web site hit counter Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer

Availability: Ready to download

The Clash was--and still is--one of the most important groups of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Indebted to rockabilly, reggae, Memphis soul, cowboy justice, and '60s protest, the overtly political band railed against war, racism, and a dead-end economy, and in the process imparted a conscience to punk. Their eponymous first record and" London Calling" still rank in Rolli The Clash was--and still is--one of the most important groups of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Indebted to rockabilly, reggae, Memphis soul, cowboy justice, and '60s protest, the overtly political band railed against war, racism, and a dead-end economy, and in the process imparted a conscience to punk. Their eponymous first record and" London Calling" still rank in Rolling Stone's top-ten best albums of all time, and in 2003 they were officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joe Strummer was the Clash's front man, a rock-and-roll hero seen by many as the personification of outlaw integrity and street cool. The political heart of the Clash, Strummer synthesized gritty toughness and poetic sensitivity in a manner that still resonates with listeners, and his untimely death in December 2002 shook the world, further solidifying his iconic status. Music journalist Chris Salewicz was a friend to Strummer for close to three decades and has covered the Clash's career and the entire punk movement from its inception. With exclusive access to Strummer's friends, relatives, and fellow musicians, Salewicz penetrates the soul of an icon. He uses his vantage point to write the definitive biography of Strummer, charting his enormous worldwide success, his bleak years in the wilderness after the Clash's bitter breakup, and his triumphant return to stardom at the end of his life. In the process, Salewicz argues for Strummer's place in a long line of protest singers that includes Woody Guthrie, John Lennon, and Bob Marley, and examines by turns Strummer's and punk's ongoing cultural influence.


Compare

The Clash was--and still is--one of the most important groups of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Indebted to rockabilly, reggae, Memphis soul, cowboy justice, and '60s protest, the overtly political band railed against war, racism, and a dead-end economy, and in the process imparted a conscience to punk. Their eponymous first record and" London Calling" still rank in Rolli The Clash was--and still is--one of the most important groups of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Indebted to rockabilly, reggae, Memphis soul, cowboy justice, and '60s protest, the overtly political band railed against war, racism, and a dead-end economy, and in the process imparted a conscience to punk. Their eponymous first record and" London Calling" still rank in Rolling Stone's top-ten best albums of all time, and in 2003 they were officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joe Strummer was the Clash's front man, a rock-and-roll hero seen by many as the personification of outlaw integrity and street cool. The political heart of the Clash, Strummer synthesized gritty toughness and poetic sensitivity in a manner that still resonates with listeners, and his untimely death in December 2002 shook the world, further solidifying his iconic status. Music journalist Chris Salewicz was a friend to Strummer for close to three decades and has covered the Clash's career and the entire punk movement from its inception. With exclusive access to Strummer's friends, relatives, and fellow musicians, Salewicz penetrates the soul of an icon. He uses his vantage point to write the definitive biography of Strummer, charting his enormous worldwide success, his bleak years in the wilderness after the Clash's bitter breakup, and his triumphant return to stardom at the end of his life. In the process, Salewicz argues for Strummer's place in a long line of protest singers that includes Woody Guthrie, John Lennon, and Bob Marley, and examines by turns Strummer's and punk's ongoing cultural influence.

