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Regent's Park and Primrose Hill in Music

Anonymous (c1685) (P)
Appleton (P)
Beatles, The (P)
Bennett, Thomas Case Sterndale
Blur (P)
Bragg, Billy (P)
Chawner, Suzanne (P)
Costello, Elvis
Durante, Albert (P)
Fatboy Slim (P)
Girls Aloud (P)
Harris, Cuthbert
Kenny, Pat (P)
Johnson, Cyril
Lovell, Katharine
Lowe, Thomas (1763)

Madness (P)
Marillion (P)
Martyn, Beverley (P)
McCartney, Paul (P)
Melchior, Dan
Mulaly, W.C. (1878)
Murphy, John
Neotropic - Riz Maslen
Popp, Frank (P)
Red Hot Chili Peppers (P)
Rolling Stones, The (P)
Russell, Ray (P)

Saint Etienne (P)
Seeger, Peggy (P)
Smart, G. (1776)
Sonic Magpie and Day-For-Night
Suggs (P)
Torrini, Emiliana (P)
Underworld and Gabriel Yared (P)
Wainwright III, Loudon (P)
Wayne, Jeff (P)
Wilson, Richard




The Sweet Salutation on Primrose Hill: Or, I Know You Not. To the tune of Though Father Be Angry: Or, [I Am So] Deep in Love.

Reprinted in The Roxburghe Ballads. Ed. J.W. Ebsworth. Vol. VIII-IX. Stephen Austin & Sons, 1897 (pages IXXXVI to IXXXVII). The original broadside was from the Pepys Collection, 3.53, printed for W. Thackeray, T. Passenger and W. Whitwood, before 1685.

'In the pleasant month of May, a young man met a Maid
On Primrose Hill so gay, and thus to her he said:
"Fair Maid, sit down by me upon this flowerie place,
Fine pastime thou shalt see within a little space."

'"Good Sir excuse me now, I cannot stay" (quoth she),
"I must go milk the Cow, my Mother will angry be,
Nor can I tell, forsooth, what may be my lot;
But this I say, in truth, Good sir, I know you not."

"Fair Maid be not so coy! A lesson to thee I'll play,
Shall fill the heart with joy, on Primrose Hill so gay."
He play'd her then a Note upon the Violin,
He had his lesson by Rote, 'twas called, "In and In."

(Not difficult to guess where this is heading, and as the ballad runs to 19 verses I'll summarize. Mother discovers the maid is pregnant, goes in pursuit of the seducer, finds him on Primrose Hill and confronts him. He denies it, of course.)

"Bold wh..e!" quoth he, "forbear! wilt thou mine honour blot?
I'll kick you now, I swear; begone, I know you not."
When she heard him say so, she soon did him arrest,
She bent him to her bow, a dainty Primrose jest:

And when she had told him so, she told him 'twas his lot,
To prison he must go: "Be gone! I know you not."
She made him promise then that he should keep the Child,
Before sufficient men, since that he had her [girl] beguil'd.

Yet she did not forget the sport at Primrose-Hill;
He plai'd her such a Fit, makes her to love him still.
"If I might have my will, if that it proves a Boy,
His name is Primrose-Hill, his Mother's only Joy."

Fair Maidens, now be wise, for fear this be your lot:
If men do you intice, say this – "I know you not!"

An Excellent new Medley to the tune of the Spanish Paulin.

Reprinted in The Roxburghe Ballads. Ed. Charles Hindley. Vol.1. Reeves and Turner, 1873. Also in the Pepys Collection, I.456. Thomas Symcocke, by whose assigns the Roxburghe copy was printed, had a patent granted to him to publish broadsides in 1620, and assigned it within the year. The composer may be Thomas Deloney. (Information from the Library of the University of California at http://www.archive.org/index.php)

'When Philomel begins to sing,
the grasse grows greene and flowres spring,
Me thinks it is a pleasant thing
to walk on Primrose Hill.
Maids, have you any Connie-skins
To sell for Laces or great Pinnes?
The Pope will pardon veniall sinnes:
Saint Peter...'

