Rock n Rolls Tours with Ronnie Scott
Digger talked to Ronnie Scott, your private guide at Rock n
Rolls Tours, who will help you discover London's swinging city
in true style. Join him in his own 1976 Rolls-Royce Silver
Shadow where you will be escorted through the heart of the
city while you discover many of the famous areas of London
which help to shape Pop and Rock History. The tour tells the
story of swinging London from the start of Skiffle to the
heady days of the Beatles roof top concert and the Rolling
Stones in Hyde Park.
Digger: What is your background Ronnie?
Ronnie: I was born in Belfast in 1952 and spent my teenage
years listening to blues music…Elmore James and Memphis Slim.
And catching big acts as they played the Radio One Club next
to my school in downtown Belfast. I saw Led Zeppelin play the
Ulster Hall with a new song called Stairway to Heaven. (Wonder
what happened to them?!) At school, I ran concerts and tried
to book the acts as seen the night before on the Old Grey
New acts like Elton John .. £250 a night .. Wishbone Ash £200
.. Yes £220 and Chicken Shack .. £180 !!! But of course these
groups became overnight stars after the test and £800 was the
norm which meant I couldn’t book them. I did book heavy
rockers Stray who came all the way from Belgium that night
with explosive pyrotechnics in their van. They joined Van
Morrison’s band Them on stage with Rory Gallagher’s bassist
brother!! And a young Ronnie Scott on harmonic and vocals in
his band Spotty Dog!
Then to Leeds to study landscape architecture. The Who had
just played Live at Leeds so that was The Place for the big
bands to come. Roxy Music, Status Quo, The Moody Blues, Golden
Earring, New York Dolls. I remember playing a bit of blues on
the pub piano after a Bill Haley concert, only to be told by
his Hell's Angels fans to play it again and again and again.
It's funny how you keep going when you hear chains rattling in
Then down to London in 1976 to live in Chelsea and then to
Portobello Road. I once made tea for Helen Mirren (a young
up-and-coming actress I believe) who was reading lines in my
flat owned by a Spanish director. Portobello shook to the
sound of reggae and punk and we spent our nights with Boy
George's mates at Legends in Savile Road just opposite Apple.
I danced one night with a lady called Bianca who had some boy
friend called Mick! After that. hard work and travel took me
away from the music scene but I collected Vinyl and CDs, and
practiced the harp (BLUES THAT IS) and piano in case those
angles ever came back.
Digger: Can you please tell us how Rock ‘n Rolls Tours
Ronnie: Now I live in West Hampstead a few metres away from
the Decca and Parlophone recording studios And it was my love
of classic cars and British music heritage that fused into
ROCK N ROLLS. The tour takes into account the history of the
London Rock scene from the early days of Skiffle to the
sophisticated Rock scene which gave birth to Band Aid.
Digger: What can people expect when they get into the
Ronnie: I break London into villages, as each have their own
character, and tell their story of their contribution to
British rock as it was formed in those early days. From Lonnie
Donegan to Freddie Mercury. You visit the sites where it all
began, where deals were done, where new sounds were created.
And where the greats lived and sadly of course died.
Hampstead, Notting Hill, Chelsea, Mayfair, Soho, Camden,
Highgate. As you drive in the 'Roller' you will hear the
fabulous soundtrack which accompanied swinging London and get
a sense of how the music evolved through that most creative of
Digger: Please tell us what options and packages are
available, how long the tours typically are and how much they
Ronnie: The tour can be tailored made to suit your taste and
It costs £29 per person per hour. 1 hour will see 2 areas of
interest, 2 hours will see 4 areas and most of central London
can be viewed in 3 hours. But don’t worry if time overruns
because of traffic or weather - there is no extra cost. You
can stop and photograph most of the sites and on longer
journeys a rock style café can be visited.
Digger: How would you describe the Rock ‘n Rolls Tours
Ronnie: I would describe the Rock and Rolls tour as unique.
Nowhere else can you feel like a rock star for the day as you
sit in a cocoon of leather and wooded luxury and relive the
life style of Lennon, Jackson and Mercury at their height!
