"We’re so hi-tech our son even owns a digital wristwatch."
Been there. Tried that…and yep, things got weird.
Born the son of a British foreign service diplomat in Ankara, Turkey on this day, August 21st, in 1952, John Graham Mellor’s life could have set off on a much more snooty path than the one he chose after he developed a love for rock-n-roll music, with Little Richard and the Beach Boys being cited as favorites, as a young lad in the 60’s.
While playing rhythm guitar in an band called the 101’ers, who’s set consisted mostly of R&B and blues standards, John adopted the name Joe Strummer and started writing his own songs. One of those songs, “Keys To Your Heart”, which he wrote about his girlfriend at the time, Paloma Romero (who would soon to be know as the Slits drummer Palmolive) the band chose to record and it was released on the Chiswick/Big Beat in 1976 as their first single.
In April of 1976, following a 101’ers show that the Sex Pistols opened, Joe was approached by London SS guitar player Mick Jones who asked him if he wanted to sing for a new band he was forming. Joe decided to quit the 101’ers and join forces with Mick, bassist Paul Simonon, guitar player Keith Levene and drummer Terry Chimes. Simonon chose the name the Clash and the band played their first gig in July of 1976.
In January of ‘77 the band was signed to CBS records as a three piece after Levene was fired the band and Chimes quit. Joe picked back up his guitar to play rhythm in the band and they found a new drummer Topper Headon.
The Clash would go on to become one of the most influential bands ever.
After the Clash name was put to rest in ‘86 (following the not very good at all Cut The Crap which featured only Strummer and Simonon as original members) Joe had major roles in the films Straight To Hell and Mystery Train, collaborated with bands such as the Pogues, did a bit of time as a dj on BBC’s world service and then formed the group the The Mescaleros in the late 90’s.
Strummer died from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect at his home in Somerset on December 22, 2002.
See boss, even my book of matches agrees.