First London Gigs: Mapping Great Musical Debuts In The Capital

By Londonist Last edited 62 months ago
First London Gigs: Mapping Great Musical Debuts In The Capital

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There aren't many artists who haven't played a gig in London. Whether they are homegrown acts or touring stars, most of them have performed somewhere in the capital. That's why we decided to start a map showing the locations of London debuts by major artists.

Unsurprisingly, famous arenas and Soho clubs dominate our interactive map; singers and bands from abroad, are normally pretty big names before they get here. However, several more-suburban locations have their claims-to-fame too (Coldplay in what's now Brewdog Camden, for example).

Sometimes, one venue has hosted the first performance of more than one artist; Wembley Arena is perhaps an obvious example. But here's a challenge — have a look around to see if you can find the place when this happened in the same month and the same year.

We've also chronologically colour-coded our pins by decade. Dark blue pins represent first London gigs after 2000, red for the 90s, green for the 80s, light blue for the 70s, yellow for the 60s and everything before that is pinned in pink. This system hasn't really revealed any groundbreaking patterns to us, but it does make it easier to browse the artists you are interested in.

Further to that, where there was a story to tell, we've added a little anecdote onto the pin. So do make sure you check them all out, or you may never discover who tore down promotional posters in a fit of rage prior to their debut show.

The map above is intended as a starting point only. We welcome suggestions for additions in the comments below, and will add to the map as we go along.

By Emily Groves

Last Updated 13 March 2013


Iron Maiden's first gig at St Nick's Hall in Poplar! 1st May 1976

Mark Walley

Kraftwerk's first London gig was in Croydon? FACT OF THE DAY.


Prince at the Lyceum, 2nd June 1981:


I cannot believe that you have left out the ROLLING STONES!!!!!!!!!!!

Ed Kynaston

the railway club,the high numbers(the who),1964, or the marquee club 1965
or any stones or beatles gigs

Ed Kynaston

or pink floyd


I'd heard that Bob Dylan played his first gig in the King and Queen in Fitzrovia. There's a few vaguely substantiated references to it around:

and of course on wikipedia:

Catherine Sykes

David Bowie started off in the Three Tuns on Beckenham High Street in 1969, which is now a Bowie-themed Zizzi restaurant. Beckenham is technically Kent, but it is in Zone 4, so I think it counts as London!

Paul Ashby

Hawkwind - 29/08/69 All Saints Hall, Notting Hill. The fortieth annversary show was held to the day and just up the road at the Porchester Hall.

Paul Ashby

Fairport Convention's first public performance was at Saint Michaels Church Hall, Golders Green, on 27 May 1967. The original line-up was Ashley Hutchings (bass), Simon Nicol (rhythm guitar), Richard Thompson (lead guitar) and Shaun Frater (drums).

Paul Ashby

Neil Young (with Crosby, Stills and Nash) Albert Hall, 06 01 1970


according to wikipedia, first Rolling Stones gig was at Marquee Club in July 1962


Beatles' 1st London gig - Palais Ballroom, Aldershot; 09 December 1961