top of page

Let’s Rock through London

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

by Stephen Andrews (単語・表現リスト by Shigeri Nishide)

As you might have seen, Charlie Watts, the drummer with The Rolling Stones, passed away recently.

I was a big fan of the band. In fact, Shigeri and I went to see them at the London Stadium in 2018. What a show!

So I thought, in tribute to him, I’d take a look at some of the historic music places in London.

Because it’s the centre of the music business, London is where a lot of famous bands started their career.

And the great thing is, you can still go and see where many of them lived or worked.

Now, you may not have heard of some of the bands I talk about, partly because some of them were famous in the 1960s and 70s. But they’re all classic bands, and worth a listen to if you have the time.

So, let’s take a tour through a few of the top rock music sites in the capital.

Denmark Street, WC2

If you’re ever going to Tottenham Court Road Tube station, walk down Charing Cross Road to Denmark Street. Back in the 1960s and 70s, it was the centre of the music business and used to be known as ‘Tin Pan Alley’. It was once home to famous music clubs like the 12 Bar Club where Bob Dylan once played. The Rolling Stones recorded their first album in Regent Sound Studios at 4 Denmark Street. Sadly, since they’re started developing the area for Crossrail, most of these famous places have disappeared and now you’ll only find a few musical instruments shops there. But it’s still a great place to buy a guitar!

Abbey Road, NW8

Possibly the most famous zebra crossing in the world, immortalised on the cover of The Beatles’ famous ‘Abbey Road’ album. It’s still there today and thousands of tourists every year attempt to recreate the cover shot. Why not pop along and have a go yourself? The crossing leads straight to Abbey Road studios where The Beatles recorded most of their music.

3 Savile Row, W1

Continuing on the Beatles pilgrimage, 3 Savile Row is where, on January 30th 1969, the band held a rooftop concert, which was ultimately their final performance. And for band memorabilia, it’s hard to beat The Vault at Hard Rock Café, on Park Lane, W1, where the impressive collection of rare Beatles artefacts includes John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics.

23 Heddon Street, W1

I’m a huge David Bowie fan and if you are too, then this is the place to visit. This address appears on the cover of David Bowie's classic ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’ album. Rock photographer Brian Ward shot it in January 1972, five months before the album’s release. A blue plaque marks the spot.

Other Bowie sights including his childhood home at 40 Stansfield Road, Brixton, and the album ‘Aladdin Sane’-inspired mural on the wall of Morley’s department store, on nearby Tunstall Road.

The 100 Club, Oxford Street, W1

No rock tour of London would be complete without stopping off here, a beer-stained grungy basement that has witnessed some of music's greatest names over the years, from the first performance of punk bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie & the Banshees, to an impromptu gig by The Rolling Stones in the 1980s.

34 Montague Square, W1

This house in Marylebone is another rock shrine. It looks rather respectable now but there aren't many London addresses with a richer rock and roll history than this Georgian terrace. It was home to Ringo Starr in the mid-1960s, and the place where John Lennon first lived with Yoko Ono. Their nude ‘Two Virgins’ album cover was shot in the front room and Paul McCartney recorded a demo version of the song ‘Eleanor Rigby’ in a temporary studio. Ringo then rented the house to Jimi Hendrix, electric guitar genius, who wrote his famous song ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ here.

23 Brook Street, W1

Talking about Jimi Hendrix, he once lived in Brook Street, just off Oxford Street. Coincidentally, Jimi’s flat was next door to the former home of the 18th Century German-born classical composer George Frideric Handel. Following a restoration, you can now visit both residences of these two musical geniuses, like Shigeri and I did. Check out the photo of us sitting on Jimi’s bed!

Carnaby Street, W1

Way back in the 1960s, you’d have heard the phrase ‘Swinging London’ everywhere. The city was the centre of fashion and music, The Beatles were the world’s most popular band, every girl wore a miniskirt, and the two most famous models were Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton, both known for being really, really thin! Carnaby Street was the trendiest street in London, famous for music and fashion. A lot of what were known as ‘Mod’ bands like The Who hung out there. The Mod look – Levi jeans and polo shirts for boys; mini-skirts for girls – were later adopted by bands like The Jam.

