Strummer Timeline: Diplomat's Son Turned Punk Icon

Just because The Clash were set to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next March, don't believe the speculation that they eventually would have ever gotten back together and toured.

"No, it's never true," Strummer told ABCNEWS Radio last year, as Clash reunion rumors simmered, as they have since they broke up 15 years ago.

"When they talk about offers, what they mean is a promoter offers you a certain — say a million dollars — to do a specific number of shows … Presumably, he makes several more million than the group does."

‘We Wouldn’t Accept Money’ The only way The Clash would get back together for a tour, Strummer said, was if the band had something to say. "We wouldn't accept any money off a promoter. We'd try and make a record," he said.

"And if you had a record in you, and you recorded one, then you could feel justified about going out and touring again … that's the only way around we'd ever do it."

Rock stars wax poetic when it comes to integrity, shortly before launching their umpteenth farewell tour. But few have ever refused royalties to make sure their fans could afford their albums, as The Clash did.

Here's a look at Strummer's singular journey through popular music as a grandaddy of punk rock. Anarchy in the U.K.

1952: Strummer, the son of a British diplomat, is born John Mellor in Ankara, Turkey.

1974-1976: Strummer performs as front man for the 101ers, a pub rock group.

1976: Mick Jones, formerly of London SS, forms The Clash, with Paul Simonon, an art school student who has never played before, but learns the bass. The band grows to include guitarist Keith Levene and drummer Terry Chimes.

Bernie Rhodes becomes the band's manager, introducing Strummer to Jones.

The Clash joins the Sex Pistols on the controversial, "Anarchy in the U.K." tour.

1977: The Clash release their self-titled first record, a milestone in punk history, featuring songs "White Riot," "Career Opportunities," and "I'm So Bored With The U.S.A." It reaches No. 12 on the U.K. charts.

1978: With no U.S. label to support them, the Clash nevertheless become a sensation in North America, selling an unprecedented 100,000 albums as import.

Working with Blue Oyster Cult producer Sandy Perlman, the band produces Give 'Em Enough Rope. Once the ultimate outsiders, the Clash now have a major, six-figure recording contract, though band members have ongoing scuffles with the law.

The new album debuts at No. 2 on the British charts (behind the soundtrack from Grease), and the group appears in The Punk Rock Movie.

A legal battle begins as Rhodes is fired as manager. A court grants him 20 percent of the band's income. Living ‘Like a Bum’ 1979: The Clash reaches a creative milestone with London Calling, a double album priced as a single album, that debuts in the Top Ten.

They tour the U.S., with legend Bo Diddley as their opening act for some gigs, kicking off shows with "I'm So Bored With the U.S.A." The show also features their version of Bobby Fuller's "I Fought the Law (And the Law Won)."

1980: The Clash's Sandinista!, named for the leftist revolutionaries in Nicaragua. The group's most sophisticated production to date featured overdubs and flourishes of gospel and calypso.

The band defers royalties to keep the price down. But the sprawling effort is criticized.

In Hamburg, Germany, a show is stopped and Strummer is arrested after hitting a fan with his guitar.

A quasi-documentary, Rude Boy offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Clash through the eyes of a roadie.

1981: Dissention within the band grows as Strummer rehires Rhodes.

1982: The Clash reconfirm their commercial viability with Combat Rock, which features their two biggest hits, "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" and "Rock The Casbah."

Strummer disappears for three weeks, forcing the band to cancel their U.K. tour. Strummer later explains he had had doubts about his career, so he went to Paris where he tried "living like a bum."

1983: Strummer and Simonon fire Jones. They hire new guitarists, Vince White and Nick Sheppard, and a new drummer, Pete Howard.

1985: The new Clash lineup releases Cut the Crap, a commercial and critical disaster. Mick Jones resurfaces with Big Audio Dynamite. Global A Go-Go

1986: The Clash officially disbands. Strummer works on the soundtrack to Sid And Nancy. He later reunites with Jones for the second Big Audio Dynamite album.

1989: Strummer plays a supporting role in Jim Jarmusch's cult classic Mystery Train, and releases a solo record, Earthquake Weather.

1990 to 1998: Strummer divides his time among several projects. He joins Irish rockers the Pogues, reunites with Mick Jones to producer Big Audio Dynamite's greatest hits, and works on various film projects, acting and recording soundtracks.

1998: Strummer works with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, recording, "It's a Rockin' World" for the South Park album, Chef Aid.

1999: Strummer returns with Global A Go Go, his first solo recording in a decade.

1999-2002: Strummer forms a new band, The Mescaleros, and tours with them in Britain. He had been working on a third album at the time of his death.

Shortly before his passing, Strummer had collaborated with Bono of U2 and Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics on a song in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Titled "48864," Mandela's number in prison, the song is to be played Feb. 2, at an AIDS benefit concert.

In March 2003, Strummer and his Clash band mates were due to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. ABCNEWS Radio contributed to this report.

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