When asked for his opinion on the subject/the man/the musician Bruce Springsteen in 1997, Joe Strummer sent the following letter to “rocumentary” filmmaker Mark Hagen. The film in question, ‘Bruce Springsteen: A Secret History’, was broadcast in 1998 on British television:
Joe Strummer’s all-caps handwriting:
ATTN: MARK HAGEN
Dear Mark – here’s my contribution
BRUCE IS GREAT… IF YOU DONT AGREE WITH THAT YOU’RE A PRETENTIOUS MARTIAN FROM VENUS. BRUCE LOOKS GREAT… LIKE HE’S ABOUT TO CRAWL UNDERNEATH THE CHORDS WITH A SPANNER AND SOCK THE STARTER MOTOR ONE TIME SO THAT A ENGINE STARTS UP – HUMMING AND READY TO TAKE US ON A GOLDEN RIDE WAY OUT SOMEWHERE IN THE YONDER…
BRUCE IS GREAT… BECAUSE HE’LL NEVER LAY DOWN AND BE CONQUERED BY HIS PROBLEMS HE’S ALLWAYS READY TO BUST OUT the SHACK AND HIT THE TRACK… HIS MUSIC IS GREAT ON A DARK and RAINY MORNING IN ENGLAND, JUST WHEN YOU NEED SOME SPIRIT AND SOME PROOF THAT THE BIG WIDE WORLD EXISTS, THE D.J. PUTS ON “RACING IN THE STREETS” AND LIFE SEEMS WORTH LIVING AGAIN… LIFE SEEMS TO BE IN CINEMASCOPE AGAIN.
BRUCE IS NOT ON AN EGO TRIP… BRUCE IS ACTUALLY INTO THE MUSIC… WE NEED PEOPLE LIKE THIS… A LOT OF RECORDS TODAY ARE MADE BY PEOPLE JUST TO FEED THEIR FAME. BRUCE IS GREAT… THERE AINT NO WHINGING WHINING OR COMPLAINING.. THERE’S ONLY GREAT MUSIC, LYRICS AND AN OCEAN OF TALENT.
ME? I LOVE SPRINGSTEEN!!!
(Signed, ‘Joe Strummer’)
London Calling, with Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello and the Clash:
Springsteen returned the compliment during a gig in 2008, declaring Strummer “one of the greatest rockers of all time” before launching into a rendition of I Fought the Law.
I Fought the Law:
He has also covered Joe’s last masterpiece Coma Girl.
Coma Girl (audio only):
On the Saturday night of Glastonbury you may be lucky enough to seeBruce Springsteen & the E Street Band power through their version of the Clash’s London Calling. One key figure in securing the Boss’s booking? One of that song’s co-authors, Joe Strummer. (refering to the letter in this post)
cont. The Guardian:
It’s a sentiment that Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis would agree with; in his later years, Strummer became a figurehead for the festival and when it came time to persuade Springsteen to appear, he still had a significant part to play. “I did an eight-page document about the festival for Bruce with quotes from Joe included,” says Eavis. “I’ve never done anything like that for anyone before. It’s going to be an amazing couple of hours.”
A nice story about two great persons and musicians!