In common with other medleys of the period, the second part of the verse has no connection with the first.

The Maid of Primrose Hill from An Excellent Garland Containing Four Choice Songs. G. Swindells, Manchester, 1785?

'Twas under Primrose Hill there liv'd,
A sweet and pretty maid,
Not Venus could give more delight,
When you her charms survey'd.
For the lilies there and the roses fair,
They did combine and both entwine,
To form a beauty rare.

This fair one many suitors had,
But treated them with scorn,
Till William who could play and dance,
Came tripping o'er the lawn...

Sweet maid of Primrose Hill he cry'd,
I come a whooing here,
Then do not thou my love reject,
Nor treat me too severe...'

(The maid tells him he's got a cheek, she has plenty of rich suitors who...)

'Have offered me their bride to be,
So you do come too late.
Then William hung his head with grief,
And said proud girl adieu,
I'll quit your charms for war's alarms,
And glory I'll pursue... '

(But she was only teasing.)

'Then with a smile she called him back,
And said dear William stay,
I did but jest to see your love,
So go not now away.'

Primrose Hill, a tidied up version of this song with additional verses at the end – they get married and live happily ever after – appears in Primrose Hill, and St. Patrick was a Gentleman, L. Deming, Boston and Middlebury, 1835 (?). The British Library attributes it to Henry Bennett and W. Toleken, although their names do not appear in this volume. An almost identical tidied up version, also called Primrose Hill, appears in an American songbook, The Jovial Songster, 1806, ed. Stephen Jenks. Words and tune are described as English, 18c.

The Lass Near Primrose Hill. J. Williams, Printer, 47 Queen Street, Portsea. From Sir Frederick Madden’s Collection of Broadside Ballads, University of Cambridge Library.

'The morning smiled serenely gay,
All nature beamed delight,
The songster hailed the birth of May,
Each prospect charmed the sight.
'Twas there I saw the lovely maid,
And think I see her still,
In all the pride of youth displayed,
The lass of Primrose Hill...

Sweet sung the linnet and the thrush,
Upon the bending spray,
And vocal was each vernal blush,
In rapture with the May.
Enraptured then I viewed the maid,
And think I see her still,
In all the pride of youth displayed,
The lass of Primrose Hill.'

Terrible Accident on the Ice in Regent's Park, and Loss of 40 Lives. Henry Disley, 1867.

'...The 15th of January, that Tuesday afternoon,
Some hundreds on the ice took their station,
Young men and boys, in youth and bloom,
To the park went for healthy recreation.

But soon it gave way, more than 40 lost their lives
The widows and poor orphans will distress them
God bless those gallant hearts, to save life did strive,
And those now in Heaven - God rest them.

'Twas near four o'clock, how dreadful to relate,
The ice broke up in every quarter,
Two hundred then fell in, oh what a sad fate,
All struggled for their lives in the water...

They clung to the ice, until benumbed with cold,
The ice in their grasp broke asunder,
One lady on the shore, in grief did behold,
Her husband exhausted go under...

A poor faithful dog, saw his master disappear,
And never left the park since that evening,
No food will he take, by the water stays near,
For it's master the poor dog is grieving.'

Skating in the park was immensely popular and could attract as many 10,000 visitors in one day. Immersions were frequent, and people sometimes drowned, but there had been nothing on this scale. 500 were on the ice when it gave way: it had seemed firm, but 'it was ice which had not been formed in one thick coat, but by successive frosts and thaws, with here and there a light draping of snow. Its very substance was therefore deceptive.' And there was another factor: 'The Park-keepers, paying more regard to the necessities of the waterfowl than to the security of the skating public, broke the ice for some distance along the edges, thereby destroying the connexion of the central field with the shore' (The Times, 17th January 1867). The lake was 12 feet deep in some places; it was subsequently made more shallow, and the bed concreted over.


Everything Eventually (Natalie Appleton, Nicole Appleton, Alexis Smith, Marcus De Vries) from the album Everything Eventual, 2002.

