In 2014 Busch Gardens Williamsburg really wanted us to know they had a new show. London Rocks! promised flash, British invasion style music and projection mapping technology. They delivered with an enthusiastic cast that were world class musicians, singers and dancers. London Rocks! is shown daily in the Globe Theater in the center of Banbury Cross (England), but is a very real place in London.
The Globe Theater was built by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, an acting troupe led by William Shakespeare, in 1599. During a performance of Henry VIII in 1613, there was a misfire of a performance cannon that caused the building to catch fire. The wooden beams and thatching went up, but no one was injured besides a man whose breeches caught fire and were put out by a bottle of ale.
The following year the theater was rebuilt, only to be shut down by the Puritans in 1642 and torn down in 1644 to make room for housing. The new Shakespeare’s Globe was built 750 feet from the original site in 1997 and opened with a production of Henry V.
In the 1960’s, rock ‘n roll reigned and the British bands were moving across the pond to bring us their brand of culture changing music. London Rocks! follows the journey of Lucy and Guy as they use the great music of the UK to tell their story of growing up, falling in love, having kids and the hardships of raising a family.
I want to give a little insight on the songs themselves:
Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple – 1972
Deep Purple tells the true story of recording in a mobile studio rented from the Rolling Stones in Montreux, Switzerland, along Lake Geneva. Frank Zappa’s Band, The Mothers of Invention, was playing at a casino on the lake, when “some stupid with a flare gun” shot into the rattan covered ceiling, effectively burning down the whole casino.
It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It) – Rolling Stones – 1974
The best way to describe this song would be to let Rolling Stones from man, Mick Jagger explain, “The idea of the song has to do with our public persona at the time. I was getting a bit tired of people having a go, all that, ‘oh, it’s not as good as their last one’ business. The single sleeve had a picture of me with a pen digging into me as if it were a sword. It was a lighthearted, anti-journalistic sort of thing.”
Magical Mystery Tour – The Beatles – 1967
Basically an acid trip song written for the TV movie of the same name.
What I like about you – The Romantics – 1980
The Romantics are actually an American band that formed in 1977 in Detroit, and hit #30 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40.
Come and Get It – Badfinger – 1969
The song was written by Paul McCartney for the movie The Magic Christian, and later did it with The Beatles. Paul never gave an explanation of what “it” was, and it took only an hour to finish.
Wishin’ and Hopin’ – Dusty Springfield – 1964
Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote this UK chart topper, which was originally done by Dionne Warwick in 1963, only to be covered by Dusty Springfield the next year.
Wild Thing – The Troggs – 1966
Wild Thing is #261 on Rolling Stone magazines Top 500 Songs of All Time. The lyrics speak for themselves
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds – The Beatles – 1967
Lucy was written for the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band. It was inspired by a nursery school drawing that John Lennon’s son, Julian drew of a girl he had a crush on, named Lucy.
Sunshine of Your Love- Cream – 1967
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included this song on the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.
Gimme Some Lovin’ – The Spencer Davis Group – 1966
Also appeared in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers.
Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton – 1977
Clapton wrote this while waiting for Pattie Boyd to get ready for Paul and Linda McCartney’s annual Buddy Holly party.
For Your Love – The Yardbirds – 1965
One of the last songs the band recorded before the departure of Eric Clapton
Time of the season – Zombies – 1968
This song did not become a hit until a year after the band broke up.
Let’s Dance – David Bowie – 1983
Stevie Ray Vaughn played the final guitar solo on this track.
We Will Rock You – Queen – 1977
In 1977 at Birmingham’s Bingley Hall “We did an encore and then went off, and instead of just keeping clapping, they sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to us, and we were just completely knocked out and taken aback – it was quite an emotional experience really, and I think these chant things are in some way connected with that.” – Brian May
Come Together – The Beatles – 1969
“The thing was created in the studio. It’s gobbledygook; Come Together was an expression that Leary had come up with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to be, and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and tried, but I couldn’t come up with one. But I came up with this, Come Together, which would’ve been no good to him – you couldn’t have a campaign song like that, right?” —John Lennon
Octopus’ Garden – The Beatles – 1969
The idea came about when Ringo Starr was told how octopus’ travel the sea floor, picking up rocks for their gardens.
I am the Walrus – The Beatles – 1967
Loosely based on Lewis Carrol’s Walrus and the Carpenter.
Time – Pink Floyd – 1973
He (Alan Parsons) had just recently before we did that album gone out with a whole set of equipment and had recorded all these clocks in a clock shop. And we were doing the song Time, and he said “Listen, I just did all these things, I did all these clocks,” and so we wheeled out his tape and listened to it and said “Great! Stick it on!” And that, actually, is Alan Parsons’ idea. —David Gilmour
Help – The Beatles – 1965
“The whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension. I was subconsciously crying out for help”. – John Lennon
Hard Days Night – The Beatles – 1964
The first song to hold the top spot on both the UK and US charts for 2 weeks.
We Can Work it Out – The Beatles – 1963
“In We Can Work It Out, Paul did the first half, I did the middle eight. But you’ve got Paul writing, ‘We can work it out / We can work it out’—real optimistic, y’know, and me, impatient: ‘Life is very short, and there’s no time / For fussing and fighting, my friend.” – John Lennon
Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie – 1981
“It was hard, because you had four very precocious boys and David, who was precocious enough for all of us. David took over the song lyrically. Looking back, it’s a great song but it should have been mixed differently. Freddie and David had a fierce battle over that. It’s a significant song because of David and its lyrical content.” – Brian May
Strawberry Fields Forever The Beatles – 1967
Strawberry Fields was a Salvation Army Home near the place John Lennon grew up. There was a annual party in which the Salvation Army band played, and it was always a happy memory of Lennon’s.
Space Oddity (Major Tom) – David Bowie – 1969
Written as a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey and lampooning the British Space Programme.
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen – 1975
The song took 3 weeks to record in four different studios and at some points was overdubbed 180 times.
All You Need is Love – The Beatles – 1967
“It was an inspired song and they really wanted to give the world a message,” said Brian Epstein. “The nice thing about it is that it cannot be misinterpreted. It is a clear message saying that love is everything.”
I think that about sums it up…ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE!
BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER!