There are certain places, which just resonate with the spirit of a time and a sound. All along Mathew Street in Liverpool you can hear the sound of pop, as we know it today music taking it’s first tentative steps and Bleecker Street in New York still oozes with the primordial juices that gave birth to a certain strain of street punk. There are certain dark corners and forgotten alleyways that are still haunted by the ghosts of the 60’s rock and roll boom and in particular its most famous sons…The Rolling Stones.
Suburban boys they may have been, stealing into the blues clubs and bars to sit in with established bandleaders such as Alexis Korner and learn their trade, but from the moment they had found their musical soul mates, they were at the heart of London’s music scene and the sixties could really get underway.
Flamingo Club, 33-37 Wardour St, London
If the story of The Stones as a gigging band starts anywhere, it starts here on 14th January 1963. There had been formative versions of the band throughout the previous year but this was the first time Mick, Keith, Brian, Bill, Charlie and the soon to be sidelined Ian “Stu” Stewart played their first full live gig together. It’s now just a regular chain pub but you can still have a pint and dream about those heady days.
Ken Colyer’s Studio 51, 10 Great Newport St, London
And anyone on the Rolling Stone’s trail will want to find themselves at the place where things really took off for the band. Outside what was then called Studio 51, manager Andrew Loog Oldham bumped into Lennon and McCartney and talked them into donating one of their songs to help put The Stones on the map. The result was top 20 hit, I Wanna Be Your Man, which both launched their career and proved that any rivalry between the bands was just clever marketing.
Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park has gone down in Stones lore as an iconic marker, coming as it did 2 days after the death of Brian Jones. Mick Taylor was recruited to the band and the show did indeed go on…to half a million punters.
Olympic Studios, 117-123 Church Road, London
And if The Beatles are synonymous with Abbey Road, The Stones are associated with Olympic Studios. After recording in America where the technology had advanced beyond what the UK had to offer at the time, this was the site of the band coming home and finding a new sound. It is a sound typified by songs such as Sympathy For The Devil and is highlighted by Jean-Luc Godard’s famous footage of the band’s recording of that track. The building is once again the site of a recording studio and art house cinema.
Munro Terrace and Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London
And once the money was rolling in, they did what every self –respecting rock star does and bought a nice swanky house in Chelsea. There, members of the band have owned property here; hence it’s nickname of Rolling Stones Row! Keith bought No 3 in 1968, Mick moved in to no 48 the same year and Ronnie owned 103 for a couple of years in the early 2000’s. Munro Terrace is also of interest as it was the bands office and a Stones throw away from their residences.