12 Legendary Gigs At London's Marquee

Black and white image of the Who playing on a stage

The Who play the Marquee

A brand new ebook explores the legendary Marquee membership, the place many A-listers first gigged.

What’s the hyperlink between the nook of Oxford Avenue and Poland Avenue; the Soho Lofts residences on Wardour Avenue; and the Montagu Pyke Wetherspoon’s pub on Charing Cross Highway? Reply: all of them occupy websites that had been previously the deal with of the Marquee, arguably essentially the most influential small music venue there’s ever been – in London, or anyplace else.

The Marquee opened in 1958, as a jazz membership within the basement of the Academy Cinema (165 Oxford Avenue). Jazzers, each trad and trendy, performed in a circus-themed ballroom designed by famous portrait photographer and theatrical set designer Angus McBean. That is the place the Rolling Stones performed their first-ever gig in 1962.

Two years later, the membership moved down into Soho and 90 Wardour Avenue. This black-walled, bomb shelter-like house would grow to be house to the primary stirrings of blues rock, psychedelia, prog, pub rock, punk, new wave and the New Wave of British Heavy Metallic. The roll name of artists who took their first tentative steps to fame on the cramped stage of the Marquee is a Who’s Who of British music, from Eric Clapton, Cream, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and Pink Floyd to the Intercourse Pistols, the Jam, U2 and the Treatment.

A gig listing for the Marquee

A primary look by the Police (when you can spot them) from 1977

A gig on the Marquee introduced {that a} band had left the orbit of the suburban pub circuit and was on its method up. It was the gateway to the massive time – even when the place usually acquired so scorching and airless that performers would cross out on stage.

Within the late Eighties, the membership moved once more, to 105-107 Charing Cross Highway, the place it hosted early gigs by Inspiral Carpets, James, Spiritualized, PJ Harvey, the Cranberries and Oasis. The Marquee closed in 1995, by no means to be revived. It survives as of late as a fondly remembered entry on many bands’ CVs, and as an ace brand that also brings wistful smiles to the faces of gig-goers of a sure age.

Right here then, are 12 landmark Marquee gigs, which you’ll learn extra about in new ebook Marquee: The Story of the World’s Best Music Venue by Robert Sellers and Nick Pendleton.

1. Rolling Stones (12 July 1962)

A doorway into the Marquee

The Oxford Avenue door behind which The Rolling Stones performed their first gig

The band’s first ever gig. No Charlie Watts or Invoice Wyman at this stage; the line-up was founder Brian Jones, with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Ian Stewart on keyboards, Dick Taylor on bass and no person can bear in mind who, if anyone, was on drums.

2. The Who (24 November 1964)

The West London Modfathers kicked off the primary evening of a 23-week Tuesday evening residency, billed as “Most R&B”. The amount, aggression and angle of the reveals set the template for future generations of offended younger bands with guitars.

3. Pink Floyd (13 March 1966)

Starting on this date, ‘The Pink Floyd Sound’ grew to become the home band for the Spontaneous Underground, a collection of anything-goes Sunday afternoon happenings on the Marquee, that includes music, poetry, anti-conjuring acts, free haircuts and near-naked viewers members rolling in mounds of jelly.

4. Jimi Hendrix (24 January 1967)

It wasn’t Hendrix’s first UK gig nevertheless it was essentially the most excessive profile he’d performed to this point, and so everybody turned up. Hendrix was a bag of nerves earlier than occurring and rightly so – ready for him within the viewers had been the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Eric Clapton and nearly each musician on the London scene. He blew their minds.

5. Led Zeppelin (18 October 1968)

Their first gig was in Newcastle; this was the second however arguably extra necessary as a result of it was the primary time the music press acquired to see Web page, Plant, Jones and Bonham introduce the way forward for rock music. It was love at first hear – though the journalist writing for Melody Maker steered they may flip the quantity down a bit.

