1960s London was truly swinging; an exciting place where music and fashion thrived.
In this post, I’ll be sharing a number of music videos which were all shot in 1960s London. Even though the medium was still in its infancy during this era there are still some cracking promos to discover!
This collection is the first in a series. In future posts I shall be looking at London music videos from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Be sure to subscribe if you don’t want to miss out on them!
In the meantime, stay well and enjoy.
Concrete and Clay: Unit 4+2, Barbican EC2 (1965)
‘Unit 4+2‘ were formed in Hertfordshire in the early 1960s. Their record Concrete and Clay reached the number one slot in April 1965.
1960s London was still pitted with many WWII bomb sites and this video was filmed on the biggest of them all: a gigantic crater covering an area once known as Cripplegate. This district was obliterated in the Blitz and the building work you can see going on here was forging a brand new development: the place we now known as the Barbican.
As you can see, the lads from Unit 4+2 are all decked out in their finest suits- the need for high-viz and hardhats didn’t seem to be much of a requirement back then!
Can you identify any of the older buildings which are visible in the background of this video? If so, please let me know in the comments.
Subterranean Homesick Blues: Bob Dylan, Savoy Steps WC2 (1965)
The iconic promo for Subterranean Homesick Blues in which Bob Dylan flips through hand-written cards bearing his lyrics is one of the best known examples of an early music video.
It was made for the 1965 documentary, Don’t Look Back which charted Dylan’s tour of the UK. Whilst in London, Dylan (then only in his mid-20s) stayed at the Savoy Hotel and this video was shot behind that grand building, in front of an alley called Savoy Steps.
The two figures having a conversation in the background are the folk singer-songwriter, Bob Neuwirth and American poet, Allen Ginsberg.
Two alternative and much lesser known versions of Subterranean Homesick Blues were filmed at other locations around the Savoy. One appears to be on the roof of the hotel itself whilst the other is in nearby Victoria Embankment Gardens.
You can see these other sites in the remixed video below:
Paperback Writer: The Beatles, Chiswick House W4 (1966)
This music promo featuring the Fab Four at Chiswick House was recently given the HD treatment. As such it looks incredible- it’s so sharp you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was filmed yesterday rather than in the 1960s London of of 55 years ago.
Sadly it would appear The Beatles forgot to bring their drum kit along to Chiswick House that day, so poor Ringo is relegated to sitting on the floor like a kid in a school assembly.
Hey Joe & Purple Haze: The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Marquee Club W1 (1967)
Despite being born in Seattle and serving time in the US army, it was in 1960s London that the legendary Jimi Hendrix flourished. Jimi lived here and, tragically, died here aged just 27.
The following clip, which showcases Hey Joe and Purple Haze, was filmed in March 1967 at the former Marquee Club on Soho’s Wardour Street, for a segment on the West German music show Beat Club.
Lazy Sunday: The Small Faces, Havering Street E1 (1968)
The Small Faces were a quintessential London band who mixed catchy tunes with a quirky sense of humour.
Much of this fun video was filmed on Havering Street which is situated between Commercial Road and Cable Street in London’s east end. The home featured was that of the group’s drummer, Kenny Jones.
Note the outdoor toilet!
The Rolling Stones: Jumpin' Jack Flash, Wycombe Road HA0 (1968)
This performance of Jumpin’ Jack Flash was filmed on 11 December 1968 as part of the ill-fated The Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus concert.
Many other performers were also involved, including Jethro Tull, The Who, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
The gig was intended to be broadcast on television but ended up being withheld by Mick Jagger. The reasons for this are disputed, although the most popular theory is that the band were drained at the time following a gruelling schedule and Jagger was unhappy with the subsequent performance. The show was finally made available in 1996.
The Rolling Stones Rock & Roll Circus was filmed in a tent inside the former Intertel studio (owned by ITV) on Wycombe Road, located between Alperton and Stonebridge Park.
Ambrose Slade: Genesis, Euston Station NW1(1969)
Most people know Slade as one of the ’70s biggest glam-rock groups, famous for hits such as Mama Weer All Crazee Now and Cum on Feel the Noize.
Before that era though they were briefly known as Ambrose Slade. Under that name, they released a single entitled Genesis, the video for which was filmed at Euston station.
When this promo was made in 1969, the rebuilt Euston station was brand new having only been open for one year. Over fifty years later, you can still tell that this is Euston- although it’s strange to see prices listed in shillings inside such a modern building!
Are there any other music videos filmed in 1960s London that you can think of? If so please let me know in the comments.
Next time: the 1970s.