Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and Transport for London are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Fender Stratocaster, and the Routemaster, London's famous double-decker bus. The two iconic companies are partnering on a 'Fender Strat' emblazoned bus, which will serve London's music heritage 24 bus route.
The two entities kicked-off the celebration with an event that took place on Tue., Aug. 19 at the London Transport Museum in the Covent Garden Piazza and featured the bus, live music and limited edition Stratocaster guitars.
Route 24 runs through Camden, home of the Jazz Café and the Roundhouse, where noted Strat player Jimi Hendrix performed; Denmark Street ("tin pan alley"), the epicenter of the UK's musical instrument industry, the former home of EMI records and the place that spawned the phrase "The Old Grey Whistle Test;" and passes Oxford Street, home of the legendary 100 Club, a mainstay of punk, jazz and rock scenes.
The Stratocaster was released in 1954 and has been played by many of the world's most famous artists (Buddy Holly, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Stevie Ray Vaughan, U2, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Mayer) during some of the most memorable moments in recent music history.
"There is an inexorable link between Fender and iconic British music from The Yardbirds and The Who to bands like The Clash, Blur and more," said Justin Norvell, vice president of marketing for Fender. "Our histories and futures are intertwined, and this Routemaster bus is a fantastic way to honor that musical and historical connection."
The AEC Routemaster is a model of double-decker bus that was built by Associated Equipment Company (AEC) in 1954 (in production from 1958) and produced until 1968. Primarily front-engined, rear open-platform buses, a small number of variants were produced with doors and/or front entrances. Introduced by London Transport in 1956, the Routemaster saw continuous service in London until 2005 and currently remains on two heritage routes in central London.
"We are delighted to celebrate the 60th anniversary of two design icons in such a unique way," said Leon Daniels, Transport for London's managing director of surface transport. "The bus network has played a crucial and unsung role in London's rich musical heritage for many decades – transporting thousands upon thousands of music lovers to gigs at venues right across the city every week – and, perhaps even more importantly, getting them home safely after those amazing performances they will never forget."
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