6. David Bowie (18–20 October 1973)

Bowie first performed the Marquee again in 1964 when he was plain Davy Jones. By 1973, he’d been the Man Who Bought the World, Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. On his final look on the Marquee, he took over the membership for 3 days to movie a TV particular through which he bid farewell to Ziggy, previewed songs from Diamond Canines and scandalised NBC, the American channel producing the present, along with his fishnet physique stocking and visual pubic hair.

7. The Intercourse Pistols (12 February 1976)

Four men - the Sex Pistols - hanging about outside the club

The Intercourse Pistols

It was their first gig outdoors artwork faculties and the Intercourse Pistols had been supporting Eddie and the Sizzling Rods. The Marquee crowd was not impressed. They shouted abuse. The band shouted again. “You possibly can’t play,” somebody heckled. “So what?” replied Sid Vicious. Earlier than they lastly give up the stage, the Pistols trashed the Sizzling Rods’ gear. They had been banned from taking part in the membership once more.

8. Motörhead (1 April 1977)

This was speculated to be Motörhead’s farewell gig. They’d been struggling to make a dwelling as a band for 2 years and this was a swan-song for followers. Because of the blinding set they performed that evening, the supervisor of a small report label supplied them cash to report a single. They used it to put down most of an album, which included debut single Motörhead. It went High 75 and persuaded the band to maintain on rockin’.

9. The Treatment and Pleasure Division (4 March 1979)

Within the late 70s and early 80s, the membership was a bastion of the New Wave, internet hosting gigs by the Jam, Ultravox, Squeeze, the Boomtown Rats, the Undertones, the Pretenders, Easy Minds, U2 and the Treatment. Each U2 and the Treatment had weekly residences: the Treatment acquired to select their very own help acts and on this specific Sunday they invited Pleasure Division to open for them, after Robert Smith had heard the Manchester band on the John Peel present and been impressed.

10. The Aces aka the Police (12 December 1981)

After they grew to become well-known, a number of bands returned to play the Marquee underneath aliases that solely diehard followers would recognise. Acts that performed these so-called secret gigs included the Jam, Genesis, Iron Maiden and Metallica. When the Police, who by this time had scored eight High 10 hits, tried it, in December 1981, it was a bit of too secret. Nobody confirmed up. Marquee workers hit Wardour Avenue to attempt to spherical up passers-by, however they acquired nearly no takers.

11. Wham! (28 October 1985)

There was one other secretive gig in October 1985 when Wham! took over the membership to movie the video for single ‘I’m Your Man’. It begins with George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley outdoors the membership on Wardour Avenue desperately attempting to promote tickets for the present to passers-by. Truly, the membership was full, though not with followers – it was full of actors and fashions employed from companies taking part in the a part of the viewers.

12. Weapons N’ Roses (19 June 1987)

The Marquee’s fame drew bands from all around the world. The likes of AC/DC, Metallica, Twisted Sister and REM all performed a few of their first UK gigs on the membership, as did Weapons N’ Roses whose first performances outdoors America had been three gigs over 9 days on the Marquee. The thrill generated from these reveals launched the band on their trajectory to international fame and debauchery.

Marquee: The Story of the World’s Best Music Venue by Robert Sellers and Nick Pendleton is printed by Paradise Highway.

Red cover of Marquee, a

All pictures courtesy of Paradise Highway. Article by Andrew Humphries.

Source :

Related posts

Rapid Roundup: Strict house rules and… Mamma Mia!


New figures show mayor still failing on homes target


Mentally ill killer Barry Levitt had sought help from hospital


This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish.AcceptRead More  
Climate change: Latest IPCC report highlights the critical need to transform agrifood systems   * 2023 NFL free agency: Titans agree to terms with former Buccaneers cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, per report * La Raison et les Remèdes *  *-*marengos – Economic Couverture en osier avec doublure en polaire 600D * Get paid to play games, watch videos, and take surveys! | * Martina Navratilova reveals she is ‘cancer-free’ after throat and breast diagnoses – The Guardian *