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BBC Arts share The Clash: London Calling documentary

The Clash in 1979
The Clash in 1979 (Image credit: Virginia Turbett/Redferns - Getty)

In November last year, the Museum Of London opened an exhibition dedicated to The Clash to mark the 40th anniversary of the London Calling album.

More than 100 items from the band’s archives were on display, including draft lyrics, stage-worn clothes, photographs and film footage which gave fans a fresh perspective into the making of the 1979 album.

BBC Arts are now showing a documentary about the exhibition, which also features archive film and is part of the channel’s Culture In Quarantine initiative.

The film can be watched through the BBC iPlayer here, but it’s only available to view in the UK.

The free exhibition was curated by Robert Gordon McHarg III with The Clash and senior curator of fashion and decorative arts at the Museum Of London Beatrice Behlen.

Speaking prior to the opening, Behlen 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.”

Among the items on display were Paul Simonon’s Fender Precision Bass which he famously smashed at The Palladium in New York City – a moment that was captured by photographer Pennie Smith and used on the iconic album cover, Joe Strummer's notebook from the year along with his typewriter, and the only remaining pair of Topper Headon’s drum sticks from the era. 

View some of the exhibits from The Clash: London Calling below.

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Handwritten track listing by Mick Jones

Handwritten track listing by Mick Jones (Image credit: The Clash)
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Joe Strummer's note book

Joe Strummer's note book (Image credit: Cabash Productions)
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Joe Strummer's typewriter

Joe Strummer's typewriter (Image credit: The Clash)
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Paul Simonon’s broken bass guitar

Paul Simonon’s broken bass guitar (Image credit: The Clash archive)