Berwick Street, W1

Not far away from Carnaby Street, Berwick Street is the place to go if you want to visit some of the best record shops in London. Reckless Records (Number 30) is fantastic for finding rare items and also buys second-hand CDs and vinyl, while Sister Ray (Number 75) and Phonica (Number 51) both have huge stocks of vinyl and CDs in everything from rock to jazz. Berwick Street might also be familiar to you if you’re an Oasis fan. That’s because the cover shot of their album ‘What’s The Story, Morning Glory?’ was photographed there.

The King’s Road, SW3

The King’s Road in Chelsea was also a hotspot in the 1960s, but became even more famous in the 1970s when punk rock emerged. If you’d walked down King’s Road on a Saturday afternoon back then, the place would have been packed with punks, sporting their Mohican haircuts and PVS bondage suits. The most famous punk landmark is at 430 King’s Road, where Malcolm McClaren, the manager of the Sex Pistols and Vivienne Westwood, famous for her punk fashion designs, opened their shop called ‘SEX’ which sold fetish and bondage wear, as well as punk clothing.

Hope & Anchor Pub, Upper Street, Islington

Dozens of big bands have played in this pub, including Dire Straits, U2, Joy Division and The Stranglers. Madness filmed the music video for their famous song ‘One Step Beyond’ here. A great place for live music and a few drinks!

Camden Town

Camden has always been a brilliant area for live music. Coldplay, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd and Nirvana, either got their start, or came through the Camden scene. Two of the most popular artists from London, Madness and Amy Winehouse, actually came from the area.

Here are a few of the best places in the area to go and see live music in Camden.


The Grade II historic theatre Koko, on Camden High Street, previously known as Camden Theatre and The Camden Palace, and once a recording studio for the BBC, has been the setting for countless London rock performances by the likes of The Clash, The Jam, AC/DC and hundreds of other well-known bands.

The Roundhouse

In nearby Camden Market, The Roundhouse made a name for itself by hosting bands like The Rolling Stones, the Doors and Jimi Hendrix way back in the 1960s and 70s and still is a fantastic place to see the most popular bands around.

Dublin Castle, Camden Parkway

This is a pub with a real rock pedigree, still hosting bands and DJs after three decades. A bit dilapidated, but the posters covering the walls are a good indication of some of the musical royalty who have played here, including Oasis and Madness. It's staged many other big names on the way up, like Blur and the Killers. A great venue, and worth stopping by.

Electric Ballroom, 184 Camden High Street

The Electric Ballroom is also a bit shabby, but has been at the heart of the Camden music scene for decades. Hosting legends from The Clash to Sid Vicious, it certainly has the credentials to go down in history as one of the top musical hot spots in the country.

Jazz Café, Camden Parkway

The place to go if jazz and soul music are more your thing. The Cafe has played host to such jazz musicians as Jamiroquai, Sun Ra Arkestra, Pharoah Sanders and Don Cherry. It’s also a great place to catch wall-shaking hip-hop and reggae gigs.

If you love music, I hope you might explore some of these fascinating places, enjoy some brilliant sounds and get in tune with the city’s musical history!



Crossrail: ロンドンと郊外を結ぶ新しい鉄道路線


pilgrimage: 巡礼、有名な人などに由来する土地を訪れる旅

Savile Row:  ピカデリー・サーカス近くにある、伝統的なオーダーメイドの紳士服店が並ぶ通りの名前。日本語の「背広」はここから来た?という噂もあり。

memorabilia: 有名な人やイベントに関連する品物・記念品

artefact: 歴史的に価値がある品物。アメリカのスペリングはartifact。

plaque: 金属や木、石などでできていて、何かを記念したりする文字が書いてある板のようなもの。有名人が住んでいた家などの壁に取り付けられているのをよく目にする。

mural: 壁に直接描かれた絵。

impromptu: (コンサートやスピーチなど)準備も計画もなしで行われる。

dilapidated: とても古く、ボロボロの

shabby: 古びた

credentials: 実績、資格


The Rolling Stones

Bob Dylan

The Beatles

David Bowie

Sex Pistols

Siouxsie & the Banshees

Ringo Starr

John Lennon

Yoko Ono

Paul McCartney

Jimi Hendrix

George Frideric Handel


Jean Shrimpton

The Who

The Jam


Malcolm McClaren

Vivienne Westwood

Dire Straits


Joy Division

The Stranglers



Red Hot Chili Peppers

Pink Floyd


Amy Winehouse

The Clash


The Doors


The Killers

Sid Vicious


Sun Ra Arkestra

Pharoah Sanders

Don Cherry





Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page