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The Clash: London Calling at The Museum of London


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The Museum of London currently has a free exhibit that celebrates the making of the seminal album by the Clash, London Calling. Here's what museum-goers will find there.

The Clash: London Calling @ The Museum of London
The Museum of London features displays that chronicle the city's history from prehistoric times through the current day, and right now the museum is hosting a special exhibit that focuses on a time when London was really rocking. We're talking about 1979, when The Clash were busy redefining punk rock with the release of their now seminal album London Calling.

Overall London Calling was the third release from The Clash, an effort that is looked upon today as an era-defining masterpiece and one of rock's all-time great albums. Presented in the The Clash: London Calling exhibit are more than 150 items from the band's personal archives including notes, clothing, music and images, many of which are previously unseen. The items selected for display are meant to reflect the band's diverse range of political, emotional and musical interests, and include things like:

-Paul Simonon's broken Fender Precision bass that was damaged on stage at The Palladium in New York City on Sept. 20, 1979 (Simonon smashed it on the floor out of frustration.)

-One of Joe Strummer's notebooks from 1979, the period when London Calling was rehearsed and recorded. The notebook is open at a page showing lyrics for the song "Ice Age," which would become the lyrics for "London Calling."

-Topper Headon's drum sticks, which are one of the only remaining items of Headon's from this time.

-The 1950s Fender Esquire guitar used by Joe Strummer during the recording of the album.

-A handwritten album sequence note by Mick Jones showing the final and correct order for the four sides of the double album.

-Photographs by Pennie Smith featured on the two inner record sleeves of London Calling and taken during The Clash's 'Take the 5th' tour of North America in Sept. and Oct. 1979, printed and shown for the first time.

-Original drafts, many never before seen, from cartoonist and artist Ray Lowry's sketchbooks including the preliminary and final drafts of the artwork for the London Calling album.

-Quotes and personal accounts from the members of the band, filmmaker and longtime friend of the band Don Letts, and other voices from the time.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Sony Music has released "London Calling Scrapbook," a 120-page hardback companion piece to the CD that contains handwritten notes, lyrics, photos and previously-unseen material from the period when the record was made. An anniversary edition of London Calling is also available on vinyl. The Clash: London Calling is curated by The Clash archivist Robert Gordon McHarg III, The Clash and Beatrice Behlen of Museum of London. The free exhibit will be on view through April 19, 2020.

For more information on The Clash: London Calling and the Museum of London go here

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