August 21 would have been Joe Strummer’s 68th birthday, and to celebrate, singer-songwriter Jesse Malin, Strummer’s estate manager David Zonsine, and radio DJ Jeff Raspe put together A Song for Joe: Celebrating the Life of Joe Strummer — a livestream filled with performances, birthday wishes, and never-before-seen footage of the Clash singer/guitarist in action.
The two-hour event began with Strummer’s voice talking over a montage of photos. “Music is not the point. What matters is how much spirit you put into it, how much intelligence you put into it,” he said. “Does it have any meaning? Will it communicate to other people? When you really communicate with other people, that’s when they say you’re the greatest rock and roll band in the world. ‘Cause we’re doing, really, is trying to communicate something.”
From there, Malin spoke about Strummer’s legacy, both as a musician and humanitarian, and urged viewers to donate to Save Our Stages if they could. An all-star lineup of artists covered songs from Strummers’ illustrious career, including Josh Homme (“Train in Vain”), Tom Morello (“Bankrobber”), Jeff Tweedy (“Death or Glory”), Josh Klinghoffer (“Rudy Can’t Fail”), Dropkick Murphys (“Tommy Gun”), Hinds (“Spanish Bombs”), Lucinda Williams (“Straight to Hell”), Brian Fallon (“Long Shadow”), and Bob Weir and Jesse Malin (“Death or Glory”), among others.
The Pogues’ Spider Stacy, Mystery Train director Jim Jarmusch, Shepard Fairey, Steve Buscemi, and Beto O’Rourke also made appearances, and Bruce Springsteen shared a special birthday message to “the brother that I never had.”
“To see so many musicians and artists come forward to honor Joe is really touching,” Stummer’s wife, Lucinda Tait, said in a statement ahead of the tribute. “Community was always important to him. Whether it was playing music with friends, organizing all night campfires, or hijacking festivals, Joe was always focused on bringing people together. Even though we can’t all be in the same room together, I cannot think of a better way for us all to feel united. Joe would have loved this.”
Watch A Song for Joe below.