London has a new attraction. The British band The Who unveiled the first stone on the Music Walk of Fame in Camden Town, a district renowned for its musical history, on Tuesday.
The walk is a musical spinoff of the Hollywood Walk of Fame that honors celebrities in music, film and entertainment.
“Camden’s roots with the music business go way back … [it’s got a] really good history of supporting the music business,” said The Who lead singer Roger Daltrey. “So may it long reign, may this avenue of stars grow and grow and grow, because we have … got the best music industry in the world.”
The unveiling event was a celebration of global and local music, as this relatively small district has been famous since the 1960s for incubating talent and then bringing it to the world stage.
“No one area in the world has the history that Camden does, by starting and nurturing so many scenes, being the rite of passage to so many artists,” said the Walk of Fame founder Lee Bennett, who mentioned acts including Cold Play, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Amy Winehouse and Stevie Wonder that either got their start, or came through the Camden scene.
Bennett, a British music promoter, lived in California for several years, where he was inspired to create an equivalent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in London. “It’s not exactly Hollywood weather, but I’ll take what we can get,” he said jokingly as he took to the stage on Tuesday. The project has been in the pipeline for over a decade.
While the walk’s first stone was dedicated to The Who, the plan is to unveil up to 20 more stones per year. Plans also include a virtual reality element, featuring content about Camden’s history available from a Music Walk of Fame app.
Unlike the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which has more than 2,500 stars and charges nominees $50,000 upon selection, Bennett plans for the project to be less commercial and more exclusive.
Awardees will be selected by an international jury of musicians and those who work in the music industry. The artist of the year award will be voted on by the public, according to a press release. “The honour of being celebrated with a Music Walk of Fame stone is soon to become one of the highest accolades of popular music,” is the goal stated on the Music Walk of Fame’s website.
“In 2019, when else everything seems to fail us, I think music remains the most unifying force in the world right now, and that’s why today is actually important,” said event host Phil Alexander, global creative director of Kerrang! — a British music magazine.
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