Happy Birthday Joe Strummer: Covering The Clash


Today marks what would have been The Clash frontman Joe Strummer’s 64th birthday. The iconic co-founding leader of the seminal British punk group sadly passed away in December 2002 at the young age of 50. During his short time with The Clash and subsequent solo career that included fronting The Mescaleros, Strummer captured the attention of countless fans around the world with his fiery brand of rock music.

In honor of Strummer’s birthday today, this week’s installment of Sunday Cinema takes a look a number of times bands have chosen to play The Clash’s music live in concert, with a bonus Mescaleros cover thrown in as well. First up is a pro-shot clip of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band featuring Tom Morello on guitar opening their April 29, 2014 concert in Pittsburgh with a debut cover performance of “Clampdown” off The Clash’s monumental 1979 LP London Calling:

Post-Grateful Dead band Furthur incorporated the London Calling hidden track “Train in Vain” into their live repertoire. Below is their rendering of the song from their April 24, 2013 performance as part of a nine-show run at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York captured by Sean Roche:

Umphrey’s McGee has covered two songs from The Clash songbook. They first played “London Calling” in 2008 and last played the title track in 2011. UM debuted the Combat Rock classic “Rock The Casbah” during their New Year’s Run in Denver in 2013 and last performed the cover in September of last year. Here’s “London Calling” from the Brooklyn Bowl on January 31, 2011 captured by linusj, followed by Adam Pierce’s audience-shot video of the debut of “Rock The Casbah” and “Drums” from December 28, 2013:

On Halloween night 2007 Widespread Panic performed at the Civic Center in Asheville, North Carolina. The penultimate song of the first set was a debut cover of the Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros song “Johnny Appleseed.” The track was used as the theme to the short-lived HBO drama John From Cincinnati and has only been played by WSP once. Watch the cover starting at ~1:24:40 in the video posted by RaumWrangler below: