London is a place that fills locals and visitors with inspiration. The city’s stages have launched the careers of legendary musicians and said goodbye to some of the greatest. If you want to get a feel for the city’s musical past and present, be sure to check out the following venues recommended by Fiona from The London Pass.
London’s Legendary Music Venues
Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park
Originally named the Astoria Theatre, this gorgeous historical building is the place where Jimi Hendrix burnt his first guitar, where the Beach Boys recorded their 1968 album Live in London and where The Beatles played their first Christmas show to 100,000 people over three weeks. When I first walked past this venue, which is now a church, I never would have imagined that in its heyday, Van Morrison, Bob Marley and the Wailers and Olivia Newton-John graced its stage.
Photo credit: Stavos
The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road
Built as a turntable engine shed in 1846, the Roundhouse is one of the most recognisable concert venues in London thanks to its iconic shape. It fell into disuse before WWII, and it wasn’t until 1964 that it rose to fame. Artists like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin entertained crowds of underground music lovers at the Roundhouse from the early 60s until the 90s. Five years ago, the studio created an in-house record label that continues to launch careers.
Photo credit: Emanuel Beglund
100 Club, 100 Oxford Street
Located on London’s famous shopping street, the 100 Club has been continually evolving since 1941 when it first opened as a jazz club. It started attracting artists such as the Kinks and The Animals with the rise of rock ‘n’ roll music, and became known as one of the best places to catch big name acts playing intimate shows.
3 Savile Row, Mayfair
Among the high-class tailors and Georgian townhomes, this address (along with the zebra crossing on Abbey Road) is a Mecca for fans of The Beatles. It was on the rooftop of this building that The Beatles played their final show and created one of the most iconic moments in rock ‘n’ roll history. As a Londoner, this building fills me with pride, but also reminds me of the London that we’re losing – it’s now a branch of Abercrombie Kids.
Photo credit: David Reynolds
Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road
The Dominion Theatre opened in 1929 and rose to fame as one of the city’s most beloved musical theatre venues. Almost 30 years later in 1957, Bill Haley and the Comets took to the stage in front of thousands of screaming fans, putting the Dominion into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
London’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Landmarks
23 Heddon Street
This spot near Regent Street became one of the most popular album covers to copy after its red phone booth appeared on the cover of David Bowie’s album Ziggy Stardust.
Photo credit: John Naccarato
The Stables Market
The Clash used to rehearse at this Camden spot and took the photograph for their first album on the steps outside it.
It’s estimated that 300,000 tourists flock to this street in St. John’s Wood every year to re-enact the cover of The Beatles’ final album, Abbey Road. It’s one of the top 20 most visited tourist attractions in the city.
Battersea Power Station
This brutalist building and its iconic chimneys were featured on the cover of Pink Floyd’s album Animals with an inflatable pig tied to them.
Photo credit: Nico Quatrevingtsix
34 Montagu Square
This Marylebone address is well known for being the location of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s infamous naked photo for their 1968 Two Virgins LP. Paul McCartney and Eleanor Rigby also recorded here. Ringo Starr and Jimi Hendrix lived here (at separate times), rounding out the flat’s popularity among rock stars.
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About the author:
Fiona McCoss is Blog Editor and Content & Social Media Executive at The London Pass, a city sightseeing card that offers free entry to over 60 of London’s top attractions. In her spare time, Fiona loves exploring her city, visiting exhibitions and venturing off the beaten track.
Opening photo credit: Tony Heywood