Legendary Clash frontman Joe Strummer was born in Ankara, Turkey.
Born as John Graham Mellor to nurse Anna Mackenzie and British diplomat Ronald Mellor, Strummer spent much of his early life travelling through various countries with his family. When he was 9, the family settled in England and Strummer began attending the City of London Freemen’s School in Surrey. It was here that Strummer began to develop an interest in rock music; like many children of his generation, he would listen to early US rock stars such as Little Richard and The Beach Boys.
By 1973, Strummer had moved to Wales and was studying at Newport College of Art. He soon dropped out, but while in Wales he formed his first band, The Vultures, with a small group of friends. For a year or so, Strummer would juggle his duties as guitarist and part time singer for the band with his other job as a gravedigger. After the breakup of The Vultures in 1974, Strummer returned to London and formed another band with his new roommates. Called The 101’ers, the band gigged extensively around London pubs, and in 1975 Strummer adopted the stage name he would become famous by. He apparently took the name as a self-deprecating reference to his limited rhythm guitar playing, which was a result of him learning to play right-handed despite being naturally left-handed. The 101’ers released a Strummer-penned track entitled ‘Keys To Your Heart’ as their debut single.
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