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West London

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Sid Vicious’ Squat (22 Davis Road, Shepherds Bush)

This squat was shared by Sid Vicious, Paul Simeon (bass player for the Clash), and the Slit's Viv Albertine (who was going out with the Clash's Mick Jones at the time). They lived in an upstairs flat. Keith Levene (later of Public Image Limited) was a regular visitor, and Bernie Rhodes (manager of the Clash) at one stage used one of the bedrooms as a makeshift office.

The Goldhawk Road Social Club - Railway Hotel (472 Hornsey Rd), Harrow

The Who was the resident band in 1964. It was here that Pete Townsend first (accidentally) smashed his guitar on the low ceiling. In February 1968, Jimi Hendrix jammed here with John Mayall.

The Ace Cafe (cnr Beresford Avenue and old North Circular Road)

Ace cafe69

In the 60s, the Ace Cafe was the HQ of the Rockers cult, leather clad motorbike riders, arch enemies of the Mods. Rockers rode powerful bikes made by British companies like Triumph or Norton, and listened to records by American rock and rollers like Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and Carl Perkins.

The Ace opened as a transport cafe for truck drivers in 1938. By the early 50s, the cafe had become popular with young bike riders who gathered there before racing around the North Circular Road, which stretched right around the centre of London. When rock and roll arrived in the mid 50s, the cafe’s jukebox became one of the few places in London where the raucous new music could be heard.

The cafe closed in 1969, and for many years operated as a tyre depot. A few motorbike enthusiasts bought the building in the nineties, and open the cafe for business on weekends (Fridays between 8 pm and 12 pm, Saturdays from noon to midnight, and on Sunday from 8 am to 8 pm). They also open on public holidays between 10 am and 8 pm, as well as the first Wednesday of each month (7 pm – 12 pm). [1]

Crawdaddy Club / Bull and Bush Pub (Richmond Station Hotel, then Richmond Athletic Club), Richmond

The Rolling Stones became the resident band in March 1963. The band members were middle class boys with a keen interest in the glamour and earthiness of American Rhythm and Blues music.

The Rolling Stones quickly gained a large following at the Crawdaddy, and by the middle of the year the entire club moved to the Richmond Athletic Club in Twickenham Road, because the Pub could no longer cope with the crowds. When the Stones moved on to the Marquee, they were replaced at the Crawdaddy by the Yardbirds.

Some of the early 60s R&B musicians still have houses in the area: Mick Jagger has a home at Downe House on Richmond Hill, and Pete Townsend owns The Wick, another huge house on the Hill. Ronnie Wood also lives at Maids of Honour Row on Richmond Green.

Hammersmith Odeon (now the Apollo)

The Beatles performed a marathon series of 38 concerts at the Odeon over Christmas 1964. The building’s rear fire escape was featured in a memorable scene from A Hard Day’s Night, when the lads raced down the stairs and hammed it up in a nearby park to the sounds of “Can’t Buy Me Love”. The theatre’s front entrance was also featured by The Who in the photo book which accompanied their Quadrophenia LP.

Ealing Club (opposite Ealing Broadway Station)

The Ealing Club was one of the very first blues clubs in London, opened by Alexis Korner in March 1962. Customers included Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (later to join Brian Jones’ band, the Rollin’ Stones), Eric Burdon (The Animals), Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton (later to form Cream), Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Jeff Beck (Yardbirds), Ron Wood (the Faces, and eventually the Stones) and Long John Baldry.

The club was hard to find: it was located opposite Ealing Broadway railway station, across the zebra crossing, and down the steps between the ABC tearoom (now a real estate agent) and a jewellers.

Ealing Art School (Sunnyside Road), Ealing

Pete Townshend was introduced to blues music, drugs and theories of autodestructive art while a student at the Ealing School of Art. He lived in a share house just across the road. Other students at the Art School included Ray Davies, Ron Wood and Freddie Mercury.

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