'...Lets go fishing down the river
Lets go fly a kite on Primrose Hill
Take advantage of the sunshine
There's no telling when the rain comes in...'


The Fool on the Hill (McCartney) from the album Magical Mystery Tour, 1967.

'Day after day, alone on a hill,
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him,
They can see he's just a fool
And he never gives an answer.
But the fool on the hill sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head see the world spinning round...'

Alistair Taylor, in Yesterday: The Beatles Remembered (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1988), describes the genesis of this song. Ascending Primrose Hill at dawn with Paul McCartney and his Old English Sheepdog, Martha, they stood and admired the spectacular sunrise, then 'turned around to go and suddenly there he was standing behind us. He was a middle-aged gentleman, very respectably dressed in a belted raincoat...Paul and I were sure he hadn't been there only seconds before. Hadn't we been looking for Martha in that very direction?' Brief greetings are exchanged, the man walks away, and then vanishes as mysteriously as he had appeared. Shaken, 'we both felt that we had been through some mystical religious experience...'

Aware that 'it sounds just like any acid tripper's fantasy', Taylor insists that 'Scotch and Coke was the only thing we'd touched all night...not enough to be really tanked up, just pleasantly relaxed' (p.167-168). Enough to be over the limit, presumably, when Paul drove them there in his Aston Martin DB6; but, as the Beatles's Mr. Fixit, Taylor must have felt he could handle any problems that might arise.

Hunter Davies, in The Beatles: the Authorized Biography (Cassell Illustrated, 2004), says that the Lennon/McCartney song It's Getting Better was inspired by another walk on Primrose Hill, 'on the first afternoon of spring', 1967. 'Martha ran around and the sun came out. Paul thought it really was spring at last. "It's getting better", he said to himself...That day at two o'clock, when John came round to write a new song, Paul suggested: "Let's do a song called It's Getting Better"...' (p.308). It went into the Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.


Yachting in Regent's Park. Words by George Arthurs. Keith Prowse & Co. London, 1911.
Humorous song, three verses and refrain, 'sung with immense success by Miss Margaret Cooper and the Composer'.

'I've got a pretty little yacht,
That's what I've got…
For danger I never care a jot!
When I embark
I frighten all the ducks that hang around the spot
When I'm yachting in Regent's Park!'

(The third verse explains how it's done.)

'I'm mate and crew and the captain too,
I stand on land with a long bamboo,
I steer its course through the water blue,
Unless it sinks, then I don't pursue…'


For Tomorrow - Visit to Primrose Hill extended (Damon Albarn) from the album Modern Life is Rubbish, 1993.

'...Then Susan comes into the room,
She's a naughty girl with a lovely smile,
Says let's take a drive to Primrose Hill,
It's windy there and the view's so nice,
London ice can freeze your toes
Like anyone I suppose
Holding on for tomorrow..

Lori Latimer, in Ink Blot magazine, writes:
'Modern Life is Rubbish is where Blur begin taking shots at English life, and of course they do it well... "For Tomorrow" is so good it makes me want to cry. With a swaying '60s pop rhythm, sharp strings, divinely rich harmonies and the words, "So we hold each other tightly/ And hold on for tomorrow," it's everything you could ever want from song.'


Upfield from the album William Bloke, 1996.

'I'm going upfield, way up on the hillside
I'm going higher than I've ever been before
That's where you'll find me, over the horizon
Wading in the river, reaching for that other shore
I dreamed I saw a tree full of angels, up on Primrose Hill
And I flew with them over the Great Wen till I had seen my fill
Of such poverty and misery sure to tear my soul apart
I've got a socialism of the heart, I've got a socialism of the heart...'

In an article in The Observer, 22nd October 2000, the singer/songwriter said, 'My song Upfield was inspired partly by [William] Blake; I borrowed events from his life for the song's narrator, such as putting him on Primrose Hill seeing angels. It's about moving from an ideological argument for a better society to a more humanitarian vision; a socialism of the heart, the kind of compassion I find in Blake'.

