Bob Dylan video shoot location, The Savoy Hotel, London

 

For some people Bob Dylan is a prophet but Iíve tried listening to him and I don't understand it. I like Subterranean Homesick Blues though and it still sounds good now. Iím sure you know the video - the lyrics are on boards which he peels off as the song progresses. Here I am behind The Savoy hotel in London where it was filmed in 1965.

 

On a coach tour to London the driver dropped us at Covent Garden for two hours. The Savoy was near so I walked to it. This luxury hotel was built by a theatrical impresario using sensational profits from the Gilbert And Sullivan opera productions. It has appeared in many films and Iím sure theyíve nicked the idea for the big shiny frontage from the big shiny front grille of the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. Most famous folk have stayed here over the years (actor Richard Harris lived here until he fell ill and had to be taken to hospital.) Winston Churchill used to treat his cabinet to a slap-up here.

 

I had to get round the back of the place somehow. First though I had a walk up to the sign but felt too poor to proceed further. Oddly the short road at the front there requires vehicles to drive on the right-hand side. This came from the days when the first black taxis were in use and the driver would reach his arm out of the window and open the passenger's door without having to get out. I had a quick look at the small roundabout just before the doors. Vehicles needed a turning circle of 25 feet (7.6 m) to get round it and this is still the legally required turning circle for all London cabs.

 

I saw some creepy-looking steps just off the front of the hotel and descended. I emerged into daylight at the bottom to find hotel workers sat at the back smoking and looking tired. This was the murky mucky rear of the hotel. Using a photograph I soon found the location where the video was shot though you canít see up they alleyway now - thereís a security door there. The odd workers looked up from their boredom and iphones wondering what I was doing.

 

Bob was staying at The Savoy in 1965 while he was touring the UK (heíd played at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester the night before -see link below.) The footage was taken on a Saturday when he was having a day off. The Beatles came to visit the 24-year-old who they admired and John Lennon thought Bobís song so special he wasnít sure how heíd write something as good. Bob wasnít all that famous then and when the song was released in America it only managed to peak at 39.

 

I went back up the steps onto The Strand and had a last look at the posh front. Itís rumoured the first woman seen smoking in public did it here in 1896 shocking her guests. Monet painted views of Waterloo Bridge and Charing Cross Bridge from the balcony of his fifth-floor suite (he used to start his day with two English breakfasts.) When Marlene Dietrich stayed here she requested twelve pink roses be delivered to her every suite every day and this tradition continues. The poet William Blake died here, the designer Gucci once worked in the hotel working the lift. Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier had a press conference here (and Olivier met his future wife Vivien Leigh here.) I'll never be able to stay here, even in the dog kennels. There was a charity bike ride on The Strand and as I did some pointing for a photo a man shouted, "I'm not a taxi, mate." I did a salute and headed down to Belgravia.

 

 

 

Ooow, very nice...

 

 

 

Going down to the back of the hotel...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob up on the roof...

 

At a press conference...