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Joe Strummer and the Legend of "The Clash" Paperback – 27 Sep 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Plexus Publishing Ltd (27 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085965348X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0859653480
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 2.8 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 625,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for Kris Needs's autobiography, Needs Must. "The best book about music l've ever read."

About the Author

Kris Needs's books include The Scream: The Music, Myths, and Misbehaviour of Primal Scream and Keith Richards: Before They Make Me Run. A successful DJ, artist, and producer as well as a journalist, he lives in Aylesbury, England.


Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Kris Needs first met the Clash shortly after they had started out on the long, often arduous, frequently funny but rarely dull road to success. He was part of the inner circle, liked and respected by the members of the band who considered him more of a friend than just another journalist. He personally charted their progress in the magazine ZigZag and championed their cause from first to last (last being when Mick Jones departed). However, this is far from being a subjective, rose-tinted view of "the only band that matters" from a man who was both friend and fan. Needs doesn't pull any punches when it comes to the mistakes that were made, the tempers that frayed and the events that led to the eventual implosion of The Clash. But along the way, he gives us a rare insight (even more so than Johnny Green's excellent "A Riot of Our Own") into the day-to-day life of a now legendary band, recounting many of the dodgy and often hilarious situations that the lads and their cohorts found themselves in, as well as detailing the technical side of the various ways they set about writing, recording and playing live. While going into great depth, Needs never fails to keep the reader's interest and there's something new to discover or remember on virtually every page. What's more, he doesn't stop when the Clash ceased to be. Charting the highs and lows of post-Clash Strummer and Jones in particular (while touching on the fortunes or otherwise of Simonon and Headon) he brings us up to the present day, with a plethora of comments from the surviving members, recorded in 2004, peppered throughout the book.
This is an absolute gem of a book, written with humour, insight and a great deal of affection. It's essential reading for anyone interested in the ins and outs of the world of Rock 'n' Roll. As for all the Clash fans out there; your bookshelves will be bereft without it.
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Format: Paperback
Kris Needs, or "Needsy" as the group called him has put together a book which gives both a musical and personal insight into the four group members plus their entourage. Not only is it easy to read, but you also find out extra mad pieces of info, such as where the wilderbeest impressions come from on London Calling, or how the author listened to the album decked out in gaffer tape! Loads of useless but funny tales on the antics of everyone. Very balanced too, he definately hasn't written nostalgically, stories about the band and their mates come over as a fair of the good times and the bad ones. Excellent read for any Clash fan who has read all the other books. Even though he was a journalist the author was trusted by Joe Strummer et al giving the book even more credence. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Not only is music journalist, DJ and musician Kris Needs' 2004 'tribute' to Joe Strummer and The Clash a brilliantly detailed (and personal) account of one of music's (not just punk's) most charismatic and talented front men but, for anyone whose paths crossed with the man's music (either live or on record) it should also prove to be an irresistible aide memoire to what (for me, at least) was far and away the most exciting period in contemporary music history. And, whilst those heady days between 1976 and 1981 (approx) also spawned many other compelling bands - from the 'comic-book' brilliance of the Pistols and Damned, through the 65p Marquee Generation X gigs to the more 'refined' singles brilliance of The Jam (the target of a good deal of ire in Needs' account) - there was no-one that quite blended relevance, style, songs and just raw excitement as 'The Westway's finest' and no single individual presented such down-to-earth, honest commitment as Strummer (even right up to the band's planned reunion gig at the Hall Of Fame ceremony, weeks before the man's untimely death, still trying to 'wangle in' fans on the cheap).

Of course, Needs, being a massive fan of the band, does tend at times to hyperbole, but I can't help agreeing with him most of the time! That said, the author (and indeed his multifarious contributors) also acknowledges the band's 'failings' - Joe's intense personal focus at the expense of everything else (leading to his much regretted decision to 'sack' Mick from the band), Mick's mercurial 'rock star obsession', Paul's 'go with the flow' aloofness and Topper's tragic saga of addiction.
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Format: Paperback
This book is about as objective as something written by someone so close to the band can get. Needs forgives some of the band's missteps but he ain't afraid to highlight foibles. There's a lot in here about the author himself but his affiliation with the group-- and involvement in side projects-- means this is more than appropriate.

There are a few misspelt words suggesting a final sub might have been useful. They don't ruin the overall text. The only real complaint is the omission of any detailed information about Mick Jones' massive comeback via BAD II, with the 'Rush' single and the attendant album. Other Jones projects get big wraps-- including BAD stuff-- but 'Rush' is mentioned in passing. Yes, it's a book focusing on Strummer but Needs does spend a lot of time on Mick elsewhere in the book. And given that the Nineties was a period of false starts for Joe, the missing paragraphs are puzzling-- especially as Mick was finding an audience by sampling his own 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' for 'The Globe'. Instead we get a lot of detail about Joe's late nights with people who made promises to collaborate which came to nothing or ended up in tears.

Anyway, it IS a book focusing on Strummer so what the hey. It's still a great book, and easily the best I've read on The Clash.
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