The story of Blake as a child seeing 'a tree full of angels' on Peckham Rye common is well known, but as far as I know his only mystical experience on Primrose Hill was a vision of the 'spiritual Sun' (see the Blake entry).


On Primrose Hill from the album On Primrose Hill, 1994.

'Nice to be here, see the view,
Can you see St. Paul's, can you see the Zoo,
Can you see St. Pancras, see Big Ben,
Can you see the way that we were then
On Primrose Hill, on Primrose Hill?

One for sorrow, two for joy.
Who was that girl, who was that boy
Whose love was just a dream away?
I still recall the place they lay
On Primrose Hill, on Primrose Hill...

Can you see the view today
And have the clouds all gone away
And are you standing on your own
And are you dancing all alone
On Primrose Hill, on Primrose Hill?...'

In the sleeve notes, playwright and musician Willy Russell (Blood Brothers) recalls the genesis of the song. At a gathering of songwriters, 'we wondered why...British popular song did not reflect and celebrate place as thoroughly as its American counterpart. We agreed that, just as an exercise, we would each go and find a corner and see if we could...come up with a verse or two. Less than an hour later I had the great pleasure of hearing Suzanne sing On Primrose Hill, a beautiful and complete song which, just sixty minutes earlier, had not existed.'

COSTELLO, ELVIS (Declan MacManus)

London's Brilliant Parade (Declan MacManus) from the album Brutal Youth, 1994:

'…The lions and the tigers in Regent's Park
Couldn't pay their way
And now they're not the only ones
At the Hammersmith Palais
In Kensington and Camden Town
There's a part that I used to play
The lovely Diorama is really part of the drama, I'd say.'

According to rossish@eskimo.com this was a reference to the Zoo losing its funding in the late 1980's due to cost-cutting zeal by the Conservative government.


Primrose Hill. Useful teaching pieces for piano duets; no. 2. Leonard, Gould & Bolttler, London, c1938.

FATBOY SLIM (Norman Cook)

North West Three from the album Palookaville, 2004

'We went to go see the sun go down on
Primrose Hill
We went to go see the sun go down on
Primrose Hill
The Sunday evenin' sun go down on
The Sunday evenin' sun go down on
The Sunday evenin' sun go down on
Primrose Hill.'

Nick Duerden, interviewing 'the world's most successful DJ' in the Independent on Sunday, 21-3-2005, says that in 'the blissfully sad "North West Three", a cover of a John Martyn song [not so - North West Three samples a song by Beverley Martyn, Primrose Hill, from the Martyn's 1970 album, The Road to Ruin]...Cook recollects watching the sun set over Primrose Hill with Ball before what happened happened. While he felt it necessary to address events in his personal life on record, he finds it difficult to talk about in person.' (During a trial separation his wife, Zoe Ball, had embarked on an affair with another DJ.)


The Promise (Miranda Cooper, Brian Higgins, Jason Resch, Kieran Jones, Carla Marie Williams) from the album Out of Control, 2008.

'...Here I am, walking Primrose,
wondering when I’m gonna see you again
Here I am, walking Primrose,
wondering when I’m gonna see you again
I got my hands all ready to touch your soul,
I’m gonna get the energy to wind me close to you...'

The British-Irish girl group was 'created' by a TV talent show in 2002 and has become one of the few reality television groups to achieve continued success. It has been suggested by some fans that 'walking Primrose' refers to a dog or cat rather than the Hill.


London Scenes for Pianoforte. Warren and Phillips, 1929.
No. 6. Regent's Park (On the Lake). Andante.
No. 7. The Zoological Gardens (The Monkey House). Allegretto scherzando.

Dr. Harris (1870-1932), organist and composer, was born in Holloway.


Regent's Park. Quick march. Bosworth & Co., London, c1951.


Primrose Hill. 1955. Words by Pat Kenny, music by Mirsad.

'...My mood changes if I hear the 'phone ring
Love's altered my life in every little thing
The whole night's gone thinking of you till -
The sun is shining on Primrose Hill

And I feel the hours are slow these days
And time alone heals the parting of the ways
A sweet moment's gone where blue birds fly
It's a sad sad song to hear a blue bird cry...'

