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Bass smashed by The Clash’s Paul Simonon in ‘London Calling’ cover photo going on display at London museum

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Sony Music Entertainment

An instrument featured on one of the most iconic album covers of the punk-rock era, The Clash‘s London Calling, will go on permanent display at the Museum of London on July 23.

The Clash’s Paul Simonon has indefinitely loaned the museum the Fender Precision bass that he smashed at a September 1979 concert by his legendary band at the New York City venue The Palladium.

A photo snapped by Pennie Smith of Simonon smashing the bass at the end of the show wound up on the cover of the British rockers’ classic album, which was released in December of ’79 in the U.K. and January 1980 in the U.S.

The bass previously was featured in the popular “The Clash: London Calling” exhibit that ran from from November 2019 to September 2020 at the Museum of London and celebrated the 40th anniversary of the album.  The instrument now will go on display indefinitely in the museum’s World City gallery, and it eventually will be displayed at the facility’s planned new location in London’s West Smithfield section.

“We’re thrilled to have Paul Simonon’s Fender Precision bass on long-term loan,” says Museum of London curator Beatrice Behlen. “A seminal piece of music history, the moment the bass was smashed was immortalised on The Clash’s seminal album London Calling, a rallying call for Londoners and people around the world.”

She adds, “We are aware that many were unable to see the guitar as part of our exhibition The Clash: London Calling in 2020 due to coronavirus, so we are pleased to provide a second opportunity to see it.”

Free tickets to view the World City gallery can be reserved at MuseumofLondon.org.uk.

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