Thursday, 13 February 2020

The United Kingdom of Song #38: Ladbroke Grove

Not being a Londoner, I'm not going to pretend to be a great expert on this particular London thoroughfare and train station... but musically, it seems the road has quite a history, giving birth to Hawkwind, The Clash* and rapper AJ Tracey, who apparently mentions the road quite a lot in his lyrics... but sadly not in my record collection.

*There are two Clash songs that mention Ladbroke Grove... but neither of them really grabbed me. Apologies, Clash-heads.

I found enough songs to do a Top Ten Ladbroke Grove tunes, but the majority were hardly classics. So I've limited myself to a Top 3. Still, I've struggled to find even one song that relates to a lot of UK towns, so three about one London street... well, it must be quite a street!

3. Half Man Half Biscuit - Used To Be In Evil Gazebo

An interview with the NME goes south when the artist cracks and reveals "I've been in a mental hospital!". But it all begins on that street...

I’m sitting in my Ladbroke Grove
Waiting for the NME
They’re coming down to interview me
But I haven’t told the others, ‘cos they’d mess around and burp, 
And tell the truth and laugh at me for drinking a classic red bottled 
By a medal-winning estate on the banks of the Garonne

2. Pulp - I Spy

More grimy, gutter romanticism from The Jarv...

Your Ladbroke Grove looks turn me on, yeah
With roach burns in designer dresses
Skin stretched tight over high cheek-bones
And thousands of tiny dryness lines beating a path to the corners of your eyes

1. Leo Sayer - One Man Band

"All those cool bands singing about Ladbroke Grove and you go on and choose Leo blinking Sayer as your Number One? Are you mad!?"

Yes. Is this Leo's finest moment?

Well, everybody knows down Ladbrook Grove
You have to leap across the street
You can lose your life under a taxi cab
You gotta have eyes in your feet


  1. When I saw the words Ladbrook Grove my first thought was Leo Sayer!

  2. One Man Band - first recorded by Roger Daltrey of The Who (a noted beat combo) on his debut solo album "Daltrey".
    There's not many people know that. :)

    1. Rog's first album was entirely written by Leo Sayer and David Courtney (apart from 2 tracks which Courtney co-wrote with Adam Faith)

    2. Well, I never knew all that.

  3. I'd count myself firmly among the Clash-heads of this parish, but I've got no problem whatsoever with 'One Man Band'. It's a terrific song, written for and originally recorded by Roger Daltry a year earlier (as was 'Giving it All Away').

  4. Joe Strummer's solo single Yalla Yalla, a rousing anthem if he ever wrote one, has the line 'night is falling on the Grove' which I always took to be Ladbrook.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...