LOVELL, KATHARINE (pseudonym of Margaret Olive Hubicki)

Green London. 1. Lake Scene (Regent's Park). Hinrichsen Edition, London, 1955.
Scored for Violin, Violoncello and Piano.

The composer, born in Hampstead, was at one time professor of harmony at the Royal Academy of Music and taught at the Yehudi Menuhin School.


Musical Address to the Town. The Gentleman's Magazine, May 1763.

'[Mr. Lowe]
Now the summer advances, and pleasure removes,
From the smoke of the town, to the fields and the groves
Permit me to hope that your favours again,
May smile, as before, on this once happy plain.'

The once happy plain was Marylebone Gardens, reopened in 1763 under the management of Thomas Lowe, 'the favourite tenor of Vauxhall Gardens...Lowe opened in May with a "Musical Address to the Town", in which the singers...apologised for the absence of some of the attractions of Ranelagh and Vauxhall' (Warwick Wroth, The London Pleasure Gardens of the Eighteenth Century. Macmillan, 1896, p.101).

'[Miss Catley]
Tho' here no rotunda expands the wide dome,
No canal on its borders invites you to roam;
Yet nature some blessings has scattered around,
And means to improve may hereafter be found...

To gain your esteem's the full scope of our plan,
And we'll strive to deserve it as well as we can.'


Primrose Hill
(McPherson/Foreman) from the album The Rise and Fall, 1982.

'A man opened his window and stared up Primrose Hill
Out there enjoying themselves I've seen them from this sill
Green splashed with white and red going brown
Children baiting animals running up and down
I stare out of this window
See the world go past...

Deliveries every day newspapers and food
Never had to venture out the phone has been removed
Open up the window and stare up Primrose Hill
Sitting here it's dark outside and everything is still...'

Recorded in the 1980's when the North London ska/pop band was at its peak, the album had a photo of Primrose Hill on the cover. In an interview in Q Magazine, April 2001, singer and frontman Suggs (Graham McPherson) said, 'Primrose Hill was somewhere that had featured in most of the band's lives. We all came from the surrounding area so we'd always had good memories of the place. Primrose Hill was somewhere you could play football or, in the winter, go tobogganing, so it'd always been a place of fun and frolics.'


Interior Lulu (Steve Hogarth, John Helmer) from the album marillion.com, 1999.

'...Lately, I can stand to hear other people talking
So many empty conversations
What a waste of lips

Lately I can stand to stand on Primrose Hill
Look down upon the city
A heart pumping the roads...'


Primrose Hill from the album The Road to Ruin (John and Beverley Martyn), 1970.

'We went to see the sun go down on Primrose Hill
The Sunday evening sun go down on Primrose Hill
Never could be anything else
Never should be anything else
'Cos I like that kind of life
I like that kind of life
Never thinking too far ahead
Hanging high I fall to bed
That's the only kind of life I've led...'

Folksinger Beverley Kutner was a longtime friend of Paul Simon, who had brought her over to sing at the Monterey Pop Festival. She married John Martyn in 1969, the year before this duo album was released. They parted in 1971 and she has since pursued a solo career.

The track was sampled by Fatboy Slim for North West Three.


Golden Earth Girl. From the album Off The Ground, 1993.

'Golden earth girl, female animal
Sings to the wind, resting at sunset
In a mossy nest sensing moonlight in the air...

Nature's lover climbs the primrose hill
Smiles at the sky watching the sunset
From a mossy nest as she falls asleep she’s counting...'

It's not clear if this is the Primrose Hill but it seems possible, since McCartney had written two other songs inspired by the Hill during his time with the Beatles. George Starostin at Only Solitaire describes it as an 'unbelievably resplendent "experimental ballad" with a very unusual structure and psycho lyrics... to my mind, it's the unjustly forgotten gem on the record.'


Regent's Park in Blue from the album Hello I'm Dan Melchior AKA 'Singer-Songranter'. Shake It, 2005.

