themes and issues

Famous roads: Denmark Street in London

We’re in London again. Musically speaking, Denmark Street is another important road in the centre of the city. This street has hosted musical icons like Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Kinks,  the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols (who lived above n°6). In Denmark Street you will find the best music shops in London and lots of live music bars.

For its being the centre of the music industry in Britain, Denmark Street is also called the British Tin Pan Alley, and a Tin Pan Alley Festival, a free one-day musical event, is held there every third Sunday in July every year. The aim of the festival is to  encourage music providing a stage for 11 new bands, which are selected to perform live at the festival.

But what is or was Tin Pan Alley?

Originally Tin Pan Alley was a place between 5th and 6th Avenue in New York around which  most of the music publishers and songwriters  were centred.

In simpler words, we can say that Tin Pan Alley was the name originally given to the New York music industry area.

How come it had this strange name? 😉 Its origins are very likely the words used to define the sound made by many pianos playing simultaneously different kinds of music, as it probably sounded very chaotic when the music industry first began to be active in that street. People were not used to hear so much music playing, and that’s why they started referring to it as the sound created by banging on tin pans (=padelle di latta). Therefore, the name could be translated as “the noisy road where everybody’s banging on tin pans”. It sounds incredible if you consider that those “banging tin pans” where among the best musicians in the history of music”! 🙂

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