Let's start with "Straight to Hell" which had a recent rebirth when sampled by M.I.A. in her song "Paper Planes."
Now let's just back to the first album (well, the US version of The Clash, it was only a single in the UK) with "Clash City Rockers":
"The ice age is coming, the sun's zooming inIs "London Calling" eerily prescient? Maybe. He was right about the zombies. As the opening track to London Calling, it also serves as the first indication that the band's sound was maturing. The album is considered a classic, ranking high on many "all-time" album lists, so naturally there were no Grammy nominations, although it's been inducted to the Grammy Hall of Fame, which doesn't really mean much.
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning, and I live by the river"
My favorite track from Sandinista isn't one of Strummer's (the unlikely "Hitsville UK"), so I'll go with "The Magnificent Seven" (which is pretty much the only song from the album I ever hear on radio or out at clubs [NOTE: I do not actually go out to clubs]). It's an early fusion of rock and rap, but don't tell the pretentious dude I heard on NPR proclaiming Sonic Youth's "Kool Thing" the most important single of that year (it's hard for me to let some things go, apparently).
Next up, one of Strummer's original songs written for Sid and Nancy. I have a real fondness for this song since 1) I love the movie (it's gritty and unpleasant, but director Alex Cox, the generally fantastic Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb, and even Sir Roger Deakins [one of my all-time favorite cinematographers] made something that endures; and B) we were playing the soundtrack when I started working at the radio station, so "Love Kills" is probably one of the first songs I ever played as a DJ. I would argue that the song deserved an Oscar nomination ahead of "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun, or "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" from Little Shop of Horrors, but that wouldn't really change anything.
I leave you with a collaboration between Strummer and Johnny Cash, a cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song"released a few months after Cash's death in 2003 and about a year after Strummer's untimely death in 2002. Strummer's death motivated me to travel to San Francisco to see Paul Weller in concert... "they're not going to live forever" someone said, possibly Kim.
Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace!