I’m sure you’ve heard or read the famous words attributed to Samuel Johnson … “Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
And while there are times when I feel London is simply too much, I never feel that way about it in late Autumn. I love the feel of the city in the run up to December and Christmas, when there are still leaves on the trees and the early mornings are misty. I’ve written about my love of London books and favourite London walks; now I’m adding to that theme by sharing my favourite five London songs.
Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty: Released in 1978, this is a London classic. Rafferty actually wrote it about a man who dreams of owning a house, and living away from his nearest town. However, because he is a drunk, that goal in unachievable. He drinks to forget what he doesn’t have, and never realizes he’s a “rolling stone” with no direction. The saxophone solo has to be one of best ever.
London Calling by The Clash: Released in 1979, this is an iconic London song, even if the lyrics are rather apocalyptic. The title alludes to the BBC World Service‘s station identification: “This is London calling …“, which was used during World War II, often in broadcasts to occupied countries.
Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks: Released in 1967, the song is set around Waterloo Station and sings the praises of a Waterloo sunset while following a couple through the area. The Terry who meets Julie was thought to be a reference to British actors Terence Stamp and model Julie Christie.
West End Girls by The Pet Shop Boys: Released in 1984, its 1980s sound is unmistakable, and listening to it always makes me think of big hair and shoulder pads. But it’s the chorus that’s key, because it’s not hard to go out in London and find east end boys and west end girls meeting in bars today.
Hometown Glory by Adele: Released in 2007, Hometown Glory was Adele’s debut song and written about her home suburb of West Norwood. She’s supposed to have written in about 10 minutes after her mum tried to persuade her to leave home for university.