Digger: London must be, along with New York, the most
important rock city in the world. How do you go about choosing
what to include and what not to include in the tours?
Ronnie: I have chosen the places and homes where British rock
music was created. But I can also include areas and names
which have special meaning to my clients. Nothing is
impossible. From the tree which Mark Bolan tragically hit, to
the trendy disco where Hendrix played DJ and Lennon met Yoko
Ono. For the very adventurous I can even drive you to
Liverpool, starting at the famous Ace Café on London’s North
circular and ending in the newly-built Cavern club in THE
POOL…that is a journey of a lifetime!
Digger: Why do you think retro pop culture and music is so
important to so many people these days?
Ronnie: This is the age of fast food and compressed iPod
sound. We look back at our past when everything was possible
and creative genius came from the heart, not an X Factor
factory. For the silver-haired, the swinging sixties was a
time to break loose from the grey war years. For the young of
today, it is the inspiration of true music which is COOL and
relevant in this era of rapid change and uncertainty.
Digger: And what are your personal retro and music passions?
My passions envelope all that is good in British music, from
the beautiful rich tones of Matt Monro to the beat classics of
Georgie Fame through the eccentric Englishness of the Small
Faces and the Kinks to the experimentation of Cream, The Moody
blues and, of course, The Beatles.
Digger: Who are your ‘typical’ customers, where are your
customers coming from and what customer feedback/comments do
Ronnie: I have no typical customers. Like the music, the age
group is vast. Last week I had a twenty-something couple from
New York who were into Hendrix, The Beatles and Bob Dylan.
I’ve just booked a couple in their sixties from Northern
Ireland who want to hear about The Small Faces, The Beatles
and The Stones. Interest from North America and Australia is
big, but there is also great interest from the emerging
countries like India and China where British music has cult
Digger: How would you describe the ethos and aims of the
Ronnie: The ethos of the business is to embrace the spirit of
the swinging sixties. To enjoy the energy and creativity of
the era and to give the client a brief yet memorable insight
into London’s important rock heritage. All the family is
welcome as the ageless music and fashion knows no boundaries.
Digger: What are the best and most enjoyable aspects of
running Rock ‘n Rolls Tours?
Ronnie: Every day is different and the clients all have their
own memories and inspirations from the era. On New Year's Eve,
I parked the Roller on the edge of the Abbey Road crossing and
turned up the Beatles singing Revolution on the stereo. 50
tourists of all ages and cultures danced and sang as they
crossed the road over and over again. A great moment and a
potent symbol of the love and hope music gave to the world…..
Digger: What are your plans for the future of Rock ‘n Rolls
Ronnie: My plans are to run a few more Rolls Royces and
perhaps a classic drop head for the summer and link closely
with other Rock venues and happenings!
The Rock n Rolls Sightseeing Tour of London is the
greatest way to visit the landmark sites in London
that made it the rocking hub for the swinging sixties
The Rolls-Royce acquired cult status in the swinging
sixties as iconic transport for the rich and famous.
To be a hit was to be seen in a ‘Roller.’ This is a
once in a life time chance to glide through London in
a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and relive those Fab times
by visiting a kaleidoscope of famous places where the
movers and shakers of the 60’s and 70's rock world
hung out and worked and died!
Ronnie Scott is your private guide who will help you
discover the swinging city in true style. Join him in
his own 1976 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow where you will
be escorted through the heart of the city while you
discover many of the famous areas of London which help
to shape Pop and Rock History. The tour tells the
story of swinging London from the start of Skiffle to
the heady days of the Beatles roof top concert and the
Stones in Hyde Park.
Ronnie has lived in London for the past 40 years and
knows every side street of this fascinating city
Coupled with this knowledge is his great enthusiasm
for the pop and rock scene in Britain during the
swinging eras which oozes out from every brick and
cobblestone, every street and mansion visited.
Feel like a Rock star for the day as you glide through
the streets of London and grab the opportunity to see,
hear and photograph the sites in the coolest city in
the world in one of the coolest cars ever made!
+44 207 624 2168 (international)
0207 624 2168 (UK)