The London Bar Scene of the Early Rolling Stones

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Keith Richards (via Gibson.com) Credit: Bent Rej

Keith Richards (via Gibson.com) Credit: Bent Rej

If you ever get the chance to spend some time in Britain, and you have more than a passing interest in the rise of the Rolling Stones from local blues band to international superstars, then a stop in London is guaranteed Stones heaven.

Having booked a taxi cab or a car service to ferry you from London’s Heathrow airport to central London you might want to ask the driver to make a short detour through the leafy suburb of Richmond. Ask the driver to take you to the pub at One Kew Road. In the early 1960s this was the Crawdaddy club, mecca for British blues and the Rolling Stones, who scored their first residency here in 1963.

This article was written by Andrew Vaughan and originally appeared on Gibson.com.

It’s still much the same and somehow the smoky, beer-infused blues and rock and roll vibes of yesteryear still permeate the area, especially if you close your eyes and drift back to 1963.

You might then want to head to the hippest section of central London, Soho, and take a drink in De Hems, at 11 Macclesfield Street. It’s an old Dutch pub and in the early ’60s was the preferred drinking spot for London’s top music journalists and reporters, therefore a hub for all managers, agents and publicists in the biz. Andrew Loog Oldham drank and schmoozed there and was tipped off by journalist Peter Jones about a hip new band playing out in Richmond, then named the Rollin’ Stones.

Related: Bill Wyman talks about the birth of the Rolling Stones

Oldham took Jones’s advice, quickly made himself the band’s manager and the rest, as they say, is rock and roll history. There are so many Rolling Stones related landmarks in Britain’s capital city that you could easily fill two weeks of vacation days with pilgrimages to the sites where London got Stoned. There’s the grand Courthouse Hotel at 19-21 Great Marlborough Street. Before it was a hotel, and yes the name gives it away, the place was a Court that saw both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards accused of possession of things illegal. You need to check out the site of the original Marquee Club, at 165 Oxford Street, where on July 12, 1962, a six-piece group made up of Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Ian Stewart, Dick Taylor and Mick Avory, made their live debut bashing out covers by the likes of Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry.

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