Tales from Tin Pan Alley (2018)
Tales From Tin Pan Alley is a documentary about London's legendary music street Denmark Street.
Britain's music street 'Tin Pan Alley' has resided in London's Denmark Street since Francis, Day and Hunter the first music publishers moved-in back in 1906. It was home to songwriters, music venues, recording studios, rehearsal spaces, demo studios and music instruments shops, as well as being the birthplace of British Silent Cinema, before becoming London's 'Little Tokyo' until World War2. London's Tin Pan Alley remains unparalleled. 30 people who worked in this legendary music street take us on a 110-year journey through Tin Pan Alley, aided by British broadcaster-authors Dan Cruikshank, Paul French, Joshua Levene and Will Self. Contributors include singer Dame Vera Lynn, 'Skiffler' Chas McDevitt, The Small Faces' drummer Kenney Jones, David Bowie's bassist Herbie Flowers, Sex Pistols' bassist Glen Matlock, Damned guitarist Captain Sensible, Beta Band's Steve Mason, soul singer Linda Lewis, Tom Jones songwriter Barry Mason, Eurovision hit songwriter Bill Martin, Music Industry Legend Eric Hall, Acid Jazz's Eddie Piller and Guardian journalist Simon Usbourne, among others. Redevelopment now threatens the future livelihood of music-based artisans in this historic street. This documentary concludes by illustrating how London is losing this creative hub to gentrification. Britain's birthplace of popular music and song Tin Pan Alley aka Denmark Street remains London's only street of musical instrument shops. The loss and destruction of areas of cultural heritage is naturally of international concern. This is the first full length documentary to highlight this pressing matter.
- Historian Dan Cruikshank provides the overview of a street named after the crown Prince of Denmark who married Queen Anne in the late 17th century, giving the street it's name, hence Denmark St. Historian Paul French follows on by explaining how the UK Silent Film Industry began here in a key secret history revealed, backed up by Kelly's directory proof!
When the film makers moved out at the end WW1 this became London's Little Tokyo. Paul French explains how this was London's only street dedicated to Japanese businesses, ending with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, meaning Japan had declared war. The Japanese were evicted and sent home by ship or interned in Prison of War Camps.
Music Publishers were invited to move in by The UK Ministry of War. The street rapidly became Britain's Tin Pan Alley, home to music publishing and songwriting, continuing right through the 1940's Big Band Era, the 1950's Jazz Age, the Rock 'n' Roll period and the legendary Beat Boom times of the early 1960's. The Rolling Stones, Tom Jones and Black Sabbath all recorded in the small recording studio called Regent Sounds at 4 Denmark St. Eurovision hits were also written here by Bill Martin & Phil Coulter. Bill recalls these heady times as does Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck lyric writer Barry Mason.
Kenney Jones who drummed with The Small Faces (and later Rod Stewart & The Faces and The Who) recalls how he began his career in the tiny coffee bar The Gioconda in this street. Later Punk Rock began in 6 Denmark St when the Sex Pistols moved in to live, rehearse and record demos. Original Pistol's bassist Glen Matlock sheds light on these wild times.
A tragic fire to the rear of the street on the north side in 1980 saw 37 killed in an arson attack that was in fact London's largest mass murder. Another Secret History revealed by Journalist Simon Usbourne. In the 1990's Acid Jazz recorded in the nearby fire damaged TPA Studios at 21-22 Denmark St at a time when music instruments shops were at every ground floor address in Denmark St.
A great venue the 12 Bar Club resided tat 26 Denmark St from 1994 until 2015 when the advent of a new rail link called Crossrail coupled with new landlords saw the famous street come under serious threat after Parliament and the local Council approved redevelopments in this historic street - firstly with the Crossrail Act of 2008 and secondly with Council Planning Approval in 2013, leading to the street's potential demise in 2018.