30 review for Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    Please note that I might be ever-so-slightly bias in my review: I have a portrait of Joe Strummer tattooed on my arm, and I still get choked up when I hear his version of “Redemption Song” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GStIB...), even 18 years after he died (though reading the comments below the video reassures me that at least, I’m not the only one crying). That’s how much I love the man and his work, and how huge an impact he’s had on my life and my mind. And yes, I am aware that he had a b Please note that I might be ever-so-slightly bias in my review: I have a portrait of Joe Strummer tattooed on my arm, and I still get choked up when I hear his version of “Redemption Song” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GStIB...), even 18 years after he died (though reading the comments below the video reassures me that at least, I’m not the only one crying). That’s how much I love the man and his work, and how huge an impact he’s had on my life and my mind. And yes, I am aware that he had a bunch of flaws, that he was kind of a tyrant to his bandmates and an absent father to his daughters. But we are all deluded if we pretend that our heroes are perfect: it’s better to remember that they are human and fucked up too – because that means you can still do great things even if you are a mess. Chris “Sandwich” Salewicz understands that. He was a long-time friend of Strummer, and knew him very well, warts and all. And that’s one of the things that makes this biography special: there’s no whitewashing, no trying to pretend that there was a good reason for the bad behaviour and the mistakes. I had bought this book fresh from the press when it came out in 2006, but I admit that I remembered little about it besides the fact that I had loved it – which is no surprise considering the subject matter. This book reads like both a deep journalistic research and loving memorial to a dear friend, but I can’t lie: this is a dense book. Salewicz dug very deep and detailed about the life of John Graham Mellor, alias Joe Strummer, so it might not be for the casual rock biography reader. He discusses Joe’s upbringing – in quite a normal middle-class family, his relationship with his troubled older brother David, whose suicide he would never quite get over, his discovery of music, the development of his social conscience and sense of activism in an economically shattered UK. Those are all the ingredients that stewed for many years in Joe’s mind and would one day make him the conscience of the punk movement, the voice that not only rejected the status quo but actually tried to come up with alternatives (as opposed to the silly Sex Pistols and their pointless nihilism). Salewicz then explores the rise and fall of “the only band that matters” and all the back-breaking (and heartbreaking) work that went into transforming Joe’s little pub rock band into a phenomenon that would pack stadiums in the 80s. He also carefully documents Stummer’s so-called wilderness years, his struggle with depression and his rise from the obscurity he had confined himself to, into the beautiful work he did with the Mescaleros. I knew a lot of things about Strummer from all kinds of books on punk and on the Clash, and from listening to his music on an almost daily basis for the last twenty years. But I still learned so many things reading this book: his vegetarianism, Allen Ginsberg going on stage with the Clash, how brutal the break-up of his band was (not to mention that his personal life was in shambles at the same time...), where his love of the festival life came from, that “This is Spinal Tap” was his favorite movie... And while the truly magnetic part of Strummer’s personality are captured in this biography, as mentioned, there is no attempt to conceal his little hypocrisies and the way he could sometimes be a straight up bastard. And I still loved the man to bits when I got to the end of the book. Every Clash fan should read this, it truly is the definitive biography of the Punk Rock Warlord. We miss you, Joe! (I also strongly recommend the documentary “Joe Strummer: the Future is Unwritten”, which is full of amazing interviews, sound bites and stories.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GStIB...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tom Nixon

