The bass guitar will be on a par with Roman mosaics and altar paintings of the 15th century. How is this possible? It turns out that the London Museum has decided to expand its exposition and include in the list of its exhibits a bass guitar of the “Fender” brand, broken at the concert. This guitar belonged to Paul Simon and was broken by him in New York in 1979.
The cover for “London Calling” album captures the last moment of the guitar’s life, on which Paul Simonon violently slams the instrument against the floor. The picture went down in rock history. On September 20, 1979, the punk band “Clash” performed at the “Palladium Club” in New York. Frustrated by the stiffness of the audience, Simonon lifted the guitar over his head and hit his “Fender Precision” with all his might on the stage.
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Perhaps the musician’s act would have been completely forgotten if the English photographer Penny Smith, who was standing not far from the guitarist, had not captured this moment on camera.
“It happened by accident, I didn’t choose the frame to shoot,” Smith admitted to the Guardian in 2019. “It’s just that my finger pressed the button, that’s all.” Penny Smith recalled that Simonon was in a “really bad mood” during the performance. He later said it was an emotional reaction to a sluggish audience.
“Clash” frontman Joe Strummer selected Smith’s photograph for the cover of his 1979 “London Calling” album. A little later, the British music magazine “Q” named her the best rock ‘n’ roll photo of all time.