'Love to be with you in Regent's Park girl
When the sky is powder blue
The tall trees hide the world outside girl
We'll feel secluded just me and you...

Love to be with you where the smog's not hanging
And the things that bang aren't banging...'

David Balthazar at www.danmelchior.com writes:
'Dan Melchior was born in Chertsey, England in 1972...and moved to New York in the summer of 2000...He continues to write "angry" songs (and an occasional tribute to his wife, or a park or lamp post back home) which manage to avoid the theatrical trappings of so much so called "punk" or "ga-raj" that resorts to a pantomime of ineffectual "snottiness" to bamboozle its un-discerning audience.'


Flirting on the Ice
. Song, tempo di schottische. H. D'Alcorn. London, 1878.
Words and music by Mulaly, 'sung with immense success by Miss Lisa Weber'.

'To Regent's Park one day I took my love with me,
To pass the time away in skating merrily.
When on the gliding stell she whispered once or twice
Oh George, my George, pray don't reveal
Our flirting on the ice...'

A 'stell' is a partial enclosure made by a wall or trees. Skating on the lake had been made safer following a tragedy ten years earlier, when the ice had given way and forty people had drowned. It was now more shallow, and the mud floor had been concreted over.


Walk to Regent's Park from the soundtrack of the film 28 Weeks Later, 2007.

The film was directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and concerns a 'rage virus' that has devastated the population of Great Britain. A group of uninfected survivors make their way to Regent's Park, where they hope to escape in a helicopter.

NEOTROPIC (Riz Maslen)

Regents Park from the album 15 Levels of Magnification. Ntone, 1996.

Sean Cooper at allmusic.com writes:
'The theme here is paranoia, the title deriving from the zooming capabilities of government surveillance cameras. Like earlier Neotropic work, styles mix pretty freely, though with a more integrated, atmospheric bent permeating elements of electro, hip-hop, dub, and drum'n'bass.'


Slaughter at Primrose Hill from the album The Swinging Library Sounds of the Frank Popp Ensemble. Ace of Clubs/Universal Music, 2005.

Martin Drury, in funky info music webzine, writes:
'Slaughter at Primrose Hill is mysterious but there's an abundance of similarity between each of the six tracks present here...The electronically created sounds make one feel as if you've just stepped inside that "Space Invaders" tabletop game in the corner of the bar.'


Emit Remmus (Anthony Kiedis) from the album Californication, 1999.

'...Hesitate but don't refuse
The choice was yours but you said choose
The look she used was green and sharp
Stabbed that boy all in his heart
Come what may the cosmos will
Take me up and down on Primrose Hill
What could be wetter than
An English girl American man...'

Formed in California in 1988, the band has made several tours of Europe. The theme of this song, from their best-selling album, is 'London in the summer time' (the last two words spelt backwards form the title): opinion amongst fans has ranged from 'superb' to 'should have been left on the shelf.'


The Stones 65-67. Gered Mankowitz. Vision On, 2002.
'Gered and I decided that the shoot would have to be done with the arriving dawn as the Stones finished the night's recording. At 5am we had fried eggs, fried bread and hot, strong tea and smoke and, in my Phantom V and Keith's drop-dead-drophead Bentley, drove as fast as possible from Olympic in Barnes to Primrose Hill in northwest London...We made the drive in just under twenty minutes. To keep the group alert (and, hopefully, amused) I had my driver ease the Phantom V into the park and as far up to the top of Primrose Hill as he could go.'

In the foreword to this collection of Mankowitz's photographs Andrew Loog Oldham, co-manager and producer of the Rolling Stones from 1963 to1967, recalls the 1966 photo session for the cover of the album Between the Buttons, then being recorded at Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes.

'Just down the hill from where we had parked we spied another morning visitor. A long-haired, bearded, overcoat-clad hippie stood on one foot, the other crossed ballet-style, sole pressed to the inside of his knee, playing his flute to welcome the new morning. He amazed and chuffed us all by being totally immune to our arrival at the top of his manor in the long black-windowed Rolls. He played away in the Baskerville-ish, smoky, near-morning light' (p.2-3).