    I was on the M3 Motorway in England when I learned the Joe Strummer had died, courtesy of The Daily Mail. It was 2002 and we were in England for the winter for a change- for Christmas and so that Dad could teach a course in London and Paris over the winter break. Newspapers were still buzzing about the benefit concert for striking firefighters that Strummer had played some weeks before. He had been joined onstage by fellow Clash member Mick Jones, marking the first time they had played together I was on the M3 Motorway in England when I learned the Joe Strummer had died, courtesy of The Daily Mail. It was 2002 and we were in England for the winter for a change- for Christmas and so that Dad could teach a course in London and Paris over the winter break. Newspapers were still buzzing about the benefit concert for striking firefighters that Strummer had played some weeks before. He had been joined onstage by fellow Clash member Mick Jones, marking the first time they had played together since 1983. 2002 was when I was just discovering The Clash, exploring their singles and learning about their music. They were more complex than the Ramones, politically angry, not just plain angry like the Sex Pistols and they wanted to explore different types of music. Boiling anger, driving chords and deeply political, they made quite the impression on me. Stummer's death made me melancholy because there went another band I'd never get to see live on stage... What I didn't realize then and what I know now was the depth of Strummer's musical explorations and sheer genius. Thanks to longtime Strummer confidante and British music journalist Chris Salewicz's definitive portrait of the lead singer of the Clash, I now know a lot more than I did before. Salewicz offers what amounts to an almost 'double-biography'- telling the story of John Graham Mellor (Strummer's real name) as well as the chronicling both the rise and fall of The Clash and then the formation of Strummer's new band, the Mescaleros which marked a triumphant return to form that was cut short by his death in 2002. Strummer was born in Ankara, son of a British foreign office diplomat and went through the usual succession of public schools in the 60s and 70s before drifting into punk in the late 70s, first in the band the 101ers then eventually joining up with Mick Jones and forming The Clash. Strummer carried a lot of baggage with him, namely the tragic death of his older brother. You could make an argument that Strummer's wider view of the world could have helped drive his interest in such a wide variety of music. Rockabilly, Latin, Reggae- all of which and more can be heard throughout the Clash's discography. My experience with biographies has been mixed at best. Some can be compulsive readable, others can be so interesting and so packed with details as to be exhausting. Salewicz has managed to produce a voluminous, heavily detailed portrait of a musical icon that manages to be compulsively readable as well as full of details that reveal new depths to The Clash as well as Strummer himself. I listened to more of their music because of this book and, more to the point, I appreciated more of their music and their lyrics because of this book. I discovered the joys of Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros (recognizable for providing the music to Brangelina's steamy tango in 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith')- 'Johnny Appleseed' is one of those tracks that you can tap your toes to automatically and is just drenched with sheer joy. 'Bhindi Bagee' actually happened and the line 'vaccuum cleaner sucks up budgie' from the Clash track 'Magnificent Seven' also ripped from the headlines. Strummer jumped feet first into both America and Spain- we get to hear about how he went on a quest to find the grave of murdered Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca and actually met and wrote lyrics with famous American poet Alan Ginsberg. We meet John Cusack, get Strummer into the studio with Johnny Cash- a veritable who's who of the major icons of music, art and culture over the course of the past quarter century. Adrift after The Clash broke up, Strummer would eventually find love, happiness and mount a successful comeback to music with the Mescaleros that was tragically cut short by his sudden death. The best part about this book is discovering everything you thought you knew about The Clash, but didn't- and the saddest part about this book is wondering what might have been, had Strummer not shuffled off this mortal coil so suddenly. Overall: I love The Clash more for reading this book. I love their music, want all their albums, want a London Calling poster for my burgeoning man-cave and want to eat junk food and listen to their music with a beer in hand, loving life. I want to go Glastonbury and sit around a campfire and tell stories and talk about life. Although I didn't need a lot of convincing before, this book sealed the deal: Joe Strummer is, was and always will be the man.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Simply one of the best rock'n'roll biographies I've ever read and I've read a LOT of them. Joe Strummer has been a hero of mine for ages. I first heard The Clash's London Calling in '79, and I admired his convictions and dug his music throughout his career until his untimely death at age 50 in 2002, when he was still making powerful music with The Mescaleros. Author Chris "Sandwich" Salewicz knew the man as a friend and journalist since his days before the Clash formed, but that doesn't mean he' Simply one of the best rock'n'roll biographies I've ever read and I've read a LOT of them. Joe Strummer has been a hero of mine for ages. I first heard The Clash's London Calling in '79, and I admired his convictions and dug his music throughout his career until his untimely death at age 50 in 2002, when he was still making powerful music with The Mescaleros. Author Chris "Sandwich" Salewicz knew the man as a friend and journalist since his days before the Clash formed, but that doesn't mean he's put him on a pedestal. Strummer was a complex, talented and intense person, and Salewicz captures that complexity and all of the contradictions that make him a real person: an ultimately flawed human being just like the rest of us---only more so, bigger than life in every way.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Despite a few flaws, Chris Salewicz' definitive biography of Joe Strummer is essential for Clash fans. Chris came to San Francisco last year on a book tour, and I was struck during the reading by how painful Joe's death was for Chris even after five years. Joe left his impression on a great many people. What I appreciate most about the book is that Joe's myth is debunked, and what we see in the pages is John Mellor, the melancholy poet and prankster who never really got over his brother's suicid Despite a few flaws, Chris Salewicz' definitive biography of Joe Strummer is essential for Clash fans. Chris came to San Francisco last year on a book tour, and I was struck during the reading by how painful Joe's death was for Chris even after five years. Joe left his impression on a great many people. What I appreciate most about the book is that Joe's myth is debunked, and what we see in the pages is John Mellor, the melancholy poet and prankster who never really got over his brother's suicide. We learn about Joe's womanizing and somewhat hypocritical (at times) political philosophies. But we also see that Joe genuinely cared about people - all people - and you could never ask for a truer friend. What comes through is that Joe was brilliant, but also confused, addicted, controlling, out of control, funny, mean, loving, and sad - in other words, human - a human who touched lives whether rockin' at Shea Stadium or holding court at the local pub. RIP Joe, and long live Strummerville!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andy Carrington

    Take this somewhere. Read it. Absorb it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve Bennett

