Friday, 5 July 2019

The Who In London No.2

As the London Music Tour kicks off at Tottenham Court Road, and with The Who in town this weekend…

Here's the plaque for Keith Moon the Marquee Club, Wardour Street W1

When the words “rock'n'roll excess” are being bandied about, nine-times-out-of-ten the man who set the hotel room-trashing, hard-drinking benchmark was the drummer of The Who, Keith Moon. Ten-times-out-of-ten that excess found Soho a forgiving host.

You won’t have to wait around too long in London to find someone of the opinion that such bad behaviour is hardly plaque-worthy. But as we get on for half-a-century since the so-called Swinging Sixties, more and more of that generation’s famous sons and daughters are being commemorated.

Moon remains one of the most respected drummers of the era, driving The Who’s singles, albums and rock operas from 1963 to 1978. The plaque also commemorates The Marquee, one of the leading Soho music venues from the 1960s to the 1980s. The club gave a stage to the leading lights of both the 60s R&B boom (The Stones, The Moody Blues) and the Punk Movement (The Stranglers, Generation X). The Wardour Street club closed in 1988. It outlasted Moon by a decade. Keith Moon died in 1978 at the age of 32. His other London plaque can be found in the Garden of Remembrance at Golders Green Crematorium.

We visit the plaque (pictured above) on the Rock'n'Roll London Walk every Friday 

The Great London Sleeves…

Just as the gritty alley on The Clash’s debut album introduced the band as outlaw punks, so too does The Who’s debut sleeve send a clear signal of intent.

Shot by David Wedgbury at Surrey Docks, Rotherhithe in November 1965, the placement of the band amid oil drums suggests that flammable material can be found on the record. An apt metaphor for not just My Generation, but for The Who’s long, loud, explosive career.

The area today is Surrey Quays (with its own station on the Jubilee Line extension) a largely residential area.

The band had already worked with Wedgbury, back in March of the same year, and it is a shot from that earlier session that adorns the U.S version of the sleeve (below).

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