London has been known as a creative, inspirational hub for artists for centuries, so it’s no wonder many home-grown musical talents have paid homage to their muse by giving it a starring role on the cover of some of their best-selling albums. Here are five famous London landmarks you can visit around the capital and recreate for your own amusement - maybe give the weary drivers that have to go through Abbey Road a break for once though…
Emphatically not-Londoners, Oasis used the petite Berwick Street in Soho for the cover of their hugely successful second album ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’. Home to dozens of independent record shops and some legendary live music venues, the choice of this street was an insider one, and though shot in 1995, it’s one of the few streets to have barely changed in 20 years. Go for a stroll along here you’ll recognise the location immediately - you should also take the opportunity to stop off in Soho’s incredible variety of restaurants, pop-up ventures and of course its famous bar scene.
One street scene that has changed quite significantly since it shot to fame in 1972 as the cover of David Bowie’s album ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust’ is Heddon Street, just off Regent Street. Now pedestrianised and peppered with cafes and bars, Heddon Street is a popular detour from the intensity of the shopping in the surrounding streets, plus you can also seek out the commemorative plaque in the mythical, mystical Mr. Stardust’s honour.
The most famous and photographed of all album cover locations ever (and possibly one of the most photographed streets in the UK) has to be Abbey Road. Hosting not only the legendary studios where other giants such as Pink Floyd recorded iconic albums, it featured as the cover of their 1969 album, Abbey Road. The North London Studios now also house an artists’ institute where students can improve their technique, but what you really want to do is wait your turn to stop traffic, walk across swinging your arms and grin sideways at the camera.
Now a London sight and lively area to explore in its own right, it was arguably Pink Floyd who propelled the disused Battersea Power Station building into the limelight in 1976. The band staged a photo shoot for their ‘Animals’ album that involved tethering an enormous, inflatable pig to one of the station’s chimneys; pigs might only fly in theory, but this one actually did, interrupting flight paths above Heathrow and startling pilots midair - and securing a page in rock and roll history.
Other high fliers in the name of album art include the Rolling Stones, who in 1966 rounded off an early-morning recording session with a photo shoot at the top of Primrose Hill for their ‘Between the Buttons’ artwork. One of the capital’s best viewpoints and celebrity-friendly neighbourhoods, why not see if you can wander onto the exact spot their photo was shot from and recreate your own?
You can visit all these snap-spots and more easily from Amba Hotel Charing Cross, which is conveniently located right in the heart of London’s West End.