London is one of the most famous cities in the world. It is famous for its buildings, parks, royalty, and of course, its vibrant music scene. If you are into your music, London is one of the best places in the world to visit, but why is this?
In the 1950s, London was looking to America for its influences. Londoners loved music by Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly and wanted to copy it. This gave rise to skiffle music that turned into some of the greatest bands of the 1960s such as The Rolling Stones.
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club was opened in 1959 and it has remained one of the most iconic music venues in London ever since. If you enjoy this genre, you will want to pay the place a visit.
Today, London is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world with music influences to match. Many people came to London from Africa and India in the 1950s and brought their music with them. The immigration that started in the 1950s has given birth to music such as Reggae, Calypso, and Afrobeat, making London as musically diverse as it is culturally diverse.
The 1960s saw the rise of some brilliant music in London, so much so that it became known as the ‘swinging 60s’. The Rolling Stones lived in Chelsea, West London during this era and Bob Dylan played his first gig in London in 1961.
The Beatles were making it big in this decade and the cover of their iconic ‘Abbey Road’ studio album was shot in North London. Even today, this shot is recreated by thousands of visitors every year.
This decade was huge for the London music scene. David Bowie, Elton John, and Queen all lived and worked in the area and their music was famous all over the world, making London famous with it. There were some great influences around. Malcolm McLaren, manager of The Sex Pistols owned a shop with his designer girlfriend of the time, Vivienne Westwood. Together they helped to create the British punk scene with bands such as The Clash playing in the Iconic 100 club in Oxford Street. The British punk scene is still relevant today as it has influenced many more modern bands.
London’s ‘Blitz Club’ was one of the most popular clubs around in this era and many of the bands who went on to become famous in the 1980s hung out here, such as Spandau Ballet, Culture Club, and George Michael.
The 1990s saw the British music scene turn in on itself and create ‘Britpop.’ This was the genre of a huge British pop explosion that saw the likes of Blur, Oasis and The Spice Girls explode in the country. This British sound never made huge waves in America but if you are into alternative/Indie bands, you may have heard of them.
The 1990s saw huge building projects in London. The O2 arena has seen some of the biggest bands in the world play here since it opened at the end of this decade. This made it even easier for huge bands to come to London to play and the city grew in popularity.
The noughties saw a diversity of music across London. Talent show contests were huge in the UK at that time and many of them were filmed in London and later transported across the pond. Subcultures such as grime and dubstep emerged and there was a revival in garage rock and post-punk.
British music was an underground movement in the USA at the beginning of the decade as none of the huge British artists made the Billboard charts that often. However, this made it more interesting for lovers of the London scene to find the artists and music for themselves.
By the end of the decade, this situation had reversed with many artists becoming popular in the USA, increasing the fame of London’s music scene once more.
London is conveniently situated in Western Europe and many famous bands opt to stay in the city while they are touring the continent. London has so many hotels that it is easy to find somewhere central to stay and this means less traveling. Heathrow airport connects London to mainland Europe and most of the continent is accessible within three hours of take-off. There are many smaller venues where musicians can play low-key gigs and practice for the big European stadiums. This has increased the great vibe that is London’s music scene.
Many musicians base themselves in London because they love the vibe. There are so many music genres and fusion bands that it is a great city to live and work in if you are a musician. This has also led to the rise in bands wanting to record in the capital. Visit this London Recording studio if you are in town to see one of the finest London recording studios at work. Set up in 2015, Pirate recording studios now have several studios in the area.
The future of the London music scene looks as good as it has done in the past with many bands choosing to live, work and play live music in the area. With many studios and venues opening across the capital now that the threat of covid has reduced, the city will play host to some of the most famous bands in the world again. The underground scene is also starting to build momentum once more so watch out for some of the hottest bands of the future playing in the smaller, more obscure music venues across the city, and don’t forget to star-spot for today’s rock gods while you are there.