Joe Strummer.....

 leaves a lyrical legacy in posthumous album

By Hugh Davies, Telegraph Entertainment Correspondent (11.10.03)


" Songs composed by Joe Strummer during the long and sleepless nights before his death are to be released as a posthumous album."



" Strummer's widow Lucinda has revealed that he burnt the midnight oil song writing at their West Country farmhouse as he composed for the album he would never hear.

She said yesterday: "He loved the night. He would be up throughout the hours of darkness in what he called his 'woodshed'. He worked with pen and paper. When he was getting somewhere with the lyrics, he would sit at his old-fashioned Remington typewriter, bashing them out.

"In the morning, as I'm getting the breakfast, he'd say, 'Babe, come here and hear what I've done'. We'd all shuffle through and listen at 7.30 in the morning.

"He'd do endless versions, eight or 10 goes at typing out the lyrics - and then he'd be happy with it. He was a complete night person."

Her husband had booked a studio to make the album, and had even written down the title, Streetcore, but he died suddenly last December at 50, the victim of a rare heart condition.

Lucinda, who found him unconscious at their home in Broomfield, Somerset, tried to revive him with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Now, in the wake of the many tributes to the former leader of The Clash, she has helped his band, The Mescaleros, to complete the 10-track album for release on Oct 21.

She said: "It was very much on his mind. He came back from a mini-tour of Japan and said, 'We're sounding fantastic'. He booked a swift tour of the UK, anxious to keep everything tight for the recording.

"The music was back to his rock 'n' roll roots, and he was trying out songs until the end, performing in Acton and Liverpool. He said, 'I love the music we're producing'. I know no rhyme or reason for the songs. Joe's lyrics were so personal to him. You'd hear people coming up to him all the time to explain what he meant."

An irony of the album is that one of its two cover versions is Bob Marley's Redemption Song, which he recorded in America with Johnny Cash who has also just died.

Album proceeds are to go to Strummerville, a charity that is being founded with the help of Strummer's close friend, the artist Damien Hirst. Lucinda said: "Joe started busking in the subways and we plan to use the money to help struggling musicians."

Click to return to main page