Thursday, 14 April 2016

#LondonSongs - The London Boys #Bowie

With the launch of The Rolling Stones Walk on the 5th May 2016 and the return of the Rock'n'Roll London Pub walk on Wednesday nights from the 4th May 2016 the London Walks summer programme 2016 will feature no less than FIVE regular musical-themed walking tours.

To mark the occasion, April is Music Month on The Daily Constitutional!

A month of plaques, locations, facts, reviews and more lies ahead. And I'm compiling the Ultimate London Playlist – get in touch with your favourite London song or piece!

DC Editor Adam writes… During Music Month I'm collecting London music to shape The Big London Playlist. 

David Bowie - The London Boys 1966

Much neglected, sometimes derided, often disowned by the man himself, David Bowie’s 1960s output remains a constant source of fascination to me. For the most part, between '64 and '69, he's playing catch-up - following the herd in sound and vision. Musically he drew from the communal well of black R&B standards; visually his look was dictated by the prevailing winds. He's learning in public.

Every so often, though, we get a glimpse of the individuality that shot him so far ahead of the pack when he finally hit his stride with Hunky Dory - The London Boys is, for me, one such example. A gay hymn to swinging London, as wistful as anything by Ray Davies, it features Bowie's first classic dramatic vocal delivery. 

It's a hidden gem – we first find it tucked away on the b-side of the single Rubber Band. Such a stark tale of pill-popping and fitting in was anathema to the hit parade of '66? It's hard to imagine it selling in a market place where the likes of Manfred Mann were la-la-ing their way through such ditties as Pretty Flamingo. But what matters is that it's the sound of Bowie being his own man. Part of its perfection is that it's a song about a young man finding his place in the world. It's his first moment of greatness.

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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