    Very enjoyable, if too long, biography of Joe Strummer. Thankfully, Salewicz, despite apparently being good friends with Strummer, does not portray Strummer as an idol. The book does a very good job of deconstructing the myths about Joe Strummer and focuses more on John Mellor--a confused British youth from a somewhat fragmented family whose entire life probably was defined at age 18 by his slightly older brother's suicide after he got mixed up with the National Front. Strummer comes off not so Very enjoyable, if too long, biography of Joe Strummer. Thankfully, Salewicz, despite apparently being good friends with Strummer, does not portray Strummer as an idol. The book does a very good job of deconstructing the myths about Joe Strummer and focuses more on John Mellor--a confused British youth from a somewhat fragmented family whose entire life probably was defined at age 18 by his slightly older brother's suicide after he got mixed up with the National Front. Strummer comes off not so much as the person who wrote some of the greatest songs in rock history, but as a person who was confused, prone to depression, and very capable of making wretchedly bad decisions, but always earnest, a good friend, and looking for both meaning and a good time in life. In other words, a great man and a fantastic person to have a beer with at the neighborhood bar--even if he had never written a song in his life. Strummer's rebirth with The Mescaleros after 15 somewhat lost years after The Clash's demise was not only highly unlikely but also serves as some evidence that there really is a God out there looking over his preserve. On the negative side, this book could have used some serious editing. It goes into way too much exhaustive detail. At about 600 pages, it would have been much more enjoyable if about 1/3 of the material had been left out. In other words, much like The Clash's Sandinista!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janellyn51

    I gave this a 4 because it was a little repetitive...otherwise, it's almost hard for me to talk about since I knew Joe fairly well. It was really interesting reading about his youth which was not something you'd ever heard too much about, at least not beyond that he was pissed his folks sent him off to boarding school...but I also used to go out with Paul Buck, "Pablo LaBritain", who'd talked to me about he and Joe at school, and about his brother's suicide. I loved Joe. I know everyone did, but I gave this a 4 because it was a little repetitive...otherwise, it's almost hard for me to talk about since I knew Joe fairly well. It was really interesting reading about his youth which was not something you'd ever heard too much about, at least not beyond that he was pissed his folks sent him off to boarding school...but I also used to go out with Paul Buck, "Pablo LaBritain", who'd talked to me about he and Joe at school, and about his brother's suicide. I loved Joe. I know everyone did, but you know.....I experienced pretty much every side to him at one time or another. I remember the night he snapped at me in the dressing room at St. Ann's and it was kind of shocking, because he always treated me like a princess...he leveled off as the evening wore on and the last thing he said to me was, "Give us your back Jan", so he could sign more autographs for kids....I gladly stood there whilst he used my back to bear on. He gave me a hug a kiss, and a see you next time at which point I tottered to the door. That was the last time I saw him. But before the end, it was like the circus came to town whenever he came around. He helped me the most when I was in the middle of getting divorced and he shored me up. Kind of hard to get bogged down in the crap stuff your soon to be X husband is telling you about your worthlessness, when you've got the mouth piece of a generation telling you your beautiful and he can't believe anyone would treat you that way! He was funny, impish, sincere, nuts, prolific, and one of the most insecure people I've ever met. I can't tell you how much I miss him. But, on the other hand, the book kind of helped me get over him, I suppose that's not a bad thing, but I might wind up missing having someone to love quite that ardently.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Tracey

    Probably required reading for anyone who (like me) got the Clash. "The Only Band That Mattered" was, at it turns out, the last band that mattered for me, especially as Bob Marley died in 1981. Fittingly, the title of the massively detailed bio by journalist and Clash friend Chris Salewicz is titled after Bob's last great lament song. I learned a lot about the Clash and the birth/death of punk from this book, making it a breezy read even at 600-plus pages. I also learned tons about John Mellor, th Probably required reading for anyone who (like me) got the Clash. "The Only Band That Mattered" was, at it turns out, the last band that mattered for me, especially as Bob Marley died in 1981. Fittingly, the title of the massively detailed bio by journalist and Clash friend Chris Salewicz is titled after Bob's last great lament song. I learned a lot about the Clash and the birth/death of punk from this book, making it a breezy read even at 600-plus pages. I also learned tons about John Mellor, the hippie art school drop-out who learned to play guitar and became one of the greatest rock front men in history. For details on how the band's members came and went and its career arced in the U.K. and around the world, it's hard to imagine any more thorough account. And yet. I found it hard to love this book. And not because of its even look at what a shit Joe could sometimes be to those around him (even his mates were afraid to leave him alone with their girlfriends) or for how the popular image of Joe as the downtrodden fan's hero gets subsumed by astonishing tales of his substance abuse -- from this account, judging by the volumes of alcohol, pot and everything he apparently took to ward off a serious problem with depression, he would appear to have spent his entire waking life in a daze. Maybe that's right and maybe he did, although he was professional enough to not be sloppy on stage, and somehow his interviews, which you can find on YouTube, are great examples of the articulate honesty which continues to endear him to fans long after his death. What I didn't like about this book is that in spite of the mass amounts of detail there was actually little to explain how Joe and the Clash became known as a political band and flag-bearers for a whole lot of us through some hard times. It has little to explain his lyrics, still one of the most intriguing things about him. Even after reading it, I found myself still learning basic things about some of the big Clash songs by checking out other accounts and interviews. Joe was a great storyteller, whether in a lyric, interview or with the performance art that his life became. That might explain why one of the most telling paragraphs of the book, I thought, was a quote by Joe about biographies. I tried to find it just now and couldn't, but the gist was how he didn't trust biographies because if you read two accounts of the same person's life you would see how different they were and then wonder which one could possibly be real.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nick Pemberton

