This blog post was updated on September 28, 2018.
Guest Post 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.
London is where Jimi Hendrix set his first guitar on fire and played his last show. It’s the city where The Beatles were famously rejected by Decca Records (probably one of the biggest mistakes in music history) and then signed to Parlophone only to become the best-selling band in history.
London is the place that launched a thousand music careers and has been the site of epic concerts and musical feats. You can’t call yourself a true music fan until you’ve visited these legendary landmarks, relics of London’s spectacular music past and present.
Originally named Gaumont Palace when it opened in 1932, this Grade II* Art Deco building has seen noteworthy performances from musicians in every era. It started in Buddy Holly in 1958, when he played his last shows in the UK. After the name was changed to the Hammersmith Odeon, The Beatles played 38 shows over three weeks, the second installment of their Christmas show that included comedy skits and special guests. Throughout the 70s, Hammy-O (as it was affectionately known) was the place music lovers went to see the biggest bands of the times: The Who, David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust, Slade, and Queen.
After a £5 million renovation, this venue remains one of the best preserved concert spaces in London. The Eventim Apollo is where performers with super stage presence and charisma really stand out – they fill the stands with their presence and create an amazing atmosphere.
When the Camden Theatre opened on Boxing Day in 1900, it became one of the largest theatre venues outside of West London. It has seen a number of reincarnations, once as a cinema and then as BBC broadcasting studio. In the 70s, the venue was renamed The Music Machine and in 1972 they hosted The Last Goon Show of All which was attended by several members of the Royal Family. Later, The Music Machine became the central location for the eponymous film released in 1979.
The year after the film, the concert hall hosted the last show Billy Hassett played with The Chords. The vibe between them became hostile and he was later replaced by Kip Herring. In 1982, venue was renamed Camden Palace until it fell into a state of disrepair. In 2004, the theatre was restored and called KOKO, now hosting live performances and club nights open to all.
3 Savile Row, Mayfair
Despite being populated with world-renowned tailors and beautiful Georgian homes, this address is probably the most famous in all of rock ‘n’ roll history. During The Beatles’ heyday, this home was home to Apple Corps Ltd. multimedia group of companies including their recording studio. The address became known as the Apple Building.
The real legacy of this locations is that it is the place that hosted The Beatle’s final performance and one of the greatest moments in music history. The Beatles were filming a documentary about their experiences and they needed a way to end it, so on 30 January 1969 the band got on to the roof of their office and started playing around noon. Crowds of workers on their lunch break gathered, perhaps one of the best treats they could receive of all time – a free Beatles concert! The band played for 45 minutes before being shut down by police after complaints from local businesses.