The cover of The Clash album “London Calling” is considered one of the best album covers of all time. It’s a blurry photo of Paul Simonon smashing his bass on the stage of The Palladium in New York City on September 21, 1979 during “The Clash Take the Fifth” US tour.
The photo was taken by Pennie Smith who didn’t want the photograph to be used because she thought it was out of focus.
The bass Simonon smashed during the final song of the night “White Riot” was his White Fender Precision Bass with a distinctive black pick-guard with paint-mess. a skull and bones sticker and a sticker with the word PRESSURE. Here are some photos of Paul playing the “smashed” bass.
Simonon regretted smashing the bass as it was his best sounding one and was used for the recording of the “London Calling” album. He said,
“The show had gone quite well but for me inside, it just wasn’t working well, so I suppose I took it out on the bass. If I was smart, I would have got the spare bass and used that one, because it wasn’t as good as the one I smashed up.”
It is now on display at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame….
Here’s a chip off of the pick-guard that was auctioned off in 2010…
And finally, the famous guitar was on display in September of 2013 at Black Market Clash Exhibition in London. Here is a great photo of the guitar…
There is no video footage of Simonon smashing the bass but here is some kick ass footage of The Clash live at The Palladium that night.
Cool Fact: The lettering used on the cover artwork to “London Calling” was done as a tribute to Elvis Presley’s debut album…