I’m very excited to launch my ambitious new series of live virtual tours this week – London Calling Series I: The 1960s
By the end of all 6 episodes we will have developed a broad and colourful picture of that monumental musical decade here in London.
Tours are bookable as single episodes at £10 each or as Season Membership for £36 (saving 40%). With Season Membership you also get access to password-protected recordings of each tour – so if you have to miss one of the live events, you can catch up later in your own time. Recordings are available until 27th December 2020.
Episode One Monday 23rd November: Rock’n’Roll London
Introduction. The West End – context and theatre history going back to the 1660s, the effect of WWII on the entertainment industry in the West End and the birth of the British music industry.
Episode Two Tuesday 24th November: Dylan in 60s London
Bob Dylan, his first visits to London in 1962, ’64, ’65 & ’66 – we’ll discuss his effect on the direction of British pop music and how, in turn, British artists influenced him. We’ll also look at the evolution of performance venues in London, the drug laws of the day and how Londoners (Bob Dylan among them) lived in a city still rebuilding in the aftermath of WWII.
Episode Three Wednesday 25th November: Beatles & Stones
The two biggest names of the 60s pop – we’ll foreground the story of The Rolling Stones and contrast it with that of The Beatles. The differences are famously vivid – but it’s in the the common ground between these nine young men that we see the emergence of a new attitude toward pop music. Somewhere between Episode 2 and Episode 3, pop becomes art.
Episode Four Monday 30th November: Beatlemania! 1961-1965
The rise, rise and RISE of The Beatles. From obscurity in Trafalgar Square and failure in West Hampstead 1961/62, we’ll be swept along on their journey to pop-stardom in ‘63, movie-stardom ‘64 and ultimately Buckingham Palace in 1965. Along the way we’ll consider drugs and the law, the Ban The Bomb movement, the assassination of JFK, the sex scandal that brought down a government and the roll of the BBC in the development of pop.
Episode Five Tuesday 1st December: The Kinks
This tour steps away from central London to look at the work of Swinging London’s perennial outsider, Ray Davies. The career of The Kinks in the 1960s allows us to explore pop group dynamics, the grubbier side of the music business dream and, of course, tales of drunkenness and cruelty. We’ll examine the myth of Swinging London and, of course, look at the most esoteric musical journey in all of 60s pop.
Episode Six Wednesday 2nd December: Pink Floyd
In our last episode we’ll take our 60s tale up to 1967 and the point where America begins to re-assert its claim as the world hub of pop culture. We’ll see where all the artistic efforts of the previous episodes have been leading – a counterculture that burned brightly and quickly, the first drug casualty along the way and we’ll glimpse the shape of things to come in the 1970s, a world where pop is a silly word and Rock is king.