At Merc we pride ourselves on many things, attention to detail, looking and feeling good enjoying the finer offerings in life, and being proud Londoners!
With this in mind we have decided to start paying tribute to some of the aspects that makes London in our eyes still the place to be.
Whether your a native, a visitor or just a casual reader of the blog, we hope that Merc’s London goes some way to showcasing the many different, and sometimes overlooked areas that make us proud to be Londoners.
Carnaby Street, London W1.
Nearest Tube - Oxford Street.
Historically Carnaby Street has a long standing relationship with fashion, style and the Subcultures. Merc was born in Carnaby in 1967, and for decades traded in and around the streets of Carnaby W1.
Back in the 1960s it was Soho backstreet instead of the tourist attraction it morphed into , where small traders and shops predominantly offering stylish and “different” clothing that attracted Mods and dedicated “followers of fashion” from all around.
Among these sharply dressed visitors were four young men from London’s East End who went on to become what to many were the most authentic and leading bands of the 1960s “Mod Scene”, the Small Faces.
Steve Marriot (Vocals), Ronnie Lane (Bass), Kenney Jones (Drums) Ian McLagan (Keys) and Jimmy Winston (who was replaced by McLagan in 1966) had style, charisma and although Small in stature, were most certainly “Faces” in the Mod Scene.
Often seen in and around Carnaby Street, it was at Don Arden’s offices on The Street that the original line up (Marriott, Lane, Jones and Winston) arrived on the 7th of June 1965 to discuss business.
The lads left this historic meeting with a contract that offered wages of £20 a week, a percentage of record sales and an account at all the major shops on Carnaby!!
What followed was a golden era for British music, and to this day anthems such as “Tin Soldier”, “All or Nothing”, “Afterglow (of your love)” “Lazy Sunday Afternoon” and “What’ca gonna do about it” still never far from the Merc playlist.
For many Steve Marriot was the much photographed original “Modfather” and their sound summed up the Cool Swinging Sixties London that still looks and sounds timeless.
While Carnaby Street has changed beyond all recognition, you don’t have to look too far to see nods to its heritage and roots. Plaques have been erected to commemorate iconic store (and Small Faces go to store) Lord John, the streets first female boutique Lady Jane and also a honourable mention to John Stephen who “founded Carnaby Street as a World Centre for Men’s fashion in the 1960s”.
On the 4th of September 2007 a green plaque was unveiled on Carnaby Street to honour the band,and their Carnaby connections with the only surviving member Kenney Jones, and original Keyboardist Jimmy Winston in attendance.
Above what was the iconic John Stephens shop which is now a Puma store, Its a fitting tribute to a band whose sound and look still to this day have a huge influence, and who will always be associated with London, Soho and Carnaby Street.
Together for just 4 years, commemorated on Carnaby forever.