Report: Clash Superfan Determined to Prove Correct Concert Date of ‘London Calling’ Cover Shot
It’s one of the most iconic photographs in rock history. The image of bassist Paul Simonon smashing his guitar on stage at the Palladium in the fall of 1979, which later appeared as the album art for The Clash’s seminal effort, London Calling.
However, one rabid fan now calls into question the date of said photograph – shot by Pennie Smith – maintaining that the guitar mutilation actually took place a day earlier than the September 21, 1979 date printed in the liner notes. Dave Marin was at the show a day before to witness the incident and still has the ticket stub to prove it. He also cobbled together audio proof in the video below…
The Wall Street Journal (subscription) investigated Marin’s seemingly futile quest to quite literally change the record (and liner notes). Nobody involved, from labels to photographer, seems to care about the potential error, though.
“I’ve been stewing about this for more than 35 years,” said Mr. Marin, now a 59-year-old retired salesman living in Pleasantville, N.Y. “That was my one and only guitar smash—I had a perfect view.”
To make his case for a date-change to Sept. 20, Mr. Marin, the Clash fan, produced a photo booklet outlining his evidence and mailed a copy to Pennie Smith, the famous rock photographer who took the guitar-smashing picture.
He followed up with an 11-minute, three-second YouTube video that showed ticket stub and recordings of the two Manhattan shows, one on Sept. 20 and one the next day, that Mr. Marin believes are being confused.
His video also showed photographs of Mr. Simonon’s bass guitars for each show— which don’t appear to be the same—and footage of portions of the Sept. 21 show. He even analyzed the band members’ attire.
So far, the surviving members of The Clash, Ms. Smith and Epic Records, which released “London Calling” in the U.S. and is today owned by Sony Music Entertainment, have “shown absolutely no interest,” despite his requests on social media and to Ms. Smith to correct the error, Mr. Marin lamented.
He plans to persist until the date is changed on future releases.
“It’s my life goal,” he said.