I'm one of the people who while I had never met Joe Strummer felt his death as a hammer blow to my psyche. I've written about this before and self analysed why his passing left me feeling gutted, and the conclusion that I came to is that it wasn't actually about Joe Strummer dying. It was really that I was mourning the closing of one chapter of my life.
This was a man who had created much of the soundtrack of my youth, and continued to do so long after the Clash had folded, but when his heart quietly stopped beating it served as a watershed moment for me. One where I reflected on the young man I was and would never be again.
This was what I had lost. I hadn't lost Joe as I didn't know him. His passing was just a wake up call that reminded me that time marches on regardless.
As the plaudits for Joe's work flowed in from every corner of the globe certain people moved forward and eloquently put into words how many of us felt.
One of them was Billy Bragg, who more so than anyone had carried the torch of punk protest that Joe had run with. He had never slavishly ripped Joe off and I would even say that he had a more sussed and less naïve political world view than Joe ever did, but The Clash are without a doubt the springboard that Billy sprung from.
So it is no surprise that there are occasions when Billy pays tribute to the Clash live on stage and this is one of those times.
Bit rough and ready, but still worth a listen