On September 20, 1979, the photographer Pennie Smith He captured with his 35-millimeter Pentax camera one of the most iconic images in the history of contemporary music. In one of the presentations that The Clash offered in the New York Palladium, as part of his tour “Take the 5th” for the United States, the British photographer captured the moment when the bassist, Paul Simonon, destroyed his bass Fender Precision cream-colored, decorated with a pirate skull, an intervention in the style of Jackson Pollock and the inscription “Pressure”, a mantra taken from Toots & The Maytals.
The black and white image captured the cathartic moment in which Simonon, in an extremely reactionary and punk gesture, reacted inadvertently to the tepid audience the band was performing in front of that night. A few months later that would be the image that would accompany the cover of the band’s third album London Calling, released December 1979. Smith’s out-of-focus photograph accompanied the pink and green typeface, inspired by his debut album. Elvis presley, was immortalized forever in our collective imagination and the instrument was consecrated as a relic of the rock canon.
Four decades later, Simonon’s bass hit the Museum of london as part of an exhibition to celebrate 40 years since the launch of London Calling, in a retrospective that housed the band’s memorabilia and part of the guitarist’s archives Mick Jones. The third album of The Clash It is considered one of the fundamental pieces of punk for the way in which it conjured musical eclecticism and is a favorite of the lists of the best albums in rock history. In one of their most mature works, the band made up of Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Nicky ‘Topper’ Headon, mixed the sounds of punk, reggae, rockabilly, jazz, ska with lyrics that dealt with the dark ages of the Margaret Thatcher, nuclear cataclysms, vicious neo-fascist gangs and urban violence in an England in crisis.
The Museum of london announced that this historic instrument will be permanently housed within its walls as a new relic of British royalty as part of the gallery World City. The iconic low Fender Precision will be on loan from Simonon and The Clash and will join a collection that includes the Roman mosaics from Bucklesbury from 250 AD and rediscovered in the 19th century; the westminster panels —A series of medieval religious works from the 15th century — plus a long list of historical treasures and objects from the British crown. Simonon’s bass will also have its place in the museum’s new headquarters in West Smithfield, once the museum moves from its current premises.
The galery World City, focused on the period from 1951 to the present, houses contemporary objects that show the transformation that the United Kingdom underwent after the Second World War. The fashion of Swinging London, the scooters that characterized the youth mod of the sixties, fashion inspired by the Liverpool Quartet are some of the cultural objects that help us to connect the historical and musical background of this new relic of the era of punk.
The music of The Clash It was a musical force that rocked in all corners of the world. The songs that Strummer, Jones, Simonon and Headon created made us see that it was easy to make a rock band to try to change the world. Along the way, he has encouraged us to think in a different world, to embrace musical diversity and his music gave us the possibility of wanting to inspire and change our environment.
The Clash continues to be the inspiration for thousands of new bands, writers, designers, dreamers. Almost half a century after breaking into the world, his music helped transform British culture and revolutionize our minds around the world.
Operations coordinator of El Economista online
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Paul Simonon’s bass and the Clash, a new British relic