A London rock music tour is the perfect way of visiting the legendary sites of so much rock and roll royalty over the decades. Fun and great memories.
I have always thought I grew up at a perfect time to enjoy rock and roll at its peak. Yes, I was a child of the sixties and a teenager of the seventies. And, for a 10-year period between about 1965 and 1975, British rock dominated the airwaves.
I could bang on for paragraphs naming huge British performers of the time, so let’s just name a few: The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Elton John, David Bowie, Queen, The Moody Blues, Slade, T Rex, and Eric Clapton. Oh, and let’s not forget Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd!
But it wasn’t just the Brits making London the epicenter of world music during this period. Plenty of Americans called London home as well. Think Jimi Hendrix and Carly Simon.
So, with all this rock royalty around London, it’s the perfect venue to bring back great rock and roll memories by taking a London rock music tour.
A London Rock Music Tour is Popular with Tourists from All Over the World
If you search online for a London rock music tour you will see just how popular these tours are. There is a staggering array of tours, just around The Beatles. An Abbey Road tour, an Abbey Road Studios tour, Beatles bus tour, the list goes on and on. It just makes you realize how big The Beatles were (despite not touring after 1964).
We booked with London Rock Tours. Their tag line is “Access All Areas” and it is a fair description of our day with them. We went on a bright, sunny Sunday and started early. A good decision given London traffic can be difficult.
Our co-rockers were from all corners of the world including France, the US, Australia and Korea. We all tumbled into the Magic mini-bus, where Leon, our guide, driver, rock trivia master and DJ, explained how the day would go. And off we went.
Soho was the Center of the London Music Scene
Regardless of whether you like rock music or not, Soho is the center of the artistic world in London. It’s not just secret cocktail bars and great restaurants you find in Soho but there is lots of rock royalty as well.
I’ll name a few. Warren Zevon and the Werewolves of London is set in Soho. Trident Studio, once owned by David Bowie, occupies an incredibly small footprint. Elton John, Queen, Yes, The Beatles and David Bowie himself all recorded albums here. And they all played on the same piano!
A little further on is Tin Pan Alley (there was a Tin Pan Alley in New York City as well) Here you will hear about the Rolling Stones and Black Sabbath. Jimmy Page was the session guitarist at the Regent Studios before eventually hooking up with 3 other guys who went on to become one of the greatest rock and roll band of all time. Led Zeppelin of course!
Soho wasn’t just the location of the recording studios, but also where many of the album covers were designed and it is littered with music clubs and venues.
You will also visit Sir Paul McCartney’s office and hear how he finally got back the rights to all of The Beatles songs.
Visit the Chelsea Drugstore Made Famous by You Can’t Always Get What You Want
On Kings Road in fashionable Chelsea you do visit what was once the drugstore made famous by that great Rolling Stones lyric.
And to be honest, that is the best thing about a London rock music tour, where you get to hear all the behind the scenes gossip from your guide. All these stories with the matching music. It puts everything into context and helps fill in the blanks from our rock and roll memories.
The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Johnny Rotten and The Sex Pistols, Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label all had their home in Kings Road for a time.
Abbey Road and the Battersea Power Station
We all know about the association of The Beatles and Abbey Road. You must visit this location. To visit Abbey Road studios is a dream come true for many people. It is surely the world’s most famous pedestrian crossing. Here you will see people mimicking The Beatles walk. And, sorely testing the patience of the local drivers I might add!
There is much Beatles memorabilia for sale here, as well as from many other acts including Pink Floyd, who also recorded at Abbey Road.
Speaking of Pink Floyd, you will see the Battersea Power Station. It is the scene of the adventures of Algie the giant, inflatable pig, who “escaped” from the tether holding her to the power station. She floated right into the airspace for planes landing at Heathrow and 40 miles further into Kent.
Check the Museums for Rock and Roll Exhibits
Again, speaking of Pink Floyd, and luckily for us being big fans, the Victoria & Albert Museum had a special exhibit on The Pink Floyd while we were in London.
It was a brilliant exhibit full of memorabilia, musical instruments and of course, plenty of The Pink Floyd’s music. The songs changed on your personal headset depending in front of which exhibit you were standing. Lots of great memories there. The finale is sitting in a giant sound room listening and watching a couple of Pink Floyd hits live in concert. It was brilliant.
We have also managed to see a similar exhibit but for David Bowie. It was similarly brilliant, with a lot of the emphasis being on his unusual costumes. So, check the museums in London to see what is on. It is a great encore if you are considering a London rock music tour. (The David Bowie exhibit is currently in Seattle– so also check as you travel around- these exhibits go on tour as well!)
So, our British Rock tour was a hoot. And the best thing? All the great memories when you hear those songs from the past, together with the behind the scenes stories that go with them.
A big thank you to London Rock Tours for hosting us on their Monsters of Rock Tour! As always, our opinions are our own.