Primrose Hill from the album Rock Workshop, 1970.

'Goin' outside you can bag it in the bush
It's not the first world disaster
Well if she lies you can give her a push
She knows exactly what you're after
And you can count your friends on one finger tip
And your enemies too will pierce your lips...
Oh Primrose Hill you're still sleeping sound'

The connection with Primrose Hill seems rather tenuous, but that's the title.


Primrose Hill from the album Travel Edition (1990-2005).
Scott Plagenhoef, in Pitchfork Review, 13th December 2004, writes:
'The instrumental, "Primrose Hill", is a charming little acoustic strum that hints at the melody to Finisterre's "Soft Like Me"...Over the past 15 years, Saint Etienne's music has been the result of the marriage of the best mod traditions of style and sophistication with a restless engagement with the world's best pop sounds.'

London Belongs To Me from the album Foxbase Alpha, 1992.

'Took a tube to Camden Town,
walked down Parkway, and settled down
in the shade of a willow tree,
someone hovering over me.

Close my eyes,
breathe out slowly.
Today the sunshine (sunshine) loves me only.

To the sound of the World of Twist
you leant over, and gave me a kiss.
It's too warm to even hold hands,
but that won't stop us from making plans...'

Regent's Park is not identified, but walking 'down' Parkway from Camden Town (it's uphill) will take you there.


Primrose Hill (Peggy Seeger with Irene Scott) from the album Almost Commercially Viable, 1998.

'...Come and walk in Richmond Park,
Come and walk in town,
Come and sit on Primrose Hill
And watch the sun go down,
Watch the sun go down.

Tomorrow's sky is overhead,
Moon and stars combine -
Will you come and share my bed
And join your life with mine?...'

The singer/songwriter was born in Washington, D.C. She came to England in the 1950's and lived there for many years.


Marybone Fair. Written and Composed for the Representation of the Boulevards. 1776.

'...For the Ladies we've Ribbands, and Muslin, and Lace,
And twenty more Fancies to set off each face,
Then we've Towers and Castles, and Crowns made of Hair,
And we've plumes and perfumes,
And we've lappets like sails,
And curious false tails,
Where Cupids repair every heart to ensnare
Of the Beaus that resort to Marybone Fair...

We've something to see, and we've something to hear,
We have Dancing, and Music, and Drink, and good Cheer,
We have Pastimes within doors, and sports in the Air,
Come the fun is begun,
Every shop, every Booth,
With speeches to smooth,
Invite You to share, of such kind of Ware,
As to Night they Exhibit at Marybone Fair...'

Marylebone Gardens was on its last legs when this song was written, and there were various unsuccessful attempts to revive it. 'A representation of the Boulevards of Paris was prettily contrived, the boxes fronting the ball-room being converted into the shops of Newfangle, the milliner; Trinket, the toyman; and Crotchet, the music-seller' (Warwick Wroth, The London Pleasure Gardens of the Eighteenth Century, 1896. Macmillan, 1979, p.108-109). The Gardens finally closed two years later.

SONIC MAGPIE and DAY-FOR-NIGHT (stevel, bibanova and Mystified)

Regent's Park. 2008.

'The weather seemed so mild
hiding the chill of forced goodbyes
when we went walking,
walking in Regent's Park
where it ended.

I watch from my window...
all the young lovers passing by;
they go walking
whilst we are returning
to the silence of our rooms.

I remember you smiling
last January,
when the snow fell all around.
Now it's warmer;
the snow has melted
and I'll go walking in Regent's Park.'

You can hear this at http://www.macjams.com/song/39091, where it is described as 'a little ditty the three of us came up with, starting with Mystified's piano improvisation, then stevel's vox, and lastly bibanova's instrumental touches and final production magic. A 'Sonic Day-For-Night Magpie' fest, it's a combination of genres.'

SUGGS (Graham McPherson)

Camden Town from the album The Lone Ranger, 1995.