    Hundreds and hundreds of pages. Salewicz obviously loves Joe Strummer and was one of his pals. Strummer lights a fire. Joe buys some brandy. Joe has his shoes shined. Joe buys some more drink and some drugs. Joe is insecure and difficult. Confrontational and cowardly. Lovable, needy, creative. Fearless and yet full of fear. He loves children, bless him. Everybody loves him but he doesn't love himself. He drinks more. XSalewicz records all this with a kind of indulgent approval based on the fact Hundreds and hundreds of pages. Salewicz obviously loves Joe Strummer and was one of his pals. Strummer lights a fire. Joe buys some brandy. Joe has his shoes shined. Joe buys some more drink and some drugs. Joe is insecure and difficult. Confrontational and cowardly. Lovable, needy, creative. Fearless and yet full of fear. He loves children, bless him. Everybody loves him but he doesn't love himself. He drinks more. XSalewicz records all this with a kind of indulgent approval based on the fact that he loves Joe Strummer. That's the best and most moving thing about this book which is a serious work of scholarship. More distance between author and his subject and old drinking pal might have made for a different book. Joe lives at night. Joe drinks. The world needs remaking the way he wants it to be. I kept feeling that despite Joe's all inclusive populist man of the people schtick -he spoke to bar men, brought home waifs and strays- that he lived in a rather grotesquely hierarchical world of stars, artists, back stage passes, private schools etc However, I am a grumpy old twatt and it would seem many people loved Joe Strummer and many more loved his music. I am one of the latter. This book was a true labour of love by its author whose book on Reggae I also enjoyed.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    One of the best biographies I have read in a long time. The author tells a lot of great stores about Joe and the clash. He gives great insight behind the albums and the lyrics of Joe songs. After reading this book i have a greater sense of who Joe was and why he did what he did. The author tells story the really show the members of the clash and the people Joe worked with. You get the sense how much of flawed man Joe Strummer was and yet he was great friend and person to everyone around him. Joe One of the best biographies I have read in a long time. The author tells a lot of great stores about Joe and the clash. He gives great insight behind the albums and the lyrics of Joe songs. After reading this book i have a greater sense of who Joe was and why he did what he did. The author tells story the really show the members of the clash and the people Joe worked with. You get the sense how much of flawed man Joe Strummer was and yet he was great friend and person to everyone around him. Joe Strummer was not a simple man and this biography shows just how complex he was. The other Great thing about this book is that you get know the other people in Joe's life so much more. You get to see more than just Joe Strummer. My only complaint we this book was how long it was. The author covers every part of Joe's life and does a great job, But it still took a long time to finish reading. It was great every moment.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    A superb biography from a friend of the subject who also happened to be a journalist with total access through the punk era and beyond. Straight-up timelines in music biographies that start off with a dragging account of childhoods - and even the parents' and grandparents' childhoods! - always bore me. This one isn't like that, so much. More interesting. Picked this up months ago, but the recent film got me re-interested. As an aside, the Mescaleros albums have been infused with a new charm for A superb biography from a friend of the subject who also happened to be a journalist with total access through the punk era and beyond. Straight-up timelines in music biographies that start off with a dragging account of childhoods - and even the parents' and grandparents' childhoods! - always bore me. This one isn't like that, so much. More interesting. Picked this up months ago, but the recent film got me re-interested. As an aside, the Mescaleros albums have been infused with a new charm for me as well. I also feel it necessary to start tracking down the various soundtracks Strummer was associated with. Safe to say, I finished this one with tears streaming.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

    600+ pages on one of the most amazing human beings to have ever walked this earth. Joe Strummer is a huge idol of mine. He is the only "celebrity" who's death I have cried over. My heart was pounding out of my chest as I reached the final pages of this extremely detailed account of his life, knowing how abrubtly it all came to an end. For people out there who don't consider themselves a fan of Joe Strummer's music, you should still read this and learn a thing or two about the human condition. An 600+ pages on one of the most amazing human beings to have ever walked this earth. Joe Strummer is a huge idol of mine. He is the only "celebrity" who's death I have cried over. My heart was pounding out of my chest as I reached the final pages of this extremely detailed account of his life, knowing how abrubtly it all came to an end. For people out there who don't consider themselves a fan of Joe Strummer's music, you should still read this and learn a thing or two about the human condition. And then you should get your head examined. Something must be wrong with you if you don't appreciate the art of Joe Strummer. RIP John "Woody" Mellor (aka Joe Strummer)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jez Keighley

