When David Bowie died in January 2016, suddenly and shockingly, his illness having been kept secret from all but his closest friends and family, there was an outpouring of grief in London not seen since the death of Princess Diana.
In many ways, Bowie defines London. Fashion-forward, outward-looking, pluralistic, inquisitive, experimental, creative, unconventional—he was all these things, and it is all of these attributes that make this capital city great. So to mark Bowie’s passing, pay your respects to rock’s ever-ch-ch-changing chameleon in the following places. Or just look around you. Bowie is London. And London is Bowie.
Here are the most renowned London spots where you can pay homage to the iconic British musician who changed the face of music not just once but many times.
In 2013, street artist James Cochran painted the outside wall of Morleys department store with a mural based on Bowie’s "Aladdin Sane" album cover. Public mourning was concentrated in Brixton in south London, the neighbourhood where he was born and spent the first six years of his life, soon after the news broke of Bowie’s death. Flowers piled up by the mural opposite Brixton Tube station. Impromptu sing-alongs were held among those who came to pay tribute to their fallen Starman, day and night for many weeks after.
Mourners scrawled so many messages over the mural that it had to be repainted, and Lambeth Council are in talks to make it a listed monument. Tunstall Road, SW9, London
Bowie’s childhood home is an ordinary looking four-bedroom house a couple of streets up from rock venue The 02 Academy Brixton, where Bowie performed in later life. Interviewed about its heritage in the Mirror newspaper, the house’s current owner was unimpressed: “It’s not a big deal. The odd person takes photos of the house but nothing more than that.” 40 Stansfield Road, SW9 9RZ, London
Bowie has taken the central character from his most famous film, "The Man Who Fell to Earth," and built a "play with words" around him. The plot of the musical "Lazarus" may be baffling and elliptical, but critics and public alike have given it rave reviews for the staging and, of course, the magnificent songs. King’s Cross, N1C 4BU, London
Established in 1971, Hard Rock Cafe is stuffed with rock memorabilia in its basement venue, The Vault, which formerly protected the queen’s valuables as part of Coutt’s bank. Highlights include a guitar once belonging to Bowie. Park Lane, W1K 1QZ, London
Ziggy Stardust Album Cover
On the cover of "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars", the album that first sent Bowie’s career stratospheric, he is photographed in Heddon Street under a K. West sign (later stolen by a fan). The furrier in question has long since given way to fashionable restaurants, but a plaque commemorates the spot where Bowie stood: at No. 23, which was then a makeshift studio in which photographer Brian Ward was doing the cover shoot. Heddon Street, W1, London
For 50 years, Denmark Street in Central London was nicknamed Tin Pan Alley, and has been associated with popular music. In his teens, Bowie hung out at the Giaconda Café—now the Flat Iron steak restaurant—with musical friends like Marc Bolan and the Small Faces. He was there so often that he was spotted by BBC researchers and ended up on TV advocating a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men. There are still numerous music shops on the street, but perhaps not for much longer: the area is being redeveloped for Crossrail. Denmark Street, WC2, London
Bowie’s old home
Bowie spent his early musical years in Beckenham, in South London, about 40 minutes away from the centre of town. Haddon Hall, the ramshackle mansion Bowie lived in with his wife Angie, painting the ceilings silver and throwing lavish parties, has sadly been demolished. However, the Three Tuns pub where he ran the Beckenham Arts Lab now thrives as a branch of the Italian restaurant chain, Zizzi. A plaque outside commemorates this musical history, and murals inside inspired by Bowie albums and films add a touch of Zizzi stardust. Beckenham, BR3 1AE, London