Though Joe Strummer wrote many great original songs as a performer with The Clash, The 101ers, The Mescaleros, and others, he and his band mates had a knack for taking the music of others and giving it their own inimitable twist. Some might say these covers are better than the originals; others might argue that it’s impossible to produce a version of a track that is superior to the songwriter’s. Regardless, Strummer put his mark on each and every cover he performed, breathing new life into it and making it his own.
Here are 10 notable covers Strummer played throughout his career.
From Sandinista!, The Clash (also covered by The 101ers and The Mescaleros) – Written by Bob Shad, originally performed by James Waynes, and based on the song “Junker’s Blues,” written by Willie Hall
Police & Thieves
From the self-titled album by The Clash – Written and originally performed by Junior Murvin
From The Hellcat Years, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – Written and originally performed by the Ramones
I Fought the Law
From The Cost of Living, The Clash – Written and originally performed by Sonny Curtis, first popularized by The Bobby Fuller Four
From the “London Calling” single by The Clash – Written and originally performed by Willi Williams
Let the Good Times Roll
From the film Rude Boy – Written and originally performed by Shirley and Lee
Brand New Cadillac
From London Calling, The Clash – Written and originally performed by Vince Taylor
From the “English Civil War” single by The Clash – Written and originally performed by Toots and the Maytals
From the film Let’s Rock Again! – Written and originally performed by The Stooges