60 Years of Mick Jones: His Biggest Hits Outside of The Clash
Today marks the 60th birthday of Mick Jones, the iconic guitarist for The Clash, one of the most influential punk bands of all time. You know the songs: "White Riot," "I Fought The Law," "London's Burning," and more. The thing is...the guitarist has been fairly detached from the band that made him famous for more than 30 years and it's unlikely that he'll be celebrating his sixth decade of existence by jamming on The Clash. Therefore Music Times went through the rest of his music catalogue to find singles that he created with acts aside from his signature band. If you haven't discovered Mick Jones outside of The Clash, you haven't truly discovered Mick Jones. Check out where else he's turned up:
"Tenderness" by General Public (1984)
Those uninformed in the history of The Clash might be shocked to find out that Jones, upon being fired from The Clash in 1983, found his next musical outlet in a new wave group. Those same people probably never actually listened to London Calling to know that the band borrowed from a wide variety of genres, rather than stick to the Sex Pistols-tropes of punk. General Public was a group founded largely around Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger, vocalists for the band The Beat. Among the other musicians who chipped in to the group's debut album All The Rage were Mickey Billignham of Dexys Midnight Runners and Horace Panter of The Specials. Roughly half the tracks on the album included Jones on guitar, including "Tenderness," the single that would rise to no. 27 on the Hot 100.
"Rush" by Big Audio Dynamite II
All the flavor sampling that went on as part of The Clash was resurrected bigger and BADder as part of Big Audio Dynamite, an alternative rock/fusion band created by Jones that strove dramatically to live up to its explosive name. One rendition of Big Audio Dynamite came and went and then the band reached its popular peak during 1991 under the second installment. Somewhat ironically, part of the success that greeted single "Rush" was because of its packaging with The Clash's "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" when that hit was rereleased in the UK. The song sampled from a wide range of eras and genres, incorporating everything from The Who's "Baba O'Reilly" to the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." Listeners ate it up, raising the track to no. 1 in the UK and Australia, as well as no. 1 on the U.S. modern rock charts.
"Plastic Beach" by The Gorillaz (2010)
It's somewhat a testament to the cultural power of The Gorillaz that the former guitarist for The Clash once toured with them as an instrumentalist and hardly anyone realized it. Of course, it didn't help his cause that the band's third album, Plastic Beach, was just filled to the brim with guest musicians. Damon Albarn was joined for the project by Snoop Dogg, De La Soul, Bobby Womack, Mos Def, Lou Reed and a plenitude of others. Therefore it somehow escaped fan awareness that Mick Jones and Paul Simonon (the bassist from The Clash) both performed together on the title track from the album. Despite only partaking in one song, the pair joined the band on the road and made appearances at Coachella and Glastonbury, among other festivals. Can you imagine what Glastonbury would have done if the pair had broken character and played a Clash track?
"Reboot The Mission" by The Wallflowers (2012)
This is one of the more obscure singles that perhaps only the most dedicated of Mick Jones fans will recognize. The Wallflowers are best known for featuring Jakob Dylan—son of Bob—at the fore, and the group had gone more than seven years between albums at the time when Glad All Over came out during 2012. Jones helped write and play on two songs for the set, including first single "Reboot The Mission" (and he also contributed to "Misfits and Lovers."
"Now Or Never" by Rachid Taha (2013)
Rachid Taha is a world music vocalist worth checking out and there are few better starting places than his 2013 album Zoom, as it combines modern rock 'n' roll with the Raï folk music of his Algerian homeland. Those promoting the album had to know that his version of an American classic, "Now or Never" by Elvis Presley, would go over better with a Western audience than some of the album's less Anglo-inclined songs. Jones jumped to play guitar for the album, and Brian Eno appears elsewhere (albeit not on "Now Or Never").