Hendrix, The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Beatles, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd are some of the few influential names whose rock and roll roots you will discover on this charismatic tour. Rock and Roll infuses the electrifying combination of blues, jazz, gospel and country music.
I embarked on this “Rock and Roll Tour” on Sunday (19/10) to be transported through five decades of rock history starting from the 1950s to the present day. My tour consisted of stars; homes, death sites, recording studios, enterprises and many more monumental rock landmarks. London is definitely one of the most eminent urban cities in the development of rock and roll, thus the magic rock and roll bus travelled us through the defining rock boroughs of London, including; Chelsea, Kensington, Holland Park, Notting Hill Gate, St Johns Wood, Marylebone and the West End.
Throughout the tour, a number of ‘rock plaques’ appeared indicating rock heritage sites, in aid of commemorating the many legends that lived, breathed and in some cases died in the rock vibrancy of London.
Rock and Roll has contributed to a mass audience via movies, television, lifestyles, fashion, attitudes and language. This cultural significance is one you will experience throughout this tour. I learnt for instance that music has played a great influence in the Civil Rights Movement as a catalyst for cultural integration. Interestingly, the Nottingham Hill Carnival was a direct result of this unity in response to the race riots of 1958. The carnival celebrates and showcases the West Indies and Caribbean Culture, with festivities of; dance, food and fashion. British African Americans have inspired revelations in various sub-genres including; reggae, ska, dubstep, soul, drum and bass, hip hop and many other genres of music. This was illustrated when we stopped at the famous ‘Rough Trade Records’ an independent record store (and label) situated on Kensington Park road, West London. The shop is described as a “community based environment” that specialises in garage rock and reggae and was one of the pioneering record distribution networks, specialising in European post-punk and alternative rock in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Highlights of the tour include walking across the famed Abbey Road crossing which many of you will recognise from the Beatles eleventh studio album ; ‘Abbey Road’ released in 1969. Relish in Beatlemania as this tour is especially notable for its many Beatle references, where the band truly made their stamp on London. The tour visits the house where The Beatles all once lived together on Green Street, Mayfair, revealing a backdoor that led onto the alleyway of their favourite pub – ‘Horse and Groom’. This gave The Beatles direct access to easily slip away to their local unseen by their rather large following of fan girls that they had now accumulated by this point. Another personal favourite stop was Bill Wymans’ (from The Rolling Stones) American restaurant ‘Sticky Fingers’, which exhibits a collection of rock and roll memorabilia. The diner had a lively atmosphere and the food looked delicious, convincing me to make plans for a second trip!
However, the main highlight of the tour was our exceptional guide; Nora, who held a tremendous compilation of rock history and provided us with interesting antidotes throughout the tour, including conspiracies and little known facts about the stars. She also played an array of rock music which she coordinated to the relevant artist landmarks.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the tour which was roughly 3 hours long. It is definitely a hidden rock gem of London and is a must for any music enthusiasts. As a Brighton resident, it was also a very cool way to see and explore London, as we delved through the many roads and backstreets responsible for the basements, rehearsal rooms and recording studios of the most progressive rock acts of time. If you want to truly rock and roll your way through London, then click here and book now!