An All-Star Grammy Tribute To Joe Strummer

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Joe Strummer

“Joe was into the individual: You’ve got to do what’s right for you,” said Slattery. “You’ve got to follow what’s in your heart and not what’s in someone else’s heart. Tuning in to your own spirit: that’s what people should take from Joe.”

Who doesn’t love a supergroup? That’s a rhetorical question — we all do. For instance, if you had the option of watching a band made up of Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, and Steven Van Zandt take the stage, how could you say no?

You don’t. You can’t.

But wait, it gets so much better. What if this fab foursome came together to honor the late Joe Strummer? At the 2003 Grammy Awards, just months after Strummer’s untimely death in December 2002, they did just that, bound together in solidarity to honor a fellow iconoclastic rock giant with one of the most iconic songs in rock and roll. “London Calling” always had a certain grandiosity to it, but that night it took on a whole new kind of awesome righteousness. There they were, the Four Horsemen of Rock if there ever was one, standing side by side, trading off verses one by one in memory of Strummer and The Clash. It was enough to bring a tear to the eye of every self-respecting punk.

Tributes are nothing new, especially on a stage as big as the Grammys. Still, when they’re done right and with true grit and spirit, it makes for an indelible memory that stays with you even a decade later. For all of the bombast and over-indulgence that can often saddle big award shows, all it takes is a moment like this to make it all worthwhile.

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