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Travelling London - London Songs That Take You Places

Updated on March 6, 2013
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London Songs Get You In The Mood

Travelling London – Let Songs Take You Places

Looking for tunes to get you in the mood for your upcoming visit to London? Perhaps it is your first time and you want to get a proper feel for the big town. As a Londoner, I’ve thoughtfully compiled your playlist for arriving in London.

As you get used to the rush, the trains, the tubes, the buzz and finally find your hotel for your first night in the cultural capital of the world, arrive chilled to the sound of the tunes that led you to this famous destination.

You’ll be surprised how many songs reference places you will see in your first few days as you wander to tube stations, visit Big Ben and marvel at how close by everything is in London.

Grab yourself a map and make sure you see the places from some of the songs. London places inspired these artists for good reasons.

This playlist ensures you enjoy a smile or two alongside a trip down London’s musical memory lane. If you are looking for an itinerary with a difference, let the songs take you places.

Press Play Before Touching Down At Heathrow

1. Cool for Cats by Squeeze – this cockney song tells the story of underworld crime in the Heathrow area and a group of likely lads who end up in Wandsworth Prison.

2. Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks – the song is now a huge karaoke favourite and discusses the famous walk to London from the south side train station Waterloo and over the bridge.

3. Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty – Marylebone is often known as the area coloured orange on the Monopoly board. Baker Street is the name of the tube station you need to get there and the name of the street made famous by Arthur Conan Doyle’s character of Sherlock Holmes. The current BBC series films from the address, which is still there, so visit number 221B and stop in at the nice coffee shop next door. Watch out for Moriarty.

4. Portobello Road by Cat Stevens - Portobello Road is one of several famous London markets selling clothes, antiques, vintage jewellery, crafts, foodie gifts and home to stunning stand up and eat food stalls. It is famous for shoes, particularly for men’s casuals. London’s markets are becoming cutting edge for discovering new twists on world cuisine. You can soak up the fashion sense of the ultra cool crowd that hangs out here while eating a bowl of tasty noodles.

5. Carnaby Street by The Jam - This mini village in Mayfair has 67 Independent Boutiques 44 Unique Concept Stores, 37 Global Fashion Brands and is regarded as the centre of London shopping. Carnaby Street is, quite literally, a very long street, surrounded by lots of side streets that make up Carnaby Village. As you enter the famous “Carnaby Street” steel archway, know you have landed in shopping heaven and must pay homage.

6. I was There (At The Coronation) by Young Tiger – Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953 and has her Diamond Jubilee celebrations ready for summer 2012. This is the cutest calypso song from all those years ago by Young Tiger and tells the story of waiting for a glimpse of Her Majesty; “ I took up my position at Marble Arch on the night before just to see the march, the wind was blowing a breeze so cold, but I held my position like a young Creole.” Walk from Marble Arch up Pall Mall to Buckingham Palace to see the home of London’s most famous resident.

7. My Old Man’s a Dustman by Lonnie Donegan – arguably the most famous cockney slang song talks about the East End and captures the famous cockney sense of humour by telling a few jokes along the way.

8. Common People by Pulp – St Martin’s College in London has had many famous artists begin there. It is the part of London where the Pre Raphelite brotherhood began.

9. Electric Avenue by Eddie Grant (Brixton) – the Brixton local originally from Jamaica summed up the new London cool of the 80s.

10. The Wombling Song by the Wombles of Wimbledon – this famous band of wombles represented homeless scroungers, who lived in ‘posh’ Wimbeldon and considered themselves a bit above the rest.

11. Itchycoo Park by The Small Faces about Ilford Park. There are many suggestions that this song alludes to drug taking, but it is still a corker of a song that makes me think of London.

12. One Man Band – Leo Sayer (Ladbroke Grove) – he speaks of Notting Hill’s Ladbroke Grove as where everyone knows him. It is said that every London postcode has its own community and culture.

13. London Calling – The Clash – punk phase which was a bit whiney, but hey, that was punk.

14. Chumbawamba – Tubthumping – the ultimate song that sums up the British attitude to everything – football, singing and good old fun times getting your knees up!

15. Driving in My Car - Madness - quintessential English song about buying your car in Primrose Hill from "some bloke from Brazil". The hilarious Madness have to be in the tunes list.

So just before you land at Heathrow, lie back, relax, and listen to the sounds of London. I’ve compiled the playlist on YouTube, so you can just download it if you like. Happy listening.

The History and Footage of The Coronation 1952

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  • hush4444 profile image

    hush4444 5 years ago from Hawaii

    Oh, how fun! What a wonderful idea for a hub. I wish I were leaving for Heathrow tonight. I'll just have to console myself with reruns of "Luther". I'll be sure to bookmark this for my dream trip back to the UK.

  • Beth Pipe profile image

    Beth Pipe 5 years ago from Cumbria, UK

    What a brilliant hub! I knew most of the songs but not their histories. Tubthumpin' is also one of my favourite tunes when I feel like the world is against me. Cheers!

  • ElizaDoole profile image
    Author

    Lisa McKnight 5 years ago from London

    Thanks Hush and Beth. There's nothing like having the tunes on the plane as you touch down and wait at customs. There is a definite "feel" to the UK vibe that sums that up. Which one is your favourite?

  • Richieb799 profile image

    Richieb799 5 years ago from Cardiff, Wales UK

    Haha, great idea for a hub, Electric Avenue is a good choice.. I went to Brick Lane last year and it was quite mad, especially at night. I don't have comment boxes on all my hubs because I leave space for the ad to be visible, thank you for the inspiring comments though, its nice to have good followers :)

  • ElizaDoole profile image
    Author

    Lisa McKnight 5 years ago from London

    I can't get Electric Avenue out of my head since I recorded this hub.

  • ElizaDoole profile image
    Author

    Lisa McKnight 5 years ago from London

    Thanks for the vote, I hope the songs get you in the mood for your visit one day.

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