Sarstedt - Where did he go to?
Pop legend behind multi-million-selling ode to a nameless member of the jet-set had a long-running connection with Camden
30 January, 2017 — By Mike Baess
Peter Sarstedt in the 1970s
POP music legend Peter Sarstedt, who died on January 8, had a long-running connection with Camden, and during the 80s and 90s was often found entertaining audiences with impromptu appearances at two of Belsize Park’s best-known pubs, The Washington and Sir Richard Steele.
Peter became famous in 1969 with his haunting, accordion-led and Bob Dylan-like ode to a nameless member of the jet set, Where Do You Go To My Lovely? The song was a multi-million-selling hit around the world and made Peter an instant millionaire, just like the one he so deprecatingly referenced in the song.
Peter loved north west London and would often call over to visit his brother Clive, aka Robin Sarstedt, who lived in West Hampstead and who also had a huge hit with the Hoagy Carmichael song My Resistance Is Low in 1976.
It was at one of those memorable appearances at the Washington in 1986 that I first met Peter and we became friends. He joined a circle of other famous musicians who used that pub and the Steeles, including keyboardist Tony Ashton of Ashton, Garden and Dyke and Chris Wilson of the 70s Californian power pop legends the Flamin’ Groovies.
One of the most memorable occasions was a charity event at the Wash, as it is known, in aid of striking nurses at the Royal Free. This took place in 1991 and many well-known musicians from the immediate community came out to lend a hand and, of course, Peter topped the bill and sent everybody into raptures by performing that song.
The last time I saw Peter was perhaps the most memorable – I’d told my mother Trudi, who was a big fan of Where Do You Go To My Lovely?, that Peter often called in to the Steeles. One night my parents popped in for a drink and 10 minutes later Peter walked through the door. My mother almost swooned when I introduced her to this charming man who left a similar impression on everyone he met.
I will miss him and his fabulous stories such as going out on the town with John Lennon a lot. They really don’t make them like that anymore.
• The author was a reporter/ music writer for the old Camden Journal in the 1970s.