Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Dave Grohl pay tribute to The Clash’s Joe Strummer
We’re dipping into the Far Out Magazine Vault to look back at the converging of some of rock’s icons as they paid tribute to another as Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Dave Grohl got together to pay homage to The Clash’s Joe Strummer.
It took the sad and untimely demise of Joe Strummer—as well as the arrival of some of America’s rock music juggernauts—for the Grammys to finally give The Clash their dues and open up a bit of space for the punks. The tragic passing of the legendary 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 death at the savage hands of a congenital heart condition left his fans bereft and his influence on the current state of rock and roll more obvious than ever. It was about time that he was celebrated as such.
Strummer and his band The Clash influenced many groups with their riotous rock sound during the seventies and eighties that it is sometimes easy to forget how different the musical landscape would be without them. Sadly, it is often only 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 Mitchell 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 and one of Strummer’s own favourite musicians—gathered together an all-star cast to pay homage to Strummer’s incredible 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.