Paul Simonon’s trashed P-bass to be displayed at the Museum of London

(Image credit: Pennie Smith)

The Museum of London is celebrating 40 years of The Clash’s 1979 classic album London Calling with an exhibition opening on 15 November.

On display will be a cornucopia of ephemera from The Clash Archive including draft lyrics, stage clothes, archive photography and documentary footage that goes behind the band's creative process. Joe Strummer’s typewriter and lyrics notepad will sit alongside Topper Headon’s drum-sticks. But it’s Paul Simonon’s comprehensively trashed Fender Precision bass guitar that really grabs the imagination.

(Image credit: The Clash Archive)

Simonon famously totalled his bass at the Palladium in New York City after taking exception to security staff stopping the audience from standing. Penny Smith captured the moment of impact on camera and the photo ended up on the cover of London Calling.

Sony will release a deluxe CD reissue of London Calling on 11 October 2019, which will be followed by the 120-page hardback London Calling Scrapbook, which will be released to coincide with the exhibition and contains a CD copy of the album along with hand-written lyrics, notes, photos and previously unseen material.

The Clash: London Calling opens on 15 November 2019 and admission is free.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.

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