It seems only yesterday that the landmark LP London Calling by the Clash turned 25, an event celebrated by a re-release of the album with new video and footage. On December 13, London Calling is turning 30 this time. And at the ripe age of 30, the Clash turns archaeological. The anniversary will be marked by the auctioning of the Clash’s original art work, the classic album cover with Paul Simonon smashing his Fender Precision bass on stage at the New York Palladium. There’s lots to say about Simonon’s instruments, including a Rickenbacker given to him by Patti Smith, but basically the white Fender Precision was iconic. The 1979 image contains its own archaeology, namely, The Who smashing their instruments in the 1965 performance of My Generation at the Beat Club, as well as, Sid Vicious hitting an audience member with his own Fender Precision bass. The bass that Simonon smashed in the photo had been newly bought in 1979. Simonon regretted destroying this instrument because it proved to be one of his best sounding ones. The very bass has become a relic and it now resides at the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. You can read the entire history of Simonon’s 11 basses (scroll down to Paul Simonon Bass Story 1976-2008 here ).
At any rate, Bonhams auction house is selling the original London Calling art work by Ray Lowry valued at $100,000 (Sale 16905 Lot 26), and two autographed photos valued at $500 and $300 (Sale 16905, Lot 293 & 294). Ray Lowry, unfortunately, passed away in 2008. After the dissolution of the Clash, by the way, Paul Simonon has turned to a career in painting.