The King's Road in Chelsea was at the epicentre of not one but two worldwide cultural shifts. In the mid-sixties, it became a focal point and shop window for the new 'swinging' London, encompassing music, the visual arts, fashion and much more. It remained continuously at the forefront of developing trends throughout the following decade until it was the key breeding-ground for punk rock, whose sound, look and attitudes continue to shape global notions of youthful rebellion almost thirty years later. In short, it was the place to be. As a laboratory and showcase for the emerging youth-orientated scene, it became the favoured habitat of several generations of pop-culture prime movers. The Sex Pistols may have sacked bass player Glen Matlock in 1977 for 'liking the Beatles', but the street in its day had also been a regular haunt for the likes of Paul McCartney and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd. Like Paris in the twenties, or Hollywood in the thirties, during the time between the formation of the Rolling Stones and the demise of the Sex Pistols the King's Road had the attention of the world.
Just how this came to be is a classic rise-and-fall story of satisfaction and sedition, featuring some of the most famous people of the last fifty years, and also many of the pivotal moments of two decades, the 60s and the 70s.
Max Decharne was a member of the band Gallon Drunk and, since 1995, The Flaming Stars. He is a regular contributor to Mojo and divides his time between London and Berlin.