May 25, 2011
The photographer Pennie Smith took a picture of Paul Simonon smashing his Fender Precision bass against the stage at The Palladium in New York City on 21 September 1979, during the "Clash Take the Fifth" US tour of The Clash.
The photograph went on to be used on the cover of the their "London Calling" album, but the photographer originally did not want the photograph to be used. She thought that it was too out of focus, but Joe Strummer and the graphic designer thought it would make a good album cover. In 2002, Smith's photograph received Q magazine’s "Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Photograph of All-Time" award in 2002, commenting that "it captures the ultimate rock'n'roll moment - total loss of control".
The cover artwork was designed by Ray Lowry and was a homage to the design of Elvis Presley's debut album. The cover named the ninth best album cover of all time by Q magazine in 2001.