A new exhibition marking the 40th anniversary of The Clash’s ‘London Calling’ is coming to the capital

Items on display include Joe Strummer's early notebook and Paul Simonon's broken bass guitar.

A new exhibition celebrating The Clash is coming to London this autumn.

Marking the fortieth anniversary of the band’s seminal third album, ‘London Calling’, the exhibition will run at the Museum of London from November 15 2019 until Spring 2020 and will be free for fans to enter.

Featuring previously unseen early draft lyrics, stage clothes, photos and films, the exhibition aims to give “a new insight into their recording process and the making of ‘London Calling.'”


Some of the items on show at the exhibition include Joe Strummer’s note book with early lyrics to ‘London Calling’ and Paul Simonon’s broken bass guitar after the musician famously smashed his guitar on stage with The Clash at The Palladium in New York City.

The exhibition will also include some handwritten album sequence notes by Mick Jones, Strummer’s typewriter and Topper Headon’s drum sticks – the only item of Headon’s that remains from this time.

The Clash

Speaking about the exhibition, 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.”

Joe Strummer; The Clash; London Calling
An early draft of the lyrics to ‘London Calling’ can be seen at the exhibition


Paul Simonon; The Clash
Paul Simonon’s broken bass guitar can also be seen at the exhibition

Coinciding with the exhibition is a new book release, the London Calling Scrapbook which will contain hand-written lyrics, notes, photos and previously unseen material from the period when the album was made. The book will also come with a copy of the album on CD.

On October 11 for National Album Day, the ‘London Calling’ album will also be re-released on CD, vinyl and cassette, in a special sleeve.

Last year, Simonon released a new album with The Good, The Bad & The Queen, his supergroup with Damon Albarn, The Verve’s Simon Tong and Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen.

In a review of the album, ‘Merrie Land,’ NME said: “The British identity is once again pulled into focus by the group. It’s not the first album that’ll reference Brexit, […] but few will silently despair quite like the muddled ‘Merrie Land’ does.

“There are references to leaders who are “disconnected and raised up in mansions”, but if you’ve come for on-the-nose commentary, you’ll likely not find it here.”