'...Tramps stare in the window
Of the local butcher's shop
Like a pack of wild dogs
They'd run off with the lot

In Primrose Hill an angry man
His hair standing on end
Shouts and rants in the ear

Of his imaginary friend...'


Unemployed in summertime from the album Love in the Time of Science, 2000.

'Let's get drunk on Saturday
Walk on Primrose Hill
Until we lose our way
We'll get sunburned on the grass
Playing silly buggers 'till I make a pass
And you laugh at my face

Unemployed in summertime
I've only just turned 21, I'll be ok
Unemployed in summertime
Don't need money 'cause we're young
I'll just stay awake till the morning
With make up all over my face...'

The singer/songwriter has described herself as 'a happy little freckled woman'. Of Italian/Icelandic parentage, she was born in Iceland but now lives in London.

UNDERWORLD (Karl Hyde and Rick Smith) and GABRIEL YARED

Primrose Hill from the soundtrack of the film Breaking and Entering, 2006. V2 Records, 2006.

Anthony Minghella's film is described by Rafael Ruiz at SoundtrackNet as 'a moody introverted character drama of relationships, confusion and alienation, sort of like a Milan Kundera novel. So as to be expected, there's plenty of dreamy background ambient tones accompanied [by] piano [and] strings...[and] a series of atonal, melancholy tracks charting the sadness of the movie's multiple relationships ("Not Talking," Primrose Hill," "Broken Entered").'


Primrose Hill from the album Little Ship, 1997.

'Living on the side
Of Primrose Hill
Drinking cans of Tennants
Just can't seem to get my fill
Got a beat up guitar
And a dirty old sleeping bag
And this mangy dog
Whose tail don't wag
Sun's been shining down
On my hillside bed
That's not the only reason
My face is so red
This nasty cut on my nose
Is not from no fight
I just fell down yesterday
Or maybe it was last night
And I used to sing and play
Down in the underground
But a few years back
They started cracking down
Now I'm living on the side
Of Primrose Hill
I'm no tourist attraction
But I give them a thrill...'

The singer/songwriter was born in North Carolina. He came to England in 1985 and lived for a time near Primrose Hill. He is now based in New York.


The War of the Worlds - Musical Version. Columbia Records, 1978.
'I saw, over the trees on Primrose Hill, the fighting machine from which the howling came. I crossed Regent's Canal. There stood a second machine, upright, but as still as the first.

Martian: Ulla!

Abruptly, the sound ceased. Suddenly the desolation, the solitude, became unendurable. While that voice sounded London still seemed alive. Now suddenly there was a change, the passing of something, and all that remained was this gaunt quiet...I scrambled up to the crest of Primrose Hill, the Martian's camp was below me. A mighty space it was, and scattered about it, in their overturned machines, were the Martians, slain after all man's devices had failed by the humblest creatures on the earth: bacteria' (Dead London, side 4).

Regent's Park is not mentioned in this adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel, judging by the transcript posted by skyeyes. Richard Burton is the narrator (called The Journalist here); the Martian is not credited. Sadly, neither of them get to sing in this scene (unless you count the Ulla - not having heard the album, I can't be sure). The music was composed and conducted by Jeff Wayne.

Ed Sander at dprp.net/proghistory says: 'The whole composition is built around several recurring musical themes and consists of long instrumental sections, songs with lyrics and spoken narratives. Add a powerful (string) orchestra, spooky sound effects and lots of keyboard and guitar noises. The whole forms a perfect combination...'


A Child's London: Six Pieces for Piano. 1984. Peermusic Classical.
London Bus; Primrose Hill Park; On Regent's Canal; Mrs. Orang-outang; Costumes at the Victoria and Albert; Roundabout.

Richard Wilson is Professor of Theory and Composition at Vassar College, NY. 'A Child's London was composed in London in 1984 for my daughter Katherine, then aged 8, who was having piano lessons with our neighbor, Ricci Horenstein. It was at Ms. Horenstein's suggestion that I wrote a suite of pieces suitable for Katherine's use.'

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