Wednesday 20 July 2022

Album Covers in London on a Brompton

On Sunday, 10th July - which seems like ages ago - I went on one of the Friday night ride to the coast day rides. This was a day ride and would see us cycle around London in the pursuit of locations that were album covers. Our ride leader was the gentleman that is and veteran of night rides to the coast Charlie. He said that this was actually the first ride he had been the ride leader of but you would not have known it. We met at Hyde Park at 09:30 and once all attendees had arrived we set off at 10:00. 

We cycled through Hyde Park and the weather was lovely. Warm but with a cool breeze - perhaps magnified and enhanced by the fact we were gliding along on bicycles. 

Our first album was from Carly Simon and titled 'No Secrets.' The cover photo features her standing in front of the Portobello Hotel on Stanley Gardens. 

I cannot tell you how many times I have passed this location and been totally oblivious to this. Naturally, I had to try and get a shot of my Brompton in roughly the same location. 

As soon as we started to head towards NW8 I knew that there could only be one album cover on offer and I was right. 'Abbey Road' was the 11th studio album by the Beatles. Charlie initially stood some way off the famous zebra crossing but soon agreed to stand by it after several people requested it. 

I have been pushed in a pram, dragged on reins, crawled, walked, run, sat down, skateboarded, drive and cycled over that crossing over the years. On this day I simply took a photo or two. 

Not that far away from Abbey Road we had our second album cover featuring Carly Simon. The cover for 'Anticipation' released in 1971 was shot at the gates of St Mary's Gardens in Regents Park. Again another location I have been to many times buy totally unaware of its use as an album cover. 

Despite several requests that Charlie adopt the same pose Carly Simon had chosen, he was having none of it sadly. 

The next album was 'Rise & Fall' by Madness. The photo on the album cover was shot on top of Primrose Hill and although we didn't go to the exact spot, you could see roughly where it was from where we were standing. 

Only a few hundred metres away, outside Chalk Farm tube station was the backdrop for another album cover by Madness. 'Absolutely' was released in 1980.

Again, not too far away was at Camden Market where the 'The Clash' cover was shot in an alleyway opposite the front door of the location they rehearsed, by the band The Clash. One of the traders said that the actual photo was taken a little further away down another alleyway, but we got the idea. 

For the Monopoly lovers among us, passing Pentonville Prison was a bonus. Pentonville has seen some notable former inmates. Oscar Wilde spent some time there in 1895 before being moved to Wandsworth. Footballer George Best in 1984 for driving under the influence. Boy George in 2009 and George Michael in 2010. 

The next album had the backdrop of the Dalston Peace Carnival Mural in Hackney. 'Home' by Rudimental was their debut album and of all the albums featured (along with Abbey Road) is the only album I own myself. 

The next album cover saw us in Whitechapel Road, outside the former home of the infamous Grave Maurice pub. This was originally established in 1723 and rebuilt in 1874. The Kray Twins used to frequent the pub. 'Under the Influence' was a series of compilation albums in which various famous artists/bands chose tracks that influenced their work. Morrissey was asked to do one with the album cover featuring him standing out the Grave Maurice. 

Heading back we cycled along the Victoria Embankment and I spied the memorial to Joseph Bazalgette. I thought that I would quickly take a photo for reasons that will become obvious later on. 

The penultimate album was, ' The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' by David Bowie, released in 1972. 

The original photograph of the album was taken in black and white with the colour being added afterwards. The original location was outside a recording studio off Regents Street but is now a restaurant.


Our final destination saw us up the road in Berwick Street. This street scene with a two people passing each other on Berwick Street was the cover of '(What's the Story) Morning Glory' by Oasis. 

With that done, the ride was over and Charlie did mention that there were several more album covers and locations he could take us to. Perhaps a part 2 ride is in order.

Travelling back to NW8 I passed the former residence of Sir Joseph Bazalgette on Hamilton Terrace. I really do think that an engineer of his caliber would have appreciated an orange folding bicycle!!

Another great ride with great company and many thanks to Charlie for a very interesting ride around London. Definitely one of my favourites. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!!

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