LONDON ROCK AND POP LOCATIONS
London is the music capital of the world and many of the greatest rock bands began their careers here.
In our guide to London’s Rock and Pop locations we look at places associated with the likes of the Rolling Stones, The Who, David Bowie, Eric Clapton and the Sex Pistols. We show you the locations where they began their careers, places that were an integral part of their stories, and we even look at where they lived and live. So roll up and step right this way for a magical mystery tour through London’s rock and pop history.
328 Grays Inn Road. Closest Tube: King’s Cross
Prior to 1985 this pub was called the Pindar of Wakefield.
It was here, in December 1962,that a young, and not yet famous, Bob Dylan gave one of his first English folk performances.
Later, On 4th October 1982 the Pogues played their first gig here. Oasis debut London performance also took place here on 27 January 1994.
The pub is now the headquarters of the Grand Order of Water Rats (hence the change of name), an entertainment charity and brotherhood, founded in 1889. Membership is limited to 200 famous figures from the field of entertainment. The current King Rat is Rick Wakeman, whilst Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh are Companion Rats – distinguished men from outside entertainment.
Royal Academy of Music
Marylebone Road. Closest Tube: Baker Street.
Founded 1822. Former students include Elton John and Annie Lennox.
35 Portland Place
Closest Underground Station: Oxford Circus or Regent’s Park.
Formerly the IBC studios. On 11th March 1963, Glyn Johns brought a group of young hopefuls here to record a few demo numbers. The demo disc they cut was sent to Decca Records who immediately signed them up. The group was The Rolling Stones. It was also here that The Who recorded My Generation. The studios were, at one stage, owned by Don Arden, Sharon Osborne's father. Other artists who recorded here included the Bee Gees, Elton John, Status Quo.
129 Kingsway. Nearest Tube - Holborn
In the 1960's the basement of this building was the Kingsway Studios, also known as the De Lane Lea Studio. The studio was founded in 1947 by Major De Lane Lea, a French intelligence attaché for the British Government. He founded the studios to dub English films in to French. The studios expanded significantly in the "swinging" '60s. In October 1963 the Rolling Stones recorded their second single, Lennon and McCartney's I Want To Be Be Your Man here. In May 1964 The Animals recorded House of the Rising Sun here. Jimi Hendrix also recorded Hey Joe here in October 1966.
The Lyceum Theatre
Wellington Street. Closest Tube: Temple
Now owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatre Group, from 1945 to the 1980's the Lyceum was one of London's major music and dance venues. In December 1969 John Lennon played his last concert in England here before emigrating to America. In July 1975 Bob Marley recorded his album Live! here which included the hit song No Woman No Cry. The Kinks song Come Dancing was an affectionate tribute to the Lyceum and poignantly remembered Ray Davies older sister Rene who died on the dance floor here of a heart attack on his thirteenth birthday. Earlier that day she had given him his first guitar as a present. In the late 1970's the Lyceum became a major Punk venue and the likes of the Sex Pistols used to appear here on Sunday nights. Nowadays the only spiky hair you are likely to see is on the lions in Lion King.
The Former St Martin's College
Of Art And Design
109 Charing Cross Road. Closest Tube: Tottenham Court Road.
The Sex Pistols performed their first gig here on 6th November 1975. At the time they were living in nearby Denmark Street, so they simply carried their equipment over the road! Their bass player Glen Matlock had been a student at the college, as had their manager Malcolm Mclaren, who had studied life-drawing here in 1963: until, that is, his mother objected to the nudes on display, whereupon he switched to studying graphics. The Sex Pistols gig wasn't a resounding success and the plug was pulled after just five numbers. But they had made their point. It was here that Johnny Rotten's old school friend, John Beverley (better known as Sid Vicious), began jumping up and down and created a dance that became known as Pogoing. Jarvis Cocker of Pulp and Sade were also students at the College.
The Former Selmer's Music Shop
114 – 116 Charing Cross Road. Closest Tube: Tottenham Court Road.
