The original album cover artwork by Ray Lowry for 'London Calling' by the Clash,
December 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of this now-iconic album. Released in the UK on 14th December 1979, the band's third album was both a critical and commercial success at the time and has subsequently featured in many 'Best...' and 'Greatest...' lists and polls.
The album was recorded in London during August-September 1979, just prior to the 'Clash Take The Fifth' US tour. Photographer Pennie Smith and artist Ray Lowry accompanied the band and it was during their appearance at The Palladium, NYC, on 21st September, that Smith took the cover photograph of Paul Simonon smashing his guitar. The photographer originally felt the image not good enough to be used, but Lowry thought otherwise, and the following years have shown what an inspired choice that was. In 2002 'Q' magazine voted it the best rock and roll photograph of all time.
Ray Lowry (1946-2008) first met the band in 1976. The artist saw the raw energy of the Clash, the Sex Pistols and other punk bands as a perfect match to that expressed in the 1950s' rock and roll that he loved. Some of the sketches in this lot clearly show Lowry's original, and very different, concept for the album cover but it was Smith's grainy black and white photograph, capturing in a split second the spirit of rock music, that suggested to Lowry the imagery used on Elvis Presley's debut album, and its pink and green lettering.
The album's many plaudits include: No. 14, 100 Best Albums Of The Last Twenty Years, 'Rolling Stone', 1987 No. 1, 100 Best Albums Of The Eighties, 'Rolling Stone', 1989 No. 6, The Greatest Albums Of The 70s, 'NME', 1993 No. 4, 100 Greatest British Albums, 'Q', 1999 No. 8, 100 Greatest Albums Of All Time, 'Rolling Stone', 2003
In 2007 the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame.