Everyone knows the image of Paul Simonon destroyed his Fender Precision at a gig in New York in 1979, The image was captured forever by Pennie Smith. The moment was used for the cover of the band’s third album, ‘London Calling’. Smith originally didn’t like the shot as she has said it was too blurry but the band loved it and the rest is history. Going on to be ranked the greatest rock photo of all time.
Now, the Precision will be displayed at the Museum of London as part of an exhibition of more than 100 personal items, some previously unseen, all taken from the band’s archive.
Strummer’s notebook from the period as well as the typewriter he used to note his ideas and lyrics will also be on show, Mick Jones’ contributes handwritten album sequencing notes and Topper Headon’s drumsticks will be on display.
“That frustrated me to the point that I destroyed this bass guitar,” he said in an interview with Fender in 2011. “Unfortunately you always sort of tend to destroy the things you love.”
But the musician made sure he gathered the pieces of the guitar to keep. This exhibition promises to be an amazing experience for fans of the band and music fans in general.
Beatrice Behlen, the senior curator of fashion and decorative arts at the Museum of London, said the venue tells “the stories of our capital through the objects and memories of the people who have lived here”.
She continued: “This display will provide a brand new, exciting and vibrant take on this, showcasing rarely seen personal objects and telling the incredible story of how London Calling was, and for many still is, the sound of a generation.”
The Clash: London Calling, a free exhibit, runs at the Museum Of London from 15 November 2019 to spring 2020.