Before becoming Selmer’s this had been the Lew Davies store, a magnet for guitar heroes. Eric Clapton bought his first guitar here, as did Dave Davies of the Kinks (on hire purchase). Davies also worked at the store as an apprentice in the woodwind department. Mick Taylor, Brian Jones's replacement in the Rolling Stones, bought his first Les Paul guitar at the shop, which was sold to him by a young sales assistant by the name of Paul Kossoff who went on to become the lead guitarist with the group Free.
Closest Tube: Tottenham Court Road.
Known as London's Tin Pan Alley, this was the heart of the music business from the 1940's to the 1960's.
20 Denmark Street
Elton John's, or Reg Dwight as he then was, first job after leaving school was as an office boy with Mills Music, a publisher located at number 20. He worked here for 18 months on a salary of £4 per week.
9a Denmark Street
La Giaconda was a popular 60's hang out where the Small Faces were formed. Marc Bolan and David Bowie both hung out here.
6 – 8 Denmark Street
In the early days of Punk Rock the Sex Pistols lived in a small and squalid attic flat here and, in July 1976, recorded their first hits, Anarchy In The Uk and Pretty Vacant in a rehearsal room at the back of the building.
Regent Sound Studios
4 Denmark Street.
The Regent Sound Studios were one of the cheapest places for musicians to record their work in the early 1960's. It was here, between January 3rd and February 25th 1964, that the Rolling Stones recorded their first album, which included Buddy Holly's Not Fade Away. Other artists to use the studio were The Who, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, Mott the Hoople, Donovan and Black Sabbath, who recorded their hugely successful song and album Paranoid here.
150-153 Piccadilly. Nearest Tube - Green Park.
In March 1969 the newly weds Mr and Mrs Paul McCartney held their wedding reception here. Later Mick Jagger stayed at the Ritz from December 1978 to January 1979 since, as a tax exile, he couldn't reside at his house on Cheyne Walk in Chelsea.
23 Heddon Street, off Regent Street
Closest Tube - Oxford Circus
One night in January 1972 David Bowie, who at the time was suffering with flu, glammed up and posed for the album cover of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars outside this building.
The Former Chelsea Drug Store
49 King's Road. Closest Tube: Sloane Square.
The residents of Chelsea’s Wellington Square were horrified when, in July 1969, their corner pub, the White Hart, morphed into a modernist glass and aluminium monstrosity which was called The Chelsea Drug Store. Indeed, one bemused resident famously bemoaned the fact that they'd turned a Gin Palace into a Tin Palace. The Rolling Stones mention it in the song You Can't Always Get What You Want, and it is featured in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. It is now McDonald's!
Chelsea Old Town Hall
King’s Road. Closest Tube: Sloane Square.
In July 1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono launched their first single Give Peace A Chance here. They didn't attend as they were hospitalised after a car crash. Ringo Starr, however, attended on their behalf so they got by with a little help from their friend!
89 Oakley Street
Closest Tube: Slaone Square
David Bowie lived here 1973-1974. It was at the time of the coal miners strike, and Bowie was curious to know what it would be like to live in a coal mine, so he painted all the entire interior of the house black. It was here that Bowie’s wife, Angie, later claimed, that she found him in bed with Mick Jagger.
48 Cheyne Walk
Closest Tube: Sloane Square
In 1967 Mick Jagger paid £40,000 for this house and lived here with Marianne Faithfull, and his future wife Bianca (though not at the same time!). Many Stones songs were written in a recording studio he built in the back garden.
3 Cheyne Walk
Closest Tube: Sloane Square.
Keith Richard's lived here with his then girlfriend Anita Pallenburg.
Battersea Power Station.
Closest Tube: Pimlico.
Used as a backdrop in the Beatles film Help, but, perhaps, best known for its appearance on the cover of the Pink Floyd album Animals when a huge 40 foot inflatable pig was tethered to it. During the shoot, in December 1976, the pig broke free of its mooring and airline pilots began reporting sightings of a UFP (Unidentified Flying Pig). Air traffic control were forced to reroute flights over south-east England.