ralph mctell - streets of london

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No. 5: ‘Streets of London’ – Ralph McTell (1969)

Watch Ralph McTell perform ‘Streets of London’

  • ‘Streets of London’ - Ralph McTell

    Post-war poverty, drugs, love and redemption – the most recorded London song of all time isn’t what you think it is...

    ‘When I was a busker in Paris in 1965, when we were coming home from our little jaunts in the Latin Quarter, there were a lot of very impoverished people – they call them clochards – sat over the hot-air gratings in the Metro, and I formed this idea of writing a song about those people.

    The time was right for that sort of song because of the protest movement and that social awareness that was apparent in all songs. So I started writing “The Streets Of Paris”. But I thought: Wait a minute, these images are everywhere. So I wrote it as “Streets Of London”, to a tune that I’d already composed. Ralph McTell

Find out more about the 100 best London songs

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