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Anniversary of anthem by The Clash marked with London Calling exhibition

There are music critics who argue that The Clash's third album 'London Calling' is one of rock's all-time greatest albums.

To mark the 40th anniversary of its release, the Museum of London is staging a free exhibition, The Clash: London Calling, featuring more than 150 items from the personal archives of the band's members.

The exhibition examines how the capital influenced The Clash as they became one of the most popular British bands of the 20th century.

Paul Simonon's bass guitar, smashed during a concert in New York Credit: The Clash

On show as part of the exhibition is a broken Fender Precision Bass belonging to Paul Simonon. The guitar was famously damaged when Simonon smashed it on the stage during a concert at The Palladium in New York City on September 20, 1979. He had become angry after bouncers refused to let the audience stand on their seats.

The event was captured by a photographer and became the basis for the album cover for the double album London Calling.

Preliminary sketch by Ray Lowery for the cover artwork of London Calling Credit: Samuel Lowry
The album cover using the picture taken by Pennie Smith Credit: The Clash

London Calling’ was The Clash’s defining album, a rallying call for Londoners and people around the world.

From deep-diving into the story of the seminal 1979 double album a few things continue to stand out: the breadth of musical styles that influenced the sound, how the lyrics reflected a moment in the city’s history whilst still resonating today and the close-knit working relationship of the band with creative collaborators.

These themes, alongside 150 rarely seen objects, will highlight the captivating story of an era defining moment in the capital’s history.

– Beatrice Behlen, Senior Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts at the Museum of London
Lords of Flatbush leather jacket worn by Paul Simonon circa 1979 Credit: The Clash
A set of working lyrics in Joe Strummer and Mick Jones' handwriting for the song The Card Cheat, 1979. Credit: The Clash
Handwritten album sequence note for London Calling by Mick Jones Credit: The Clash

The exhibition at the Museum of London opens on Friday, November 14, and is on until April 19 next year. Admission is free.

Outside Wessex Studios during the recording of London Calling 1979 Credit: Pennie Smith
The Clash Credit: Pennie Smith