After Mick Jones departed The Clash in 1983, Joe Strummer soldiered on for one final death rattle of an album (entitled Cut The Crap, they should have cut the first two words for the sake of accuracy) before calling it quits. He attempted to reform the group in 1986, but by then Jones had embarked on a new enterprise, Big Audio Dynamite.
The basic idea behind the band was to fuse dance beats, samples, rap, reggae and rock into a kaleidoscopic mash-up of sound. They achieved moderate success in the UK, but sold little in the US until a revamped lineup known as BAD II (in reality, absolutely nobody called them by that name) released The Globe, a worldwide bestseller in 1991. The first single from that album, “Rush,” marked their only UK #1 and the only time they broke into the Top 40 in the US.
According to Wikipedia (because even after listening to “Rush” for over 20 years, I had no idea it was such a Frankenstein of a song), the track samples several other pieces of music, including the keyboard component of The Who’s song “Baba O’Riley,” the organ from the introduction to the Deep Purple song “Child in Time,” a drum break from Tommy Roe’s “Sweet Pea”, drums and guitars from a break from Pigmeat Markham’s “Here Comes the Judge,” a line from The Sugarhill Gang’s song “Rapper’s Delight,” and a vocal sample from Peter Sellers.
It’s a testament to the skills of Mick Jones and co-producer André Shapps that “Rush” doesn’t sound like a reanimated corpse, but rather an enormous schwanzstucker of dance club fun. Woof!
Joe Strummer kept a lower profile throughout the 80s and 90s, releasing one poorly received solo album and working on a number of soundtracks. Luckily, he and Mick Jones reconciled and collaborated a few times. In 1999, Strummer formed a new backing band, The Mescaleros, and released two critically acclaimed albums. He died unexpectedly in late 2002 just as he was finding his creative groove again. Here’s a great track from his final album, Streetcore: