“You need a little time to rest your mind; you know you should so I guess you might as well” – Noel Gallagher.
Well I’ve done my time living in London back in the day, and I must have visited the city about 50 times in my life, but I’m definitely not done with backpacking through it. Everytime I visit the English capital city, I check out new parts that I hadn’t been to before. This week it’s musical sights, rock related stuff. There are just so many of these in London that I only visited a few of them so far but here goes. I meant to write this post years ago but I re-did Oasis this week and the Iron Maiden pub for the first time.
“In sleepy London town, there ain’t no place for the street fighting man” – Keith Richards.
On my trips through London, I have so far been to these places, all famous in some way.
1.Berwick Street, Soho
Why famous? Front cover of Oasis album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
“I’ll put on my shoes while they’re walking slowly down the hall of fame” – Noel Gallagher.
As an Oasis geek, I loved the thought of visiting Berwick Street in Soho. This long street houses some of the best record shops in London, even in an era of digital downloads. This is where Oasis chose (at the last minute) to be the venue of the front cover for their second studio album, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? Head to Berwick Street in Soho and backpack it for yourself.
For a bonus tip pop into the Green Man – cheapest pint in central London and a place where Oasis once drank.
2.Abbey Road Studios, Saint John’s Wood
Why famous? Many bands have recorded their hit albums here from The Beatles to Oasis to Morrissey.
“Joan was quizzical, studied metaphysical science in the home” – The Beatles.
I already covered my trip to Abbey Road studios in North London. My Abbey Road how to visit post shows you how to get there. You can get through the entrance and up to the reception but not into the studios unless you get invited, book it or are friends of a band, or indeed in a band.
3.The Abbey Road Pelican Crossing, Saint John’s Wood
Why famous? The Beatles Abbey Road album cover.
Quite simply you can pretend to be The Beatles here and cross the Pelican crossing at Abbey Road. It is right outside Abbey Road Studios! The Red Hot Chili Peppers also copied this for their album in 1988, but they went nude instead.
“I said something wrong; now I long for yesterday” – Paul McCartney.
4.Frestonia, Latimer Road
Why famous? The Clash recorded Combat Rock here.
“The Shareef don’t like it, rock the Casbah, rock the Cashbah” – The Clash.
As well as checking out the place where The Clash recorded their famous album that spawned songs such as “Rock The Cashbah” and “Should I Remain In This Location or Move to An Alternative Location?” , you can count this as a visit to a separate country. In the 1970s, this area was closed off by the Squatters and classed as Frestonia. Frestonia issued their own stamps and passports and had a border with England. These days, Freston Road is a mere sign of those hippy hippy days.
The Clash album Combat Rock was recorded in The People’s Hall, pictured below.
5.Cart and Horses, Stratford
Why famous? It is the birthplace of Iron Maiden.
This is where it all began for Iron Maiden. The Cart and Horses Pub in Stratford. When I finally made it here in January 2020, I also visited the West Ham United football stadium nearby (and saw my team AFC Bournemouth lose 4-0). The pub was shut in 2019 to early 2020 for refurbishment but the plaques to Iron Maiden still remains.
6.St. Martin’s College, Camden
Why famous? The subject in the Pulp hit Common People, “studied sculpture at St. Martin’s college”.
“Are you sure you want to live like common people, wanna sleep with common people?” – Jarvis Cocker.
Pulp’s 1995 number two single (their highest ever position) owed its story to a Greek girl who Jarvis Cocker met when he attended St. Martin’s College in London. I have visited Camden a few times, but my first visit to St. Martin’s College was in 2015 when we went whackpacking in hippy Camden Town.
There are of course many more quick and quirkey sights related to rock music in London, and I have backpacked a few more but that will do for today.
“In Camden Town, I’ll meet you by the underground” – Suggs.
Here are some videos from those trips: