5 Rock ‘n’ Roll Landmarks You Must Visit in London
No trip to London would be complete without delving into music nostalgia and seeing iconic rock ‘n’ roll landmarks representing the British invasion of rock ‘n’ roll. 2014 marked 60 years since the Beatles made their first North American appearance on the Ed Sullivan show; this is where it all began.
The world’s music changed and the Beatles were the catalyst. Adoration for the fab four circled the globe with millions hoping one day they would see them perform. Although the Beatles hailed from Liverpool, in London, they left their mark with incredible musical influence; but they weren’t the only ones. Musical history didn’t stop at the Beatles.
London birthed the likes of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Depeche Mode, the Sex Pistols, and many others who shaped the industry to what it is today. There are several tours available for you to see many places these influential bands and singers made their first public appearances, bought their guitars, wrote lyrics, and for some, left this world. Should you wish to see the landmarks on your own, these are my top five rock ‘n’ roll landmarks that transformed these musicians from local to legendary.
1.Visit the Abbey Road Studios
The Studios are not open to the public, but standing on the steps of the magical building where the Beatles recorded their Abbey Road album is just incredible. It is therefore a must when exploring rock ‘n’ roll landmarks in London. Take photos, read the graffiti on the wall and pay homage to these legendary musicians. While here, take a glimpse at the official Abbey Road sign, affixed above the roadside. Sadly, due to the number of thefts, the signage for this street has been placed 4 storeys above the ground.
2. Walk across the Abbey Road Zebra Crossing
To this day, this infamous zebra crossing located in Kensington attracts millions of visitors yearly wishing to emanate the famed Beatles Abbey Road album cover photo captured in 1966. Visitors come from all corners of the world to tick one of the most iconic rock ‘n’ roll landmarks off their bucket list. Some honour Paul McCartney by going barefoot (look at the album cover again and see him barefoot!), and others have even crossed NAKED (cringe face).
As significant traffic jams occur frequently at the crossing (due to the millions of visitors attempting to capture their Kodak moments), prepare to wait for your opportunity. Don’t fret if your photo does not turn out. Abbey Road is now fully equipped with a webcam online. Enter the date and time you crossed and re-watch your iconic moment as many times as you like for the next 24 hours.
3. Head to the Vivienne Westwood Boutique
Head over to the Vivienne Westwood Boutique at 44 Conduit Street where one of the most controversial punk bands in history was born – The Sex Pistols. Johnny Rotten and the Pistols began their volatile career in front of this Vivienne Westwood boutique… who knew that Sid Vicious would have such taste in fashion?
4. Pass by Freddie Mercury’s House
Queen is a legendary band. They just happen to be my favourite. I catch myself humming “We are the Champions” every time my sports teams win, and singing “I Want to Break Free” when times are tough. I was heartbroken like many Queen groupies when Freddie Mercury succumbed to AIDS. The music world was silenced and memorials were planned for weeks on end paying tribute to this incomparable artist.
25 years after his untimely death, fans continue to show love and adoration for Freddie and visit his residence leaving fan mail and letters of admiration. As this home is still inhabited by a close friend, tourists are unable to enter the premises and letters are removed promptly; however, take a few photos, leave a heartfelt message, and even if it is there only for a few hours, you were still able to make your own personal tribute in one of the top rock ‘n’ roll landmarks in London.
5. Enjoy a Meal at Sticky Fingers Restaurant
“Sticky Fingers” restaurant owned by the Rolling Stones member Ronnie Wood, is a trendy family oriented restaurant serving pub grub and a variety of burgers and sides. Stop by to enjoy a meal and revel in the decor of Rolling Stones memorabilia. Have a look at some of the guitars the ‘Stones used throughout their careers and rare artifacts illustrating the band’s history.
Enjoy your time in London Readers! This is just a small taste of all the musical significance and history littered across London. For more iconic rock ‘n’ roll landmarks to visit while in London, sign up to my newsletter and get the latest scoop!