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Today in Music History: The Clash's Joe Strummer Disappears

April 21, 2014

The Clash - 1979
The Clash
Photo: Bob Gruen

History Highlight:

Today in 1982, The Clash had to cancel a tour when Joe Strummer disappeared for three weeks. He was eventually found living on the streets in Paris.
Before the album Combat Rock was released in 1982, Strummer willfully went into hiding and band management represented that he had "disappeared". Bernie Rhodes, the band's manager, pressured Joe to do so because tickets were selling slowly for the Scottish leg of an upcoming tour. It was planned for Strummer to travel to Texas in secret and stay with his friend, musician Joe Ely. However, Strummer, uneasy with his decision, decided to genuinely disappear and "dicked around" in France. During this time, Strummer ran the Paris Marathon in April 1982. He claimed his training regime consisted of 10 pints of beer the night before the race. For this period of time, Joe's whereabouts were not only a mystery to the public, but the band's management as well. Joe later said this was a huge mistake and you "have to have some regrets". This was in spite of the popular success of the single "Rock the Casbah". During this time band members began to argue a lot, and with tensions high, the group began to fall apart.

Also, Today In:

1962 - Elvis Presley started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with "Good Luck Charm," his fifth US No.1 of the 60's.

1967 - Working at Abbey Road studios in London, The Beatles completed the sessions for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

1990 - Sinead O'Connor started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with her version of the Prince song "Nothing Compares To You."

1990 - Paul McCartney appeared before 184,000 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the time, it was the largest audience ever to attend a performance by a single rock act.

2001 - Peter Buck, guitarist for R.E.M., was arrested for being drunk on an aircraft and accosting British Airways personnel following a flight from Seattle to Heathrow Airport in London. He would be acquitted nearly a year later.


Michael Franti is 48 today.

Robert Smith, the lead singer of The Cure, is 55 today.

Iggy Pop, of The Stooges, is 67 today.