In 1979, a truly remarkable album landed on the figurative doorsteps of the world, it was The Clash’s London Calling and it became an instant classic. The album remains a genre-spanning definitive album of modern music and now it’s getting an exhibit at the Museum of London.
The Museum of London will showcase a collection of items from The Clash’s personal archive including draft lyrics, stage clothes, photos and films, giving new insight into their recording process and the making of their seminal record. The Clash: London Calling, which includes previously unseen items, is a free exhibit, opening on 15th November running to Spring 2020.
Items on show include:
Joe Strummer’s notebook
One of Strummer’s notebooks from 1979, the period when the album London Calling was rehearsed and recorded. Open at page showing Ice Age, which was to become lyrics for the song London Calling
Paul Simonon’s broken bass guitar
Simonon’s Fender Precision Bass was damaged on stage at The Palladium in New York City on 21st September 1979, as Simonon smashed it on the floor in an act of spontaneous and complete frustration.
Handwritten album sequence note by Mick Jones
Handwritten list of songs, placed here in correct order for the 4 sides of the double album London Calling
Joe Strummer’s typewriter
As a prolific writer, Strummer used this typewriter to document ideas, lyrics and other writings
Topper Headon’s drum sticks
The only remaining item of Headon’s which remains from this time
To coincide with the opening of the exhibit, on 15th November, Sony Music will release the London Calling Scrapbook – a 120-page hardback companion which comes with the album on cd and contains hand-written lyrics, notes, photos and previously unseen material from the period when the record was made.
The Clash: London Calling is curated by Robert Gordon McHarg III with The Clash and Beatrice Behlen of the Museum of London.
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. At the Museum of London, we tell the stories of our capital through the objects and memories of the people who have lived here. 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 will open 15th November 2019 and will be free to enter.