'His songwriting defined a generation': Mike Smith on Warner/Chappell's Joe Strummer deal

Mike Smith

Warner/Chappell Music Group has inked a deal for Joe Strummer’s solo songwriting catalogue, ahead of the release of a wealth of previously unreleased material from the legendary Clash frontman.

A new Ignition Records album, Joe Strummer 001, will be released on September 28, featuring newly-discovered material from his early pre-Clash career, alongside his solo recordings and work with The Mescaleros. Strummer’s songs have also featured in films such as Sid And Nancy, Walker and Straight To Hell.

Warner/Chappell Music UK managing director Mike Smith hailed the move, saying: “Joe Strummer is a personal hero of mine. His songwriting with The Clash defined a generation. The musical landscape has never been the same. Joe continuously reinvented himself throughout his career, His songwriting during his solo years and with The Mescaleros was constantly pushing boundaries and raising the bar. I am excited to know that we will be representing Joe’s incredible music at Warner/Chappell. It’s an honour to be entrusted with his legacy.” 

Before his untimely death in 2002, Strummer had put together an archive of his work, including a huge number of recordings. Further releases are promised in the future.

Strummer’s widow, Lucinda Tait, did the administration deal with Warner/Chappell, which covers the singer’s solo career from his stint with The 101ers to his third and final album with The Mescaleros, the posthumously-released Streetcore.

“It’s really great to know that Joe’s music is being given a new lease of life,” said Tait. “I am completely thrilled with the new album; and very happy that Mike Smith and his team at Warner/Chappell will be there, with their expertise, to ensure that Joe’s songs are given the attention that they demand and will live on.”

The Clash’s publishing remains with long-time home Universal Music Publishing Group. Strummer made five albums with the iconic group, including 1979’s London Calling, regularly voted one of the greatest albums of all time.

To read Mike Smith's 2017 Music Week Big Interview, click here.

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