Joe Strummer, with the Clash, helped make aggressive punk music a worldwide phenomenon. After a short successful U.S. tour in early 1979, the Clash returned for a second U.S. tour.
The new tour’s second stop was the poorly attended Tribal Stomp Potluck Picnic & Dance. The 6,000 seat Monterey Fairgrounds facility was half-empty.
But, as reported by Los Angeles Times pop music critic Charles Hillinger, “When the Clash hit the stage, the four-piece British group played with enough energy and commitment to satisfy an audience of 25,000. “
Rock musician Joe Strummer, whose band the Clash helped bring punk rock into the mainstream and expanded the genre’s artistic range, died Sunday of a heart attack at his home in Broomfield, Somerset, England. He was 50.
Like Bob Dylan with folk music and the Beatles with early rock ‘n’ roll, the Clash took the raw material of punk rock and made it a vehicle for ambitious artistry, giving the music a future beyond the hard-core underground.
In their 1979 landmark album “London Calling,” they linked punk’s raw energy with rockabilly, blues, pop and jazz roots. The move risked rejection by their audience but opened new vistas for bands. In the process, they went from rowdy rebels to one of the foundations of rock.
Responding to Strummer’s death, U2’s Bono called the Clash “the greatest rock band,” adding, “They wrote the book for U2.”
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