The Beatles. The Clash. Queen. Led Zeppelin. Amy Winehouse. What do all these rock and pop legends have in common?
All of them lived or worked in London.
The UK’s capital is more than just the beating heart of the nation – it’s a global capital of rock and roll legacy, playing host to some (if not all) of the greatest acts of all time. Type the words ‘who’s playing concerts in London this year?’ into Google and you’ll get hits for some of the biggest names there are, including Elton John, Cher, Alice Cooper, Metallica and more.
And that’s to say nothing of the history that is worked deep into London’s streets, buildings and venues. For those that love to explore this legacy of rock and roll, you’ll find it woven into London’s DNA.
Let’s discover some famous London Rock locations.
In 1963, The Beatles walked into Abbey Road studios to record their second studio album, Please Please Me. It marked the beginning of an era in which the supergroup would record their most treasured records. Their sessions at Abbey Road was responsible for not only classics such as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band but also the iconic Abbey Roads album cover, which featured all four members on the zebra crossing near the studios.
This unique venue is one of the few remaining 50’s coffee shops in existence in London. Since it’s humble origins, it has gone on to become one of the city’s best and little-known music venues, playing host over the years to acts such as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Jimmy Page, Sandy Denny, Davy Graham, Morrisey…and, well, the list goes on…
Freddy Mercury’s House (Garden Lodge)
The life and tragic loss of one of the world’s greatest rock vocalists was, for the most part, played out on the streets of London. Mercury enrolled in Ealing Arts College after fleeing Zanzibar with his family and made the capital his home after he became famous. You can visit his house, along with the wall of messages left by fans and well-wishers, in Kensington.
This unassuming London street is famous for just two houses along its way – numbers 23 and 25. In 1723, George Frideric Handel moved into house number 25. A few hundred years later, inspired by the street’s musical heritage, a young guitar player by the name of James Marshall Hendrix bought the house next door as a place of respite when he was in London. The rest is history.
The 100 Club
Number 100, Oxford Street played a pivotal role in the success of the punk rock revolution during the 1970s. It was here that bands such as The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Stranglers and The Jam came to a mainstream audience and established themselves as the latest generation of rock and roll. However, this is no museum. The 100 Club is an active music venue with legendary status around the London circuit. It’s also home to one of the world’s longest-running Northern Soul nights.
Walk around the back of the Savoy Chapel and you’ll find a little back street and some unassuming stairs. It was on this spot that Bob Dylan filmed his iconic music video for Susbterranean Homesick Blues – one of the most famous videos of all time. He also stayed at the Savoy Hotel just down the lane, where he was visited by The Beatles during his stay in London. Few can tell what the mischievous five got up to behind the locked doors of the hotel.
If you’d like to explore these legendary locations, and other famous London Rock locations for yourself, join us on the London Rock Tour the next time you’re in town. You’ll hear all the stories behind London’s rock heritage from our expert guides.