Strummer had approached the Ramones after seeing them play in 1976, worried that his band's musicianship was still too rough for them to begin performing.
Johnny added, "We stink, really. But it's great."
Johnny Ramone, who died at 55 on September 15th, made the obituary columns everywhere, but none I read - and I saw a few - were better than the full-page one in the current Economist.
Here it is.
Johnny Ramone (John Cummings), a punk rocker, died on September 15th, aged 55
By the middle of the 1970s, popular music had changed.
The punchy bubblegum sound of the 1960s was gone.
Instead the scene was dominated by musicians who wanted to elevate rock to the status of high art, with concept albums, rock operas and overblown guitar solos.
A typical track from the Sixties might be four minutes long; by the mid-1970s, ten minutes or more was not unusual.
Many fans despaired, feeling that rock had become bloated, pompous and pretentious.
The counterblast began on August 16th 1974, in front of a tiny crowd in a seedy New York bar called CBGB.
Four young men - Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramon - walked on stage.
The concert they gave was shambolic; they spent as much time shouting at each other as playing.
But they improved rapidly, and it soon became clear they had hit on something.
Dressed in ripped jeans, trainers and leather jackets (a uniform carefully modelled on the gear worn by New York rent-boys), the Ramones were the antithesis of the art-house pretension in which much of rock had lost itself.
Their formula was simple: no synthesisers, chamber orchestras or tedious showing off, just simple three-chord progressions wrapped in two-minute slices of buzzing guitar.
They belted out catchy, rapid-fire songs on the usual topics: teenage boredom, mental instability, drugs and disappointed love.
Their message was a liberating one: you didn't have to be a virtuoso to make music.
Anybody could do it, and technical skill was less important than having a good time and putting on a show for your fans.