    A missed chance. Worth reading because Joe Strummer was an interesting if contradictory figure. Fighting for justice and equality in his music but quite capable of being an unpleasant bully to his partners or band mates. Unfortunately Chris Salewicz seems to have been a friend of his and repeats this endlessly. He never tires of telling us that he had a few beers with Joe strummer now and then or that Joe thought he was a great guy. He makes bald statements and leaves them hanging in the air wit A missed chance. Worth reading because Joe Strummer was an interesting if contradictory figure. Fighting for justice and equality in his music but quite capable of being an unpleasant bully to his partners or band mates. Unfortunately Chris Salewicz seems to have been a friend of his and repeats this endlessly. He never tires of telling us that he had a few beers with Joe strummer now and then or that Joe thought he was a great guy. He makes bald statements and leaves them hanging in the air without support. A one off drunken comment is awarded the same import as well-thought out lyrics to a song. An editor would have assisted a lot.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Many funny anecdotes, insightful stories - but some dull stretches in the book too. A favourite was when he met INXS on tour, and wondered how Michael Hutchence felt about being a sex symbol. Hutchence said "You must know that - you're Joe Strummer!" to which Strummer replied, "No, I was Spokesman Of A Generation". Joe lost the plot when he split The Clash and slumped into a tailspin of depression that took him many years to climb out of. Throughout the book, he treats women badly - I know, judg Many funny anecdotes, insightful stories - but some dull stretches in the book too. A favourite was when he met INXS on tour, and wondered how Michael Hutchence felt about being a sex symbol. Hutchence said "You must know that - you're Joe Strummer!" to which Strummer replied, "No, I was Spokesman Of A Generation". Joe lost the plot when he split The Clash and slumped into a tailspin of depression that took him many years to climb out of. Throughout the book, he treats women badly - I know, judge the art not the artist, but IT'S JOE STRUMMER! Say it ain't so, Joe.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Reading this book, especially at the end, sad. I missed my chance to ever see Joe. He toured quite a bit near the end with the Mescaleros and often played a heavy rotation of Clash songs and I never saw him. It was particularly interesting to read about the later parts of his life, as I have read other Clash bios before. But to get an idea of the man he became was quite interesting. I am of the opinion that Joe was much more articulate, funny and interesting in his lyrics than he often was in re Reading this book, especially at the end, sad. I missed my chance to ever see Joe. He toured quite a bit near the end with the Mescaleros and often played a heavy rotation of Clash songs and I never saw him. It was particularly interesting to read about the later parts of his life, as I have read other Clash bios before. But to get an idea of the man he became was quite interesting. I am of the opinion that Joe was much more articulate, funny and interesting in his lyrics than he often was in real life. This book did drag a little bit though and slowed me down!

  16. 4 out of 5

    David

    Shit. This is a hard book to review. I love The Clash but after reading this, I am a little underwhelmed by the band's energy force, Joe Strummer. The weird thing is the author is in love with his subject, irritatingly interjects his personal anecdotes with Joe, but somehow manages to describe the dude as a total asshole half the time. TMI - London Calling is still one of the best rock albums of all time. Shit. This is a hard book to review. I love The Clash but after reading this, I am a little underwhelmed by the band's energy force, Joe Strummer. The weird thing is the author is in love with his subject, irritatingly interjects his personal anecdotes with Joe, but somehow manages to describe the dude as a total asshole half the time. TMI - London Calling is still one of the best rock albums of all time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hundeschlitten

    I spent the better part of a month slogging through this 600+ page tome, with its awkward syntax and interminable descriptions of what seemed to be just about every time Joe Strummer got drunk or stoned. But no worries. Despite its flaws, this is a beautiful portrait of an intense and conflicted man, one of the few true stars of my generation. I feel like a shared a bit of Joe's life, and even shed a tear for him at the end. I spent the better part of a month slogging through this 600+ page tome, with its awkward syntax and interminable descriptions of what seemed to be just about every time Joe Strummer got drunk or stoned. But no worries. Despite its flaws, this is a beautiful portrait of an intense and conflicted man, one of the few true stars of my generation. I feel like a shared a bit of Joe's life, and even shed a tear for him at the end.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Wilde Sky

