Without Joe Strummer, Eddie Vedder would have never found his way to Jack Irons, and subsequently Pearl Jam. During a show the Clash singer played in November 1989, Vedder ended up becoming Strummer’s right hand man during an unexpected power outage. The fateful case of right place, right time brought him together with Irons, who would later recommend him when Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament were looking for a fourth band member to join a band that would be known as Pearl Jam. Ahead of what would have been Strummer’s 70th birthday (Aug. 21), Vedder paid tribute to the musician who unknowingly changed his life with a cover of “Long Shadow.”
“Long Shadow” first appeared on Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros’ third studio album Streetcore. The record was released in 2003 as the band’s final project together following Strummer’s death from an unknown congenital heart defect in 2002.
In the live performance video, Vedder performs the song before a blazing fire. “I just think that what Joe did with the Mescaleros and those records, and those songs, and those words – it’s a very communal sound,” he says at the end of the recording. “The listener feels that they can just be part of that community. I can only imagine that he facilitated thousands and thousands of connections.”
Along with Vedder’s cover of “Long Shadow,” the celebration of Strummer’s 70th birthday also includes the arrival of a previously unreleased song, “Fantastic.” The track was recorded in early December 2002, just weeks before Strummer died, and not long after he and the Mescaleros played their final live show.
“Fantastic” will appear on the upcoming compilation, Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years, which is set to drop Sept. 16. The collection includes remastered editions of all three Mescaleros albums, plus 15 rare and unreleased tracks, including early demos and outtakes.