Paul Simonon’s P-Bass, which he is seen smashing on the front of The Clash’s classic record London Calling, is to permanently join the collection of the Museum Of London.
The bass was previously displayed from 2019-2020 as part of a wider exhibition about The Clash, but it will now take its place among other new exhibits tracing London history. These include Bill And Ben string puppets, a Vespa scooter and the 28-inch-waist trunks that were worn by Tom Daley at the 2012 London Olympics.
The photograph that captured the P-Bass’ destruction was taken on 21 September 1979 at The Clash’s show at New York’s Palladium. In a 2011 interview with Fender, Simonon explained that he smashed the bass due to his annoyance with the bouncers prohibiting the audience from standing. The picture that would become the album cover was taken by photographer Pennie Smith, on a 35mm Pentax.
The news follows the launch of two guitars from Fender celebrating The Clash’s late frontman Joe Strummer: the Campfire Acoustic and the Joe Strummer Esquire. The Campfire Acoustic was inspired by the campfires that he held at Glastonbury Festival, now continued annually with the festival’s Strummerville area, while the Esquire is a recreation of Strummer’s guitar of choice during The Clash’s London Calling and Combat Rock era. It was recreated by Fender’s Jason Smith.