greatness that we finally, fully realise the power they possessed and gifted to generations after them. “You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone” as Joni once rightly said.
This influence was a little more obvious in 2003 though when the juggernauts of the early noughties rock scene descended on the Grammys to pay tribute to their fallen hero with a guitar. Following the news of Strummer’s death, Bruce Springsteen – a true bastion of Americana rock – gathered together an all-star cast to pay homage to Strummer’s legacy by performing arguably one of the most important songs of rock history; ‘London Calling’.
The track, taken from the band’s seminal LP of the same name, was given the all-star treatment when Springsteen got together with E-Street bandmate Steven Van Zandt as well as new wave legend and Clash contemporary Elvis Costello, and Foo Fighters’ leading man and all-round nice guy of rock Dave Grohl. Together they delivered one of the most impressive collaborations the Grammys have ever seen.
Smashing through the powerful lyrics and vocal performances the fearsome foursome delivered a fitting homage to Strummer and one of his most-perfect punk rock songs was given the acclaim and spot on the stage it deserved.
Take a look below at the powerful performance of The Clash’s ‘London Calling’ from Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Elvis Costello, and Dave Grohl in honour of the legendary Joe Strummer.