I’m Down by Joe Strummer

Michael Gerber
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I'm Down by Joe Strummer

“You tell lies thinkin’ I can’t see…”

This morning, I awoke to find this gem in the comment queue from @O’Boogie…

“Long time/first time — tangentially, there are some neat bits of Beatles flavoured trivia to London’s pub rock/proto-punk scene. Joe Strummer christened John Tiberi (pre-Clash manager of The 101’ers, later associated with the Pistols) “Boogie” because he’d smoke Winston cigarettes; before “No Elvis, Beatles or The Rolling Stones” in 1977, Strummer was speeding through material like I’m Down and I Saw Her Standing There.”

Here’s the YouTube in question; I’ve cued it up for “I’m Down.” Thanks, @O’Boogie, and everybody enjoy.

In my own flailings on guitar, I’ve often thought about how the covers the Beatles picked influenced the band they became — and I was pleased (but not surprised) to see a lot of the Fabs’ pre-fame repertoire in Strummer’s set: Bonnie Moronie; Heartbreak Hotel; Johnny Be Goode – Oh Carol; Monkey Business; Be Bop A Lula; Slippin and Slidin; Roll Over Beethoven. It’s BBC all over again.

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  1. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    The first record Joe bought was “I Want To Hold Your Hand”

  2. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    “Even the most slovenly perusal of rock’n’roll’s history reveals that many, if not most, of the greats of popular music were not remotely working class. Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Joe Strummer were all well-educated, middle class boys, though all of them went to the most harrowing lengths to conceal this. Strummer, son of a diplomat, was subjected to punk’s equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition once his roots were revealed.”

    “One possible explanation for this venal obsession with class may lie in rock’n’roll’s roots in the blues. The grinding poverty and genuine horrors endured by the likes of Robert Johnson seems to have provided rock’n’roll with a grizzly template few dare question, even after all this time.”

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