Seven famous Marylebone singers

Seven famous singers who at one time or another, lived or worked in Marylebone

Phyllis Dare
Phyllis Dare was one of the great leading ladies of Edwardian musical theatre, as was her similarly charming and talented sister Zena. Phyllis’s early career was based upon good looks and a sweet voice—a review of her 1909 hit The Arcadians reads: “Miss Phyllis Dare does everything that is expected of her; she dances nicely, sings sweetly and looks pretty”—but as her acting ability improved over the years, she was able to take on more demanding roles. She spent a period of time living at 119 Gloucester Place.

Elton Hayes
Elton Hayes was something of a pioneer: one of the first musicians to find success through radio and television rather than live performance. Starting out in 1946 with a regular slot on the BBC Radio show In Town Tonight before being given his first TV show in 1954. Specialising in gentle ballads, folk songs and children’s favourites, he had an easy screen presence which led to him being cast as Alan-a-Dale in Disney’s 1952 film The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men. At the peak of his fame, Hayes was living at 19 Upper Montagu Street.

Cilla Black
Cilla’s apartment on Portland Place, bought during the first flush of her success as a pop star, became something of a party venue as London began to swing. It was also handily positioned right near the BBC building: perfect for her nascent TV career. One New Year’s Eve party at Cilla’s place in the late 1960s was attended by the Beatles and the Stones. Ringo Starr was sent out to find a piece of lucky coal, but no one could hear the buzzer when he returned and he was left out in the freezing cold for two hours.

Jimi Hendrix
In early 1965, Ringo Starr took over the lease to Flat 1, 34 Montagu Square. Paul McCartney used the flat as a demo studio for several classic Beatles songs, William Burroughs visited to record a spoken-word record, and in December 1966, Jimi Hendrix and his manager Chas Chandler moved in with their respective girlfriends. They were evicted by Ringo the following year after Hendrix whitewashed the walls in a bout of un-sanctioned, LSD-fuelled interior design.

Derek Oldham
Derek Oldham, who lived for a while at 11-15 Wigmore Street, made his name as a tenor in the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, which toured the world putting on Gilbert & Sullivan productions. He left in 1922, fell in love with and married the leading lady in his very first West End play, and went on to enjoy what he called “the hard glitter and luxury of the West End theatre.” He continued singing and acting throughout the 1930s and 40s, appearing on numerous records and popping up in several films.

Noel Gallagher
When Noel Gallagher moved to Marylebone in 2001 it was as something of a changed man: his chaotic marriage had just ended, as had years of epic drug use, and the supernova of the Britpop era had started to fade. Eschewing all of the frothy nonsense connected with being one of the country’s most recognisable performers, Noel became the unstarriest of stars, much loved by the ladies on the Waitrose checkouts.

Carl Barât
Briefly, around the turn of the millennium, The Libertines were the most exciting band in the UK, driven by the creative rapport and personal tensions between frontmen Carl Barât and Pete Doherty. Then, in 2003, after falling out over Doherty’s drug use, grimy friends and general unreliability, the band began to fall apart. Barât was living on Harley Street, which was rather ineptly burgled by Doherty, who kicked the front door down and made off with a guitar, some books and a mouth organ.