The Beatles, Sex Pistols, Margaret Thatcher and Marilyn Monroe: the rise and fall of Chelsea’s The King’s Road

The King’s Road was at the centre of the “swinging ‘60s” and the punk movement.

From Henry VIII to David Bowie, Margaret Thatcher to Vivienne Westwood, Karl Marx to The Beatles, and Mozart to Mary Quant, the King’s Road in Chelsea has played a major role in London’s history.

We’ve picked out below some amazing images from an expanded edition of King’s Road, The Rise And Fall of the Hippest Street in the World by Max Décharné.

The revised edition is published by Omnibus Press on April 13, telling the story of the famous SW3 street (whose apostrophe comes and goes).

It features newly sourced images, as well as interview with figures including John Peel, Christopher Lee and Mick Farren.

The King's Road was at the epicentre of the new ‘swinging London’ in the ’60s and became a breeding ground for the punk movement in the 1970s.

Décharné has written for Mojo magazine since 1998 and has contributed to publications including the Spectator and the Guardian. He was the drummer in Gallon Drunk, and then singer and principal songwriter with The Flaming Stars. His vinyl solo LP, New Shade of Black, was released in the summer of 2022.

He said: “This is an expanded version of a book I originally wrote in 2004/5. Its inspiration was that two of the world’s most influential bands – the Rolling Stones and the Sex Pistols – began life along that one short stretch of tarmac, the King’s Road.

“From that followed a growing awareness of the avalanche of significant cultural developments and events with direct links to the neighbourhood. A lot has changed since the first edition was published, and among the people who kindly agreed to speak to me then, many are sadly no longer with us. I’m deeply grateful for the insights and memories these people shared.”

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