“The bouncers wouldn’t let the audience stand up. That frustrated me to the point that I destroyed my bass guitar”: The Clash's Paul Simonon reflects on that iconic London Calling moment

British Punk musician Paul Simonon, of the group the Clash, plays bass guitar as he performs onstage at the Capitol Theatre, Passaic, New Jersey, March 8, 1980.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Paul Simonon was a master of his instrument, with his grasp of reggae and rock that made his bass style unique, a fact duly noted on London Calling with its super-recognisable intro. An excellent Paul Simonon signature bassline – taken from the album of the same name – the attitude in the song’s instrumentation, and the obvious pop awareness in the songwriting, has made it an enduring classic.

Voted Album of the '80s by Rolling Stone magazine, the album cover also features one of punk's most iconic images – Paul Simonon ruthlessly driving his Fender bass guitar into the stage of the New York Palladium.

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.