Our City Celebrated

By Jo Phillips

‘Sweet Thames! Run Softly, till I End My Song’ – so said Edmund Spenser the English Poet. So many of the creative glitterati have over time, celebrated the gleaming city that is London; from poetry to Punk Rock. Find out more in Our City Celebrated


To some, it seems grimy dirty wild or even dangerous but to those of us the live it, we love it. The brightest of shining stars; turn into any street and learn something new, bump into someone wonderful or discover something new. Even walking down a street; find a song that has been penned about it or even a whole album.

The life and times of this internationally renowned capital city have been immortalized in song by many a musician. On Sat 5 Mar 2022, at the Barbican in the Barbican Hall, 8pm Songs In The Key Of London will be reprised which was first commissioned by the Barbican in 2010 to coincide with the Barbican’s 40th Anniversary weekend in March 2022.

Featured guest artists so far confirmed include ESKA, Zara McFarlane, Nadine Shah, Graham Gouldman, Ruby Turner, Cathal Coughlan, Emmy the Great, Matt Deighton, Sarah Cracknell and Debsey Wykes (of Saint Etienne) with more to be announced. Musical Directors for the concert will be Kate St John and Neill MacColl.

 Nadine Shah by Frazer Taylor

From the bustle of the music halls to the riot of the punks, from Lovers Rock to Grime, the tradition is rich, a city celebrated, commiserated, and eulogized through song. Co-curated by songwriter Chris Difford of Squeeze and DJ and presenter Nihal ArthanayakeSongs In The Key Of London once again will bring together singers and songsmiths of the old school and new, in a musical celebration of our great city.

A few songs are listed below within this theme and to get you in the mood for a bit of London love.

Florence and The Machine- South London Forever (2018)

Squeeze – Up the Junction (1979)

Smiley Culture Cockney Translation (1985)

The Kinks – ‘Waterloo Sunset’ (1967)

Ed Sheeran – ‘The City’ (2011)

The Clash – ‘London Calling’ (1979)

Pet Shop Boys – ‘West End Girls’ (1984)

M.I.A. – ‘Galang’ (2003)

Pulp – ‘Mile End’ (1996)

Professor Green – ‘Upper Clapton Dance’ (2011)

The Streets – ‘Has It Come to This?’ (2001)

And finally

David Bowie The London Boys

Priority booking for the Barbican’s newly announced spring/summer 2022 music season opens for Principal and Premier Patrons on Fri 22 Oct, Patrons on Mon 25 Oct, Members Plus on Thu 28 Oct, and Members on Fri 29 Oct. Public booking opens on Tuesday 2 November. Discounted tickets are available to 14 – 25-year-olds through Young Barbican. Tickets and info on the event is Here

Please visit the Barbican’s Covid safety page for further information on measures in place. If you enjoyed reading Our City Celebrated then why not read Light Christmas Here