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Granny Takes A Trip (488 Kings Road)
This was a fashionable boutique in the sixties. Many of the biggest rock stars of the day shopped here for their clothes. A young Salman Rushdie lived upstairs. The shop was named after a minor hit record by a band called The Purple Gang (featuring a singer named Lucifer).
Sex (430 Kings Road, Chelsea)
Malcolm McLaren’s trendy ... and pricey ... clothes shop. It went through a number of incarnations: including “Let It Rock” (specialising in 50s Teddy Boy fashions and rock and roll chic) and “Seditionaries”.
One day in 1975 a couple of young guys who often hung around the shop’s jukebox, talked McLaren into bankrolling their proposed garage band. We can only guess why McLaren let himself be talked into managing a band he had never heard. Maybe he saw a chance for some shrewd cross promotion: in return for cash and some help with management, the band would promote the shop and wear clothes designed by his girlfriend Vivienne. Or maybe he was just bored and wanted to relive his memories of his brief period as manager of the legendary American group, the MC5.
The Saturday morning shop assistant, Glen, was recruited as bass player, and Bernie Rhodes, who was McLaren’s assistant manager (and later went on to manage the Clash), suggested that they audition one of the shop’s regular customers, a spotty youth named John, who seemed to have the right kind of attitude, to see if he could sing. Within months they had changed the face of pop music forever,
Kings Road has been the traditional gathering place of pop tribes every weekend since the 1950s, and in the long hot summer of 1976, the punk tribes paraded along the Kings Road every Saturday, and quenched their thirst at pubs like the Man In The Moon at number 392 (X Ray Spex played a residency there and Adam and the Ants played early gigs there) or The Roebuck (now a French Restaurant called The Dome) at number 354. The Roebuck in particular was a favourite watering hole for McLaren and the Sex Pistols.
Keith Richard’s House (3 Cheyne Walk)
Keith Richards lived here with Anita Pallenberg and a motley tribe of associates from the late 60s until the early 70s (when the Rolling Stones fled the UK for tax reasons). It was here that Pallenberg and Richards pushed the very edge of the sex 'n' drugs 'n' rock 'n' roll envelope. Mick Jagger lived down the road at number 48. The nearby pub The Kings Head and Eight Bells (at #50) is extremely old: Thomas More, the 16th century author of “Utopia”, was a regular customer at the pub.
John Lydons House (45 Gunter Grove)
Despite Chelsea’s bourgeois atmosphere, Johnny Rotten-Lydon must have liked the area, because he lived in the area for some time. First of all, he shared a flat with Sid Vicious in the Chelsea Cloisters apartment block located in Sloane Avenue (which was occupied at the time by the reclusive Syd Barrett).
Then, he moved into this small house in Gunter Grove that he bought with his record royalties, and which was located just around the corner from McLaren’s Sex. The Gunter Grove house had a long line of musical owners, including Island Records and Steve Winwood from Traffic.
BOY (153 Kings Road)
Malcolm McLaren's main rivals in the fashion business, Acme Attractions, were located directly opposite Sex, until they moved down the road to 153 Kings Road, and changed their name to BOY in the late 70s. It became notorious for its window of realistic forensic displays, created by Peter Christopherson (of Throbbing Gristle fame). Nearby at number 152 was the Pheasantry, a rambling old apartment building occupied by many musicians and artists in the 60s, including Eric Clapton and Martin Sharp.
Chelsea Cloisters (Sloane Avenue)
This red brick apartment block was home to the reclusive, TV loving, post Pink Floyd Syd Barrett (who occupied room 902 for most of the 70s). Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten briefly shared a small flat in the same block in the late 70s. Barrett used to drink regularly at the nearby Marlborough Arms (43 Elystan St).
Brian Jones’ House (1 Courtfield Rd)
In the 60s, rock musicians became seen by many young people as the gurus, politicians and role models for a new culture; and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were the aristocrats of this new nation.
Brian Jones and Anita Pallenberg moved to Courtfield Road in mid 1966, and their house quickly became the centre of the Chelsea social scene of the 60s. They became the royalty of rock, and they held court here. Keith Richards moved in with them in Oct 1966 (and wooed Anita away from Brian shortly afterwards).
Jagger, Richard and Jones’s Flat (102 Edith Rd)
For almost a year from October 1962, Brian Jones, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger lived on the second floor, sharing the two bedroom flat with three other tenants. The flat was not heated, so in winter the three Stones used to sleep in the same bed for warmth.
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