Sunday, February 3, 2013

West London: Cradle of Rock

How is it that thousands of rock fans will beat a path to Liverpool, yet the ‘Cradle of Rock’ – London’s Acton-Ealing/Richmond/Hanwell triangle – remains a rarely visited backwater, discovered only by the most ardent of fans? I guess the answer is obvious; The Beatles. Yet, even Beatle history is writ large around west London. West London’s roll call of fame includes The Rolling Stones; The Who; Deep Purple; Queen, and more recently the Magic Numbers, Lily Allen and Jamiroquai. Yes, we know about Liverpool’s Cavern but where would rock be without the Crawdaddy, The Ealing Blues, Club, Eelpie Island or The Goldhawk Club? A quick search of rock bios finds a host of artists associated with these boroughs; Dusty Springfield grew up here, as did Fleetwood Mac’s John McVie, Hendrix’s drummer, Mitch Mitchell, Rick Wakeman, and all of the Who; Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott died at his home in the area. There are sites connected with Zep, Uriah Heep and a host of other grerat acts. Even now the borough boats its share of famed resindents including members of Iron Mai
den and the Manic Street Preachers. Perhaps one reason why it remains comparatively unknown is the absence of local marketing. It’s the old problem; no one of political importance considers rock heritage to be worth preserving or promoting. Well, thankfully, there’ll soon be another commemorative wall plaque to add to the one for the Ealing Blues Club and at Ace Cafe; the site of Jim Marshall’s shop – birthplace of Marshall Amps – is to get one on April 6th this year. And Beatle sites in the area? Well-known scenes from both films were shot in and around Richmond, and the world’s first-ever promo film for ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Rain’ was shot at nearby Chiswick House (see photo). The ‘cradle or rock’ is certainly worth a visit!

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