Music History of London

May 24, 2023
Music History Of London

London has a rich and diverse music history, with numerous iconic locations linked to legendary artists. From the Beatles to Bob Marley, and Jimi Hendrix to John Lennon, the city is filled with sites that have played a significant role in the evolution of music. Here are some of the key spots that music lovers should know about.

Abbey Road Studios and the Beatles

The legendary Abbey Road Studios, located at 3 Abbey Road in St John’s Wood, has a storied history in music. Opened in November 1931 by the Gramophone Company, a predecessor of EMI, the studios were originally a nine-bedroom Georgian townhouse built in 1831 and later converted into flats. The premises were acquired by the Gramophone Company in 1929, and the studios have since become synonymous with musical excellence.

Abbey Road Studios is most famously known for its association with the Beatles, who recorded almost all their albums and hits here between 1962 and 1970. The iconic zebra crossing outside the studio, featured on the cover of their “Abbey Road” album, is a popular photo spot for fans. In 2010, Abbey Road Studios gained Grade II listed status. For more on the studio’s rich history, the documentary “If These Walls Could Sing” directed by Mary McCartney is highly recommended.

The Beatles1

Bob Marley at 42 Oakley Street, Chelsea

In January 1977, Bob Marley moved to 42 Oakley Street in Chelsea with his wife Rita, fleeing Jamaica after an assassination attempt. Marley lived here until June 1977, during which time he and the Wailers completed the album “Exodus,” featuring hits like “Jamming,” “Three Little Birds,” “Waiting in Vain,” and “One Love.” Marley considered London a second home, often playing football in Battersea Park and socializing with bands like The Clash. His time in London also inspired the song “Punkie Reggae Party.” In 2019, a blue plaque was placed at 42 Oakley Street to commemorate Marley’s time there.

Bob Marley Blue Plaque At 42 Oakley Street

Jimi Hendrix at 23 Brook Street

Jimi Hendrix lived at 23 Brook Street in Mayfair from 1968 to 1969. This address is also noteworthy as it is next door to 25 Brook Street, where composer George Frideric Handel lived from 1723 until his death in 1759. Hendrix’s girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham, found the flat through an advert while Jimi was in New York. He moved in during July 1968 and referred to it as his “first real home of my own.” Hendrix decorated the flat with items from John Lewis and Portobello Road market. Although he only lived there briefly, the flat has been restored and is now part of the Handel & Hendrix in London museum, opening to the public in February 2016.

Jimi Hendrix At 23 Brook Street

John Lennon at 34 Montagu Square, Marylebone

John Lennon and Yoko Ono rented a ground floor and basement flat at 34 Montagu Square in 1968, a property leased by Beatles drummer Ringo Starr during the mid-1960s. The flat, located just 1.3 miles from Abbey Road Studios, was where the iconic cover photo for Lennon and Ono’s “Two Virgins” album was taken. The flat also became the site of a police raid for drugs, leading to legal issues for Starr, who sold the lease in February 1969. A blue plaque was unveiled by Yoko Ono in 2010 after a decade-long campaign to recognize its historical significance.

John Lennon

London’s music history is rich and varied, with numerous sites that have played a pivotal role in the careers of some of the world’s most famous musicians. Whether it’s the iconic Abbey Road Studios, Bob Marley’s Chelsea home, Jimi Hendrix’s Mayfair flat, or John Lennon’s Marylebone residence, each location tells a unique story that adds to the tapestry of London’s musical heritage. Exploring these sites offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of these legendary artists and their lasting impact on music history.

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