“I wandered through each chartered street/Near where the chartered Thames does flow,” poet and artist William Blake wrote about London in 1794. In the intervening 217 years since Blake penned those lines and the grim ones that followed, a rather large roster of other poets and writers and hacks and whatevers have taken a crack at writing about the beloved or beguiling city to varying results. Maybe none have been so moving as Eliot’s “The Wasteland” (“A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many”), but a hell of a lot of good songs have been written about the town on the Thames. “London Calling” sure, but maybe the Mekons’ “City of London” also comes to mind.
Perhaps some bands saw it as their civic duty to complain about or lionize their hometown while others drew no such direct inspiration from those immediate environs.
But what’s the point, you ask?
We deemed it worthy to share with you some worthy songs about the City, songs that make reference to London, or just have a whiff of an air of London. Naturally, this is no definitive list, and you can feel free to tell us in the comments section what essentials we’re missing.