[All this week, I’m leading a group of music fans through a tour of rock’n’roll landmarks of London. Here are highlights of day one.-AC]
The bus from Gatwick rolled up at the hotel in Fitzrovia around 10 am Saturday, disgorging a group of travelers knackered from an overnight flight on WestJet. Naturally, none of the rooms were ready–check out time is 1 pm and departing guests were being annoyingly slow to get the hell out-so our only option was to head over to the nearby Horse and Groom pub to wait it out. Shame, that.
After rounds of lager and cider, most everyone retired for a nap before meeting up in the lobby for a walking tour through our era of the city.
A word about our guide, Richard. Every single time I’ve booked a walking tour of London, I somehow get Richard. Every. Single. Time. This is a good thing, by the way, because he’s excellent. Despite suffering through a cold and having to walk us through the rain., he was a trouper.
1. The Former site of IBC Studios, 35 Portland Place
Some of the most famous musicians in the world used to record at IBC Studios. The place is currently occupied by a high-tech hologram coming.
2. BBC Headquarters
If it comes from the Beeb, it has to come through these buildings.
3. London Palladium, Carnaby Street
Probably the most famous theatre in all of the UK. A gathering of rabid fans outside a Beatles show in October 1963 was probably the start of Beatlemania.
4. Small Faces Headquarters, Carnaby Street
One of the cool things about London that there are plaques marking the locations of where cool music things happened. The brutal Don Arden (father of Sharon Osbourne) managed the Small Faces back in the day. Their office and rehearsal room was here.
5. Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green Clothing Shop, Carnaby Street
Nice gear, but it’s bloody expensive.
6. David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust phone box, Heddon Street
Flip over the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album and you’ll Bowie and an old-school English phone box. While this box is in the same spot, the replica was removed long ago. Still, it’s nice to see something marking the spot.
7. Former Site of the Beatles Apple Corps HQ, 3 Savile Row
The Beatles were great as a musical group but rubbish at running a business. This building house Apple Corps for a couple of years in the late 60s. It’s also here that the Beatles performed for the last time with their rooftop concert on January 30, 1969, It’s now an Abercrombie Kids.
8. Trident Studios London, Soho
The Beatles, Elton John, and so many others recorded here. It’s still a working studio, but it’s used mainly for voiceover sessions.
9. 100 Club, 100 Oxford Street
Founded as a jazz club in 1941, The 100 Club was the site of infamous Punk Rock Festival in September 1976, featuring the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Jam, The Damned, The Stranglers, Siouxise and the Banshees and The Buzzcocks.