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(back to Music Travel)
Spread Eagle Pub (Albert St NW1)
Noel Gallagher, guitarist and genius behind Britpop superstars Oasis, was a regular here when he lived in Albert St. Gallagher later moved to Belsize Park, to a large house that he called Supernova Heights.
Diwana Bhel Poori House (121-123 Drummond St NW1)
An Indian restaurant once enjoyed by Icelandic singer Björk
Dublin Castle pub, Parkway, NW1
Over the years, regulars at the pub have included members of Pulp, Blur, Oasis, and Morrissey (all lived in the vicinity).
The ska revival band, Madness, used to play regularly at this pub in the late 70s. They returned a couple of years later to shoot the video for their song “My Girl”.
London SS’s Rehersal Room (113-115 Praed St, Paddington)
The basement under the Paddington Kitchen cafe became the rehearsal room for the semi legendary London SS, which included the founder members of both the Clash and the Damned. At the other end of Praed St was the local DHSS (social security) office located at number 5. Ironically, Mick Jones worked there as a clerical assistant from 1972. He claims that he was made to open the mail during the early 70s IRA letterbombing campaign.
Mick Jone’s Childhood Home (90 Park West, Lisson Grove)
Mick Jones lived in this 9 storey art deco private mansion block from 1968-73 with his grandmother and 2 great aunts. The block had its own porters and swimming pool. Its proximity to Hyde Park meant that the 14 yr old Mick could attend the free concerts that were regularly held there in the late 60s.
EMI Recording Studios (3 Abbey Road)
Most of the Beatles’ recordings were made here, in partnership with their innovative producer George Martin. The pedestrian crossing outside the studios was immortalised on the cover of “Abbey Road” (the studios were later renamed after the album).
The Beatles’ live TV broadcast of All You Need Is Love was made from Studio 2, where they recorded their first hit single, Love Me Do.
Other notable recordings made here include the early Pink Floyd LPs, as well as Dark Side of the Moon. Sir Edward Elgar, who made the studio's first recording, Land of Hope and Glory, opened the studios in November 1931.
Following his death, Brian Epstein’s memorial service was held nearby at The New London Synagogue, (33 Abbey Road) in October 1967.
EMI Building (20 Manchester Square)This was the UK headquarters of the EMI record company. It is featured on the cover of the Beatles record Please Please Me, which depicts the band members peering down at the photographer (Angus McBean) over a balcony inside the building. The cover of the Blue “Best Of” Album features an identical picture taken several years later showing four considerably hairier Beatles looking down at the (same) photographer. Unfortunately, the building is being (has been?) demolished.
Apple Office (3 Saville Row)This was the HQ of the Beatles' recording company, Apple Corps, from 1968 to 1972. The Beatles gave their last public performance on the building's roof in February 1969, as documented in the film Let It Be. The Rolling Stones rehearsed with their brand new guitarist, Mick Taylor, in the basement studio just before their free Hyde Park concert in 1969.
Royal Hotel (Woburn Place, WC1)
The Beatles stayed here on New Years Eve 1961, the night before their first audition for Decca (at the Decca studios at 165 Broadhurst Gardens in Hampstead). A few months later, the record company’s A&R man Dick Rowe entered the annals of rock history by rejecting the band’s audition tape with the prescient comment that “groups of guitarists are on the way out”.
After rejections from every major label in the UK, the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, finally bumped into George Martin who ran a tiny subsidiary label in the EMI empire, specialising in comedy records. Martin, an ambitious producer, was keen to get out of the dead end of comedy records and, despite the poor quality of the demos, took a risk, signed the Beatles, and the rest became history.
Dick Rowe later redeemed himself by signing the young Rolling Stones to Decca.
The Columbia Hotel, (95-99 Lancaster Gate)
This hotel has been popular with touring rock bands for many years. The Hotel is famously tolerant to the antics of its customers (however, Oasis were banned from the 24 hr bar in 1995). Noddy Holder lived at the hotel for several years.
The Water Rats pub (328 Grays Inn Rd)
Old time radicals, Karl Marx and Frederich Engels used to be regulars (at the time the pub was known as the Pindar of Wakefield). More recently, Oasis had their London debut at the pub (200 were turned away at the door; attracted by press coverage; this was before their first single was released)!
Screen On The Green (83 Upper St, Islington)
This stylish old cinema shows arthouse films. It is best known in punk history as the venue for The Midnight Special Show of August 1976, a classic Sex Pistols gig, supported by The Clash and Buzzcocks.
The Hope and Anchor (207 Upper St, Islington)
The spirit of rock was kept alive in the mid 70s by Pub Rockers who played at places like the Hope and Anchor in Islington, most notably Graham Parker and the Rumour (who recorded their Pink Parker EP here) and Canvey Island’s East End R&B villains Dr Feelgood. Other notables in the pub rock scene include Eddie & the Hot Rods, Dire Straits (!), and Ian Dury’s Kilburn and the High Roads.
Joy Division played an early showcase gig here for the music press just after Christmas 1978. The pub was where Madness and the Specials first met each other at a gig in mid 1979 (apparently Mick Jagger was in the crowd that night), and agreed that Madness should sign up to the Specials’ 2-Tone label.
Joe Meek’s Studio (304 Holloway Rd)
Joe Meek produced many early 60s pop hits from his studio/flat (most famously, Telstar by The Tornadoes, the first UK record ever to top the US top 40). Richie Blackmore was one of Meek’s regular session guitarists. Meek became increasingly paranoid and depressed about his difficult relationship with the music industry. He killed his landlady and himself in 1965.
Wessex Studios (106A Highbury New Park)
Several punk classics were recorded at these studios, including the Sex Pistols' first album, and the Clash's London Calling.
Following the recording of the first Sex Pistols album, John Lydon was attacked and stabbed in the carpark of the Pegasus pub, which is located nearby.
Fairport (Cnr Fortismere Avenue & Fortis Green Rd), Muswell Hill
UK folk rock band, Fairport Convention, was created here, in guitarist Simon Nicoll's family home. The house was divided into student bedsits after Simon's father died in 1964 (the family moved down the road), and the band used vacant rooms on the first floor as rehearsal space. The Davies brothers (who went on to create The Kinks) grew up on the same street: Fortis Green Rd.
Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Park, Muswell Hill
"Ally Pally" is a fine old Victorian building, which was the venue for the 14-Hour Technicolour Dream, attended by 10,000 young hippies in April 1967. Many years before, it was the location for the BBC's very first TV broadcast. The venue has hosted many other rock events, including the debut of Mick Jones' Big Audio Dynamite in 1990, and the Stone Roses in 1989.
National Ballroom, Kilburn
The Smith's live album Rank was recorded here in Oct 85 (working title was The Smiths In Heat)
Primrose Hill (NW3)
Featured on the cover of Oasis’ Wonderwall, and Madness’ The Rise and Fall (which older readers will remember included the somewhat wonderful “House of Fun”).
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