South West London:
A Musical Tour of South
West London; Home is Where the Music is
Musicians in South West London and why the area has been so musical.
As a long time (0-26)
inhabitant of Barnes/Sheen in SW London, one of the most common
of the musical history of the area is a house on The Terrace next to the river
bares a plaque
the composer Gustav Holst (The Planets),
who lived in the house between 1913-34.
Holst, who was born in (place), lived at
23 and 31 Grena Road in Richmond
to 10 The Terrace, Barnes (1908-13) where a plaque was unveiled on
25 April 1963. According to H Charles Hailstone (Richmond and Twickenham
Sat 27 April 1963) the years Holst spent in Barnes were “amongst
[the] most prolific”.
Hailstone suggested that it was the views
over the river and into Chiswick that inspired Holst
music in no 10. He composed 2 psalms for chorus and string orchestra,
2 suites for military band, more hymns from the Riga Veda* for chorus & orchestra
a 1 act opera (Salvitri). Imogen Holst,
the composer’s daughter (b …), a musician
in her own right,
noted in her biography of her father (Gustav Holst, 1938, OUP) that
to “walk over to
Sheen Common in the hopes of finding a little
St Pauls girls school in Hammersmith
from 1904. He went on to write
a work in homage
to Hammersmith, which
is also on the river.
the composer’s daughter (b …) and a musician in her own right,
noted in her biography
of her father (Gustav Holst, 1938, OUP) that he
used to “walk over to Sheen Common in the hopes
of finding a little
peace”. Gustav Holst taught at St Pauls girls school in Hammersmith
He went on to write a work in homage to Hammersmith, which
is also on the river.
Another, perhaps more famous, musical inhabitant
of South West London is Mick Jagger
of the Rolling Stones who has lived/lives
on Richmond Hill. The Mystery Jetslive(d)
Crispian Mills (twitter, facebook), Kula Shaker frontman
was born in Hammersmith
and also spent time in Hampton.
"In 1986, Gilmour purchased the houseboat Astoria which is moored
the River Thames near Hampton Court, and transformed it into
a recording studio. The majority of
the two most recent Pink Floyd
as well as
On an Island,
were recorded there."
(Mabbett, Andy (2010). Pink Floyd - The Music and the Mystery. London:
Omnibus,.ISBN 9781849383707. quoted on wikipedia, accessed 16 Jan 2011)
The Olympic Impact of Barnes
A famous music venue (google map) in Barnes is the world
famous jazz pub
The Bulls Head which becamea jazz venue in 1959 and has hosted such musicians as
Incidentally, this is only a stones throw Holst's
In this first 'chapter' I'd like to assess
the impact of Olympic Studios
in Barnes, South West London.
It became a studio in the late 1950s and
closed in 2009. The sucess of a studio depends on
a number of factors,
most importantly the staff, the equipment and the space(s).
Why did musicians
choose to record their music at Olympic? Some of the studios users may
have used it simply as they lived nearby; Andrew Lloyd Webber and
whom then lived in nearby Barnes (?), recorded Evita
there in 1976. Rice explained in 1996;
“I became very attached
to Barnes, where the Olympic Studios still thrives,
having first got to
SW13 in 1970, when we recorded Jesus Christ
live just down the road from Olympic”
(Rice, T., Evita; 20th Anniversary
Edition, RCA, 1996)
Maybe Olympic’s choice of engineers
contributed to its success. Rice further explained that
Hamilton Smith, the recording engineer was virtually a third producer.
His prime asset
is that he is a very funny man, but his impeccable work
at the desk was crucial.’ (1)
'The Mix Suite has been the home of numerous
top singles & albums over the last 5 years
since it was opened.
joint venture between Mark ‘Spike’ Stent & Olympic, the
a 64 channel SSL 4000G Series console, extensive outboard
Views of the garden & full use of the
conservatory & kitchen
add to the experience.
Recent clients include Madonna,
No Doubt and Wheatus."
"Each studio has its own separate lounge
which, together with our restaurant, garden
and tennis court/5-aside football
pitch, provide much required R&R"
Brian May was born in Hampton and attended Hampton School
Brian May in Kew?
Queen recorded parts of their album The Miracle
at Olympic Studios in 1989 but they also
recorded music from this album
in The Townhouse Studios (London) and Mountain Studios
so perhaps the band didn’t feel that Olympic catered to all of their
Which parts did they record at Olympic? By 1991’s Innuendo,
(the year Freddie died),
the band apparently favoured Metropolis Studios
in London over Olympic.
Roy Orbison lived in Wimbledon.
Half Moon pub/venue in Putney.
My own experiences
I studied music at Shene School (now Shene International School), Richmond
Upon Thames College,
Surrey University Roehampton (formerly Roehampton
Institute and now Roehampton University)
and Kingston University. At least
2 of my fellow students from Shene (& RUTC)
one (Chris) as a jazz singer, another (Jo Caleb) as a jazz guitarist
as well as helping to run JazzTalent, a jazz music
agency with his wife (a singer),
of which the Chris is a member. Since
becoming involved with transit station
(after finishing my study at Kingston)
I have met other musicians who live
in the area (Kingston Upon Thames).
I became aware of the Richmond Music Trust
whilst working with Sheen Mount School
as a pianist in 2005.
works with children within schools to
and help them with learning
Richmond Upon Thames
"Tommy Steele, the fifties singer, was
perhaps the first rock musician to move to Richmond.
outside Richmond town, not far from seventeenth century Ham House.
have a long association
with the area that started with
at the Crawdaddy Club
(opposite Richmond Station) in 1963
and Eel Pie Island
Twickenham. Years later Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall
bought a house on Richmond Hill
overlooking an impressive view
Thames. Mick's fellow Stone, Ron Woods,
at one time owned
favourite house "The Wick" on the Hill."
worldinfozone.com/features.php?section=Richmond accessed 20 July 2010
The Fades - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fades
Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mick_Jagger
Pete Townshend of The Who / Soloist - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Townshend
Mollie King of The Saturdays - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mollie_King
Kingston Upon Thames
The Cricketers - Grey Horse - Fighting Cocks - The Peel - Rose Theatre