This record shop in Soho has a special legendary status, not because of the range of vinyl (impressive though it is), but because this is where the Rolling Stones first rehearsed between March and April 1962.
The shop on the corner of Broadwick Street (off Wardour Street) and Duck Lane used to be a pub called the Bricklayer’s Arms, with a cheap room upstairs. It was here the Stones first played. Earlier the same year Brian Jones had placed an ad in Jazz Week. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards both responded and auditions took place above the pub. The band’s first gig in July 1962 was just around the corner at the Marquee Club in Oxford Street.
Notice the Stones ‘tongue and lip’ logo above the door on the first floor – all there is to remind us of this building’s illustrious role in the history of rock.
From Keith Richards autobiography; ‘Life’:
‘I went to the Bricklayers Arms, a seedy pub in Soho, for the first time for the first rehearsal for what turned out to be the Stones. I think it was May of ’62, lovely summer evening. Just off Wardour Street. Strip Alley. I get there, I’ve got my guitar with me. And as I get there the pub’s just opened. Typical brassy blond old barmaid, not many customers, stale beer. She sees the guitar and says ‘Upstairs’…………. I walked up those stairs, creak creak creak. In a way, I walk up those stairs and come down a different person…”
The Spirit of Soho – how it evolved, what to see and where to go