Editor's Choice

Camden Town: Exploring London’s Music Scene

by Deborah Chatham
Photos by Deborah Chatham
and Colt Burkett

History of Camden Town
For the music lover, no trip to London is complete without a day spent in Camden Town, affectionately known as simply Camden. Throughout British history, Camden has been prominent in the arts, from poetry and literature to music especially. Notable past residents of Camden include Charles Dickens who had a second London home in Camden and incorporated the area into his novels. The Cratchits from A Christmas Carol (1843) and the Micawbers in David Copperfield (1850) each resided in Camden. Dylan Thomas, the 20th-century poet, lived in Camden until his death in 1953. Singer-songwriter Dua Lipa was born and grew up in Camden. Iconic rhythm and blues singer, Amy Winehouse lived at two different addresses in Camden during her lifetime and died there in 2011. Winehouse has been immortalized as the “Queen of Camden” with a bronze statue located in the marketplace. Even Taylor Swift, the popular American music artist, references “. . .walking Camden Market in the afternoon . . .” in her song “London Boy.”

Camden Creates a Music Walk of Fame
With a deeply rooted history of music icons, many performing their first shows in Camden, Lee Bennett, a British music promoter, established The Music Walk of Fame (MWOF) which is prominently situated on High Street, the major hub of activity. He made this decision after living in Hollywood for several years and appreciating the significance of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Bennett saw the MWOF as an opportunity to recognize Camden for the influence it has had on music. Camden has a long history of either starting or nurturing a variety of musical styles. Some of the artists Camden influenced early in their career include Cold Play, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Stevie Wonder, and Amy Winehouse. Camden is a right of passage for many artists from a variety of musical genres so the description of The Music Walk of Fame is “an international cultural monument which recognizes all that is great in music.”

Top photo: High Street in Camden Town; Above photos from Left: The inaugural stone just outside the Camden Town’s tube station on High St.; The stone recognizing the iconic Who and their contributions to the British Rock Invasion. This was the first stone honoring an artist placed on the Music Walk of Fame.

The Music Walk of Fame (MWOF) began in November 2019, with the laying of the inaugural stone establishing the goal and intent of the monument. The pandemic of 2020 slowed but did not stop the growth of the Music Walk of Fame. Each year a new artist or artists are selected by a committee and the dedication of the stone is the basis for a celebration with artists and fans attending a day-long musical event. Musicians perform, while vendors open to sell merchandise and food. As the world recovers from the pandemic, the Music Walk of Fame plans to continue honoring artists by increasing the number of stones presented and by allowing music fans to celebrate those artists and their music. The MWOF has a free interactive app in which the user can center their smartphone over the stone to see and hear additional information and music of the artists being honored.

Current Stones on the Music Walk of Fame
Still in its infancy, the MWOF has a small number of stones strategically placed along High Street in Camden. Currently, the following stones have been placed:

● 2019: Inaugural Stone
● 2019: The Who – Icon Award
● 2020: Amy Winehouse – Icon Award
● 2020: Madness – Icon Award
● 2020 Soul II Soul – Innovators Award
● 2022: David Bowie – Icon Award

From Left: The stone recognizing Amy Winehouse’s love for Camden and the influence she had on the blues, soul, and jazz music scene; The stone recognizing Madness, the ’70s & ’80s ska and pop band and their influence on music. Madness has continued to perform in Camden throughout the past 40 years.

Camden’s Music Connection to Mississippi
As previously reported in The Mississippi Blues Trail Series by The Southland Music Line, Ace Records has its only remaining office open in Camden. Following Johnny Vincent’s failed collaboration with Electric and Musical Industries (EMI), Ace Records Ltd., was founded in 1978, as a British label. Initially, the company had only gained permission from Johnny Vincent of Ace Records in Mississippi to use the name in the United Kingdom, but following the demise of the original Ace Records, also acquired the rights to reissue the Ace backlog of recordings. For the past fifty years, Ace Records, Camden, UK has become the largest publisher of blues, R&B, and early rock and roll reissues.

A visit to Camden is well worth the time if one is ever in London. A walk along High Street provides sights and sounds of a historical era in rock and roll, as well as the latest musical genres actively being performed on the streets and in the variety of pubs, bars, and colorful music venues.

From Left: The stone recognizing Soul to Soul for their impact on club music dating to the 1980s. Soul to Soul charted with Back to Life in 1989 – #1 (UK) and #4 (USA); The stone recognizing David Bowie for his major contributions to the music industry, especially to visual and performance arts. A major influence in the “glam rock” genre.

Click Here for our article on Ace Records
Click Here for Ace Records, UK website.

Ace Records, UK website.
Camden Town wikipedia website.
Music Walk of Fame UK website and app.


Page Designed & Edited by Johnny Cole
© The Southland Music Line. 2023.
All rights reserved

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