    The life and times of a famous musician are reviewed. I have always liked the Clash and picked up this book with great expectations about finding out about one of the core members of the band but this book (which is obviously a labour of love) was so full of details that I couldn’t clearly see the person, plus I found it slightly repetitive. I expect this is one for dedicated fans.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    Definitive is right! Everything I could possibly ever want to know about Strummer is in here and then some, and most of it quite interesting. Very insightful about England's early punk rock scene, too. No discography! Definitive is right! Everything I could possibly ever want to know about Strummer is in here and then some, and most of it quite interesting. Very insightful about England's early punk rock scene, too. No discography!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dave Purcell

    A wonderful read that captures the complexity, contradictions, and beauty of the great Joe Strummer. Earlier, I decided to pass on this because of the length -- despite my love of Joe and The Clash, I wasn't sure if he deserved 600+ pages. I'm so glad that I changed my mind. A wonderful read that captures the complexity, contradictions, and beauty of the great Joe Strummer. Earlier, I decided to pass on this because of the length -- despite my love of Joe and The Clash, I wasn't sure if he deserved 600+ pages. I'm so glad that I changed my mind.

  21. 5 out of 5

    April

    This is a great book, but the reality of one's heroes can be a little hard to take sometimes, so I've had to put it down for a while. I'll definitely be coming back to it. This is a great book, but the reality of one's heroes can be a little hard to take sometimes, so I've had to put it down for a while. I'll definitely be coming back to it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    Really well written and lots of insight into the man. I feel sorry for the women in his life though ;)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wade

    A bio that reads like a novel. It's the subject but also the treatment of the subject. A bio that reads like a novel. It's the subject but also the treatment of the subject.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

    While I have been a fan of Strummer and The Clash for years, I knew little of their story and artistic inspiration. Redemption Song provides meticulously detailed biography of Joe Strummer from someone who knew him. Salewicz consulted with more than 300 different sources resulting in a multifaceted and fascinating account of Strummer's life and music. Salewicz admiration borders on hero worship at times, but doesn't prevent him from revealing some of Strummer's worst tendencies and flaws. Overal While I have been a fan of Strummer and The Clash for years, I knew little of their story and artistic inspiration. Redemption Song provides meticulously detailed biography of Joe Strummer from someone who knew him. Salewicz consulted with more than 300 different sources resulting in a multifaceted and fascinating account of Strummer's life and music. Salewicz admiration borders on hero worship at times, but doesn't prevent him from revealing some of Strummer's worst tendencies and flaws. Overall, the book left me amazed at Strummer's charisma, brilliance, humor, and above all, humanity. Despite being a teenager in the 80s, I really knew very little of the punk beyond stereotypical presentations on television and limited air play on FM radio. This book fills in a lot of knowledge gaps about the punk movement and 1970s-1980s England in general. It piqued my interest in several bands that I had not heard of and resulted in some nice additions to my music library. Most impressive to me is that while highlighting Strummer, Salewicz conveyed the brilliance of each of the members of The Clash--Jones, Simonon, and Headon. Collectively they created some of the best and most memorable music of the era--music that remains fresh, powerful, and relevant today. Understanding the context and process behind the their work has deepened my enjoyment and admiration for the band. While I will kick myself for not seeing them in concert in the 80s, what a joy to have their body of work to listen to! Only one complaint with the book is that at times the level of detail and quoting of sources made it a bit clunky and interfered with the narrative. Despite that, this is a must read for fans and a good read for those who like biographies of musicians and creative people.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    As of chapter 4: With no chronological or thematic organization, reading this book is a chore (so far). It also appears to be mostly about the author, Salewicz. Soo, the book gets a little more interesting after about page 100, especially when Salewicz makes comparisons between the Clash and Sex Pistols. Over all, however, this book is a disappointment. I was so excited to read it! But it is mostly a litany of 'We did this' and 'Joe did that' and 'Then we all moved into another squat at this add As of chapter 4: With no chronological or thematic organization, reading this book is a chore (so far). It also appears to be mostly about the author, Salewicz. Soo, the book gets a little more interesting after about page 100, especially when Salewicz makes comparisons between the Clash and Sex Pistols. Over all, however, this book is a disappointment. I was so excited to read it! But it is mostly a litany of 'We did this' and 'Joe did that' and 'Then we all moved into another squat at this address.' Aaargh. Every now and then the author puts in an interesting anecdote. Sadly, the same 2 or 3 anecdotes keep getting repeated throughout the text, in some collegiate all-nighter type cut-and-paste errors. I am saved from forcing myself to read the rest of this book -- The library won't let me renew it, and it's not worth the overdue fines. This is a double disappointment; when I saw on the jacket cover that he has also written a bio of Billy Bragg, I was pretty psyched to read it. I think I'll skip it. I still love the Clash!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    It’s taken me nearly a year to finish this book - not because it’s bad (it’s so good), but because I didn’t have the time to truly dedicate to it until this week. The storytelling is so wonderful that it leaves you looking up more - the places Strummer vacationed and recorded hits and played hits, and it’s also impossible to read about music without wanting to sit and take in the songs and live performances it’s talking about. Wonderful book about a wonderful life that was truly lived to the ful It’s taken me nearly a year to finish this book - not because it’s bad (it’s so good), but because I didn’t have the time to truly dedicate to it until this week. The storytelling is so wonderful that it leaves you looking up more - the places Strummer vacationed and recorded hits and played hits, and it’s also impossible to read about music without wanting to sit and take in the songs and live performances it’s talking about. Wonderful book about a wonderful life that was truly lived to the fullest. Because it took me so long to read, I’ll never remember the little trivia bits, but what I will remember is summed up perfectly by this quote: “But those who knew him, the international group of interconnected old souls who had formed his and the Clash’s posse, knew he wasn’t Saint Joe. No, he was much more interesting than that. If you knew him you’d love him. But you’d be mad not to realize what a piece of work he could be.” Long live the Clash, the only band that mattered.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joe Pags

