Of course, Helen wished a happy birthday to Joe Strummer on Sunday, and I stumbled on this letter written by the late great musician as he was asked for his opinion about Bruce Springsteen in 1997 for a TV project ('Bruce Springsteen: A Secret History', broadcasted in 1998 on British television).
Strummer sent this fax to Mark Hagen with the heartfelt and funny declaration:
‘Bruce is great … if you don't agree with that, you're a pretentious Martian from Venus!’
And when Emily Eavis, the Glastonbury festival organizer, wanted to persuade Springsteen to appear, she got a little help from Strummer:
‘I did an eight-page document about the festival for Bruce with quotes from Joe included, I've never done anything like that for anyone before. It's going to be an amazing couple of hours.’
Springsteen of course returned the compliment, saying during a 2008 concert that Strummer was ‘one of the greatest rockers of all time’, and doing his version of ‘I Fought the Law’,… In 2009, he covered ‘Coma Girl’ at the Glastonbury festival, and has also played ‘London Calling’ numerous times….
But read the whole thing above…. It is a very sweet letter,….‘Bruce is not on an ego trip’,…. With such a letter, Strummer was making Springsteen his equal but many will tell you that nobody can be compared to Strummer, and that the Boss does not deserve so much reverence from the Clash frontman. The two men names in the same sentence may even make Helen vomit, and I bet Iman thinks Springsteen does not even deserve to sweep the dust from Joe Strummer’s shoes; this letter sure reveals more about Strummer than Springsteen.