Watching him, you could imagine how excited a young Keith Richards and countless other British youngsters were in the '50s and '60s seeing him and other musicians who brought this haunting, sensual music with them from America.
I knew how he felt.
To hear samples from these bands, visit latimes.com/london.
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From LAX, nonstop service to London is available on Air New Zealand, British, American, United and Virgin Atlantic; connecting service (change of plane) is offered on Northwest, Delta and Continental. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $488 until May 29, increasing to $778 until June 15.
To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 44 (country code) and the local number.
To stay: Royal Adelphi Hotel, 21 Villiers St.; 20-7930- 8764, fax 20-7930-8735, http://www.royaladelphi.co.uk . Great location and price. Doubles from $125.
To eat: Cafe Pacifico, 5 Langley St., Covent Garden, 20-7379-7728, http://www.cafepacifico-laperla.com/Pages/Pac_Lon.htm . It's as though the El Cholo staff moved to London. Entrees $14-$27.
Wagamama, 1 Tavistock St., Covent Garden, 20-7836-3330, and 4A Streatham, 20-7323-9223, http://www.wagamama.com ; You sit at long, school-cafeteria-style tables, but the noodle and rice dishes are both tasty and ample. Entrees $10-$17.
To browse: Foyles, 113-119 Charing Cross Road; 20-7437-5660, http://www.foyles.co.uk . The shop carries so many books in almost every field that you always feel just one shelf away from some surprise delight.
Virgin Megastore, 13-19 Oxford St., 20-7631-1234, http://www.virginmega.co.uk . Think of it as the Foyles of record shops.
The Astoria, 157 Charing Cross Road, London; ticket info 870-534-4444, http://www.meanfiddler.com .
The Forum, 9-17 Highgate Road, Kentish Town; ticket info (Ticketmaster) 161-385-3500, http://www.meanfiddler.com .
Shepherds Bush Empire, Shepherd's Bush Green; 20-8354-3300 or ticket info 870-771-2000; http://www.shepherds-bush-empire.co.uk .
TO LEARN MORE:
NME, http://www.nme.com , about $3.50, and Time Out, http://www.timeout.com/london , about $4.65. For lists of upcoming shows, http://www.pollstar.com or http://www.bigmouth.co.uk .
Visit Britain, (800) 462-2748, http://www.visitbritain.org .
— Robert Hilburn