The Ballad of Joe Strummer
The importance of The Clash to modern music is almost impossible to overstate. One of the first bands of the punk tsunami that swept England and the US, The Clash is credited with kick starting a movement and infusing their music with elements of reggae, rockabilly, and even a little dance, leading the way to the wild genre crossovers found in today’s groups. While the entire band was integral to the success of The Clash, it was their charismatic front man, Joe Strummer, who personified the mission and ideals of the burgeoning punk movement to a generation. REDEMPTION SONG: The Ballad of Joe Strummer is journalist and friend Chris Salewicz’s biography of both sides of Joe Strummer—the rock n roll outlaw whose lyrics to songs like ‘Rock the Casbah’ and ‘London Calling’ are still a must-know for aspiring musicians, and the more introspective John Mellor (Joe Strummer’s given name), a man deeply influenced by the early loss of his older brother to suicide and unable to escape a lifelong depression.
Salewicz is uniquely positioned to write this definitive biography of Joe Strummer. As a music journalist in the late seventies, Salewicz covered the early days of punk for a number of papers and became a personal friend to Strummer and the other band members. With unprecedented access to Strummer and the band, Salewicz became a confidante of many of the personalities involved with making the band a success––Mick Jones, Kosmo Vinyl, Paul Simonon, Pearl Harbor, and more. Because of this, Stummer’s friends and family have provided exclusive access to their stories of Joe and of the letters and drawings he made for them during this time, some reproduced in REDEMPTION SONG.