See The Smashed-Up Guitar From The Clash's Iconic London Calling Album

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 20 months ago

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See The Smashed-Up Guitar From The Clash's Iconic London Calling Album
Paul Simonon's broken Fender Precision bass. The bass was damaged on stage at The Palladium in New York City on 2 September 1979, as Simonon smashed it on the floor.

Paul Simonon's smashed up bass guitar and one of Joe Strummer's lyric notebooks feature as part of an exhibition on London Calling by The Clash.

This winter marks 40 years since the London boundary-breaking punk band's third — and subsequently most lauded — album was released. From 15 November, Museum of London recalls this seminal moment in The Clash's history with a display of personal items, linked with those 'London Calling' days.

The Clash outside Wessex Studios during the recording of London Calling in 1979. Image: Pennie Smith

The highlight of the exhibition is surely Paul Simonon's Fender Precision bass, which he obliterated on stage in New York in 1979. This moment was captured on camera by Pennie Smith, and later used for the iconic cover for London Calling.

Elsewhere, visitors can ogle intimate photos of The Clash; the notebook in which the lyrics to the song London Calling were first scribbled; the typewriter which Joe Strummer was often to be found bashing out ideas on; and a rare pair of Topper Headon's drum sticks.

One of Joe Strummer’s notebooks from 1979, the period when the album London
Calling was rehearsed and recorded. It's open at the page showing Ice Age, which was to
become lyrics for the song London Calling
Topper Headon's drum sticks - the only remaining items of Headon’s that remain from this time

Beatrice Behlen, Senior Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts at the Museum of London, said:

London Calling is The Clash's defining album, a rallying call for Londoners and people around the world. The album’s lyrics reflected contemporary concerns, many of which are still relevant today, as it moved away from traditional punk by adopting and reworking much wider musical influences.

A handwritten album sequence note by Mick Jones showing the final and correct order for the four sides of the double album
The Clash on the London Calling video shoot, on the River Thames, 1979. Image: Pennie Smith

The Museum of London's Clash exhibition is followed in spring 2020 by a new display exploring London's relationship with dub music and culture.

Joe Strummer’s typewriter used to document ideas, lyrics and other writings

The Clash: London Calling is at Museum of London until 19 April. Entry is free

Last Updated 13 February 2020