London Calling (1979)
The classic London Calling album cover photograph. It is one of the most famous photographs in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. It is not cheap, but sometimes the good stuff has to hurt a little.
The photograph shows Paul Simonon about to smash up his bass during a show at The Palladium, New York City on 21 September 1979. It is an acclaimed shot, receiving the ultimate accolade from Q Magazine by being voted the best rock and roll photograph of all time. Pennie had accompanied The Clash throughout their 1979 US tour, and very nearly didn’t attend this particular concert. In the end she chose to turn down the offer to go out with friends and ended up stage right at The Palladium. The band were used to getting a big response from their US audiences, but not on this night – The Palladium had fixed seating. Paul’s frustration turned to anger, and then he lost it completely. His watch stopped at 9.50pm. Later, when it was time to choose an image for the cover of London Calling, the band spent a long time pouring over hundreds of Pennie’s photographs from the tour. Joe Strummer saw this shot on the contact sheet and said “That one”.