In honour of the launch of their new headphones, Yamaha are celebrating the musical history of Soho, the home of their amazing European flagship store.
There’s more to Soho than good food and great nightlife, there’s also a rich history of music. From swish jazz clubs, to famous recording studios – there are a whole host of iconic music venues to discover. Not to mention the Yamaha London Music store, deep in the heart of the city.
Yes, Soho has seen many musicians skyrocket to stardom, and if the streets of Soho could talk, we’re sure the stories would be something else… If you’d like to learn a little more about Soho’s infamous musical past, read on! Though, to fully immerse yourself in the sound of Soho, we recommend you listen to our recommended tracks for each music venue as you go. You can check out our full Spotify ‘Discover Soho’ playlist here, so you can wander around Soho listening to the greats who’ve tread those paths before you.
Now, without further ado, let’s take a musical tour through the streets of Soho.
1. Ronnie Scott’s
Let’s dive right in with the icon, the legend that is Ronnie Scott’s. To put things succinctly, Ronnie Scott’s is one of the most famous jazz venues in the world. Since 1959, it has played host to some of the biggest names in Jazz: Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald and Jamie Cullum to name a few! It was the stage of Jimi Hendrix’s last ever performance, and to this day, Ronnie Scott’s remains a frequent stop on the road to fame and fortune for many up-and-coming artists. Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, and Arctic Monkeys are just a few to have played intimate gigs at Ronnie Scott’s at the start of their careers. The plush and cosy club is the perfect place to pass an evening enjoying some world-class sounds.
Listen to: Dream A Little Dream Of Me, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
2. 100 Club
This live music venue is another London legend which has hosted huge names since 1942, back when it was known as the Feldman Swing Club. Pretty much everyone who is anyone has played here, including Ronnie Scott (of the aforementioned Ronnie Scott’s) as well as The Clash, the Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones and Oasis to name a few. The 100 Club usually runs a busy programme of events, and because of its rich history it has become an institution for intimate, secret shows by big-name acts. This venue is temporarily closed.
Listen to: Should I Stay or Should I Go, The Clash
3. Pizza Express Jazz Club
This is most definitely not your average Pizza Express. This is an award-winning live music venue in the heart of Soho, that has been welcoming massive artists to its stage since 1976. The intimate, basement club has hosted the likes of Norah Jones, Gregory Porter, Rick Wakeman and Amy Winehouse and is well worth a visit if you fancy enjoying some pizza with a side of live music.
This venue is temporarily closed.
Listen to: Come Away With Me, Norah Jones
4. Spice of Life
This charming pub has truly stood the test of time, surviving two World Wars since it first sprung up way back in 1898. The listed building has undergone a few name changes but it’s been going by The Spice of Life since 1986. But this isn’t just a historical landmark –The Spice of Life has seen a huge range of performers grace its stage. From Bob Dylan, to the Sex Pistols, to Jazz hero, Jamie Cullum. The Spice of Life always has loads of brilliant music events on so it’s well worth a visit on your next trip to Soho.
Listen to: Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
5. Jazz After Dark
This intimate late night cocktail bar has been one of Soho’s beloved live music venues since 1985. And contrary to what you might assume, Jazz After Dark doesn’t just play Jazz. You can also enjoy Funk, Soul and R&B nights here. The venue has also hosted some famous names, including Amy Winehouse. Oh, and the place opens as an art gallery during the day, showcasing the work of resident artist Sam Shaker, which includes portraits of some of the big names who’ve visited the venue over the years.
Listen to: Tears Dry On Their Own, Amy Winehouse
6. Trident Studios
Now this one isn’t a venue exactly, but it’s a recording studio so famous that it deserved a mention in this homage to Soho’s music scene. Trident Studios, established in St Anne’s Court in 1968, has recorded some of the most famous albums and songs in history. It was a launch pad for Queen, who recorded some of their early work here, and though you might think of Abbey Road Studios when you think of The Beatles, Hey Jude was recorded at Trident as well as several tracks off The White Album. Other major albums and songs recorded at Trident include Elton John’s Candle in the Wind, and David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and there are many, many more.
Listen to: Starman, David Bowie
7. Yamaha Music London
The Yamaha European flagship store is an institution in itself, with three spacious floors worth of music, instruments and equipment that attract musicians of all genres, ages and abilities. The basement floor features a stage for instore gigs and product demos and the Piano Hall at the store is also regularly used as an intimate concert venue and has seen performances by Jamie Cullum, the Kit Downes Trio and many more. Want to brush up on your own music skills? You can attend workshops at the Yamaha Music London store, or polish up your performance in one of their piano practice rooms. And if you’re not a musician yourself there’s still plenty for the music lovers of the world to explore, including the brand new TW headphones and earphones. Why not have a browse?
Listen to: Everlasting Love, Jamie Cullum
Click here to listen to the full ‘Discover Soho’ playlist on Spotify.
If you’re struggling to hear our recommended tracks over the hustle and bustle of central London, you might want to get your hands on the new TW series earphones or headphones. That way you can enjoy uninterrupted, high-quality listening with headphones that adapt to you and to your environment. If you’re tempted to upgrade your sound, you can shop the TW headphone series now.
The Yamaha Music London store is operating under government guidance on covid safety, and social distancing measures are in place. *The Yamaha Music London store is closed during the national lockdown*