The Clash: London Calling
Museum of London
15 November 2019 – 19 April 2020
When The Clash’s third album ‘London Calling’ was released in the winter of 1979 it was clear that the band had made an instant classic, an era-defining masterpiece which still stands as one of rock’s all-time greatest albums.
To celebrate this truly London work, the Museum of London will showcase a collection of items from The Clash’s personal archive including notes, clothing, images and music, many previously unseen, in The Clash: London Calling, a free exhibit opening on 15th November.
‘London Calling’ was and is a hugely compelling melting pot of musical styles, driven by a passion for action and a fierce political anger, with music and lyrics which remain as relevant today as they were on release. As well as showcasing influences and context for the writing and recording of the seminal double album, this new exclusive exhibit at the Museum of London will also examine how the capital influenced The Clash as they became the most popular British band of the 20th century.
To reflect the band’s diverse range of political, emotional and musical interests a broad range of items will be on show, including:
• Paul Simonon’s broken Fender Precision Bass. The 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
• A handwritten album sequence note by Mick Jones showing the final and correct order for the four sides of the double album ‘London Calling’
• One of Joe 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’
• Joe Strummer’s typewriter used to document ideas, lyrics and other writings
• Topper Headon’s drum sticks, which are the only remaining items of Headon’s that remain 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. Prior to this, on 11th October 2019 in line with National Album Day, Sony Music will issue the London Calling album, on cd and vinyl in a special sleeve highlighting the layers of the iconic artwork by Pennie Smith and Ray Lowry.
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 15 November 2019 and will be free to view. Its closing in Spring 2020 will be shortly followed by the opening of a brand new display exploring London’s relationship with Dub music and culture as part of its Soundclash season at the Museum of London.
Notes for editors
For more press information please contact Emily Brazee, Media Officer at the Museum of London on 020 7814 5502/ 077 1356 5805 or [email protected]
About The Clash
Formed in West London in 1976, The Clash is the most influential band to spring out of the UK punk movement. The classic line up of the band is Joe Strummer on vocals and guitar, Mick Jones also on vocals and guitar, Nick Topper Headon on drums and Paul Simonon on bass. Highly prolific, they released five albums between ’79 and ’82, being The Clash (’77), Give ‘Em Enough Rope (’79), London Calling (double album ’79), Sandinista (triple album ’80) and Combat Rock (’82): see more info at www.theclash.com
About The Museum of London
The Museum of London tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000 BC to the present day. Our galleries, exhibitions, displays and activities seek to inspire a passion for London and provide a sense of the vibrancy that makes the city such a unique place.
The museum is open daily 10am – 6pm and is FREE to all, and you can explore the Museum of London with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more being added. www.museumoflondon.org.uk.