    This was a real slog through the mud. I needed to read it, and it was recommended by Leo Jacobo, who has impeccable taste, but the author packs the book with so many details about the daily life and decisions of Joe Strummer it becomes incredibly dense. I've picked up a few great suggestions for my music library, The Slits, The Damned, early New York Dolls, but I'll be glad to move on to my next read. After this, I am not sure how much longer I'll be able to look up to music icons for any new in This was a real slog through the mud. I needed to read it, and it was recommended by Leo Jacobo, who has impeccable taste, but the author packs the book with so many details about the daily life and decisions of Joe Strummer it becomes incredibly dense. I've picked up a few great suggestions for my music library, The Slits, The Damned, early New York Dolls, but I'll be glad to move on to my next read. After this, I am not sure how much longer I'll be able to look up to music icons for any new insight, it's all starting to sound so formulaic.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    A very intimate biography about the Clash singer. Except if you read this book, you'll realize that Strummer was much more than that - a funny, smart, passionate, messed up genius who spent the last 15 years of his life regretting the mistakes he made with the Clash before ultimately creating and leading another group (the Mescaleros) and briefly enjoying living legend status before his untimely death. Salewicz was a personal friend (and a journalist) but he never allows his friendship to cloud A very intimate biography about the Clash singer. Except if you read this book, you'll realize that Strummer was much more than that - a funny, smart, passionate, messed up genius who spent the last 15 years of his life regretting the mistakes he made with the Clash before ultimately creating and leading another group (the Mescaleros) and briefly enjoying living legend status before his untimely death. Salewicz was a personal friend (and a journalist) but he never allows his friendship to cloud his judgment about some of Strummer's faults. A fascinating portrait of one of my heroes.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Crispin Kott

    I've got a bunch of books on the Clash, but most of those end when the band does. Strummer was the real deal, and a book that covers his life pre- and post-Clash was long overdue. This is a dense work, and as such, I find myself reading a chapter here and there before taking a bit of time off. But I'm thoroughly enjoying every page, every anecdote, every peek into the fascinating life of one of my heroes. I've got a bunch of books on the Clash, but most of those end when the band does. Strummer was the real deal, and a book that covers his life pre- and post-Clash was long overdue. This is a dense work, and as such, I find myself reading a chapter here and there before taking a bit of time off. But I'm thoroughly enjoying every page, every anecdote, every peek into the fascinating life of one of my heroes.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    If you ever wanted to know EVERYTHING about Joe Strummer/John Graham Mellor, then look no further. Friend and music journalist Chris Salewicz has written the perfect 600-fucking-page-long biography of the undisputed King of Punk. It took me forever to read this, but every moment spent reading I gleaned more knowledge of the man and his views of the world, himself, music and others. You can't go wrong with this... If you ever wanted to know EVERYTHING about Joe Strummer/John Graham Mellor, then look no further. Friend and music journalist Chris Salewicz has written the perfect 600-fucking-page-long biography of the undisputed King of Punk. It took me forever to read this, but every moment spent reading I gleaned more knowledge of the man and his views of the world, himself, music and others. You can't go wrong with this...

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.