Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Live At The Marquee!

Live at The Marquee!

Author: Chris Meehan

The relationship between performers and venues played is vital
in establishing the reputation or, indeed, credibility of a
given group or musician. Think of The Cotton Club and the Jazz
greats like Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong
that consolidated their legendary status here.

The mystique of a club, the vibe of an underground venue (at the
cutting edge of music fashion) the roughness of a dive, the
opulence of a casino, the smokiness of a Jazz joint can all add
to the mythology of those who?ve played there. The destination
of choice for up and coming musicians in London, with an eye for
the big time and rock immortality, has since the late fifties
always been the iconic Marquee Club.

The club came into being in 1958; the birthplace: 165 Oxford
Street. This was the dawning of the ?Swinging Sixties?, when
post-war austerity was morphing into something much brighter,
with an emerging and dynamic youth culture - which was more
hedonistic, less repressed and more fashion-conscious than
previous generations had known. Changing economic patterns also
meant that the young had opportunities, like never before, and a
disposable income, which fuelled a consumer boom and an
explosion in music and fashion. At the epicentre was the
Marquee, banging out a combustible mix of Jazz, Rhythm and

The Rolling Stones, the very incarnation of the loved-up,
psychedelic sixties, launched their assault on the world by
playing one of their earliest gigs at The Marquee in July 1962.
Names such as Clapton, The Yardbirds and The Animals became
regulars here, cementing both their fame and fortune and the
status of the club as a key landmark of ?Swinging? London.

The roll call of artists that rocked the Marquee throughout the
60s and 70s reads like a Who?s Who of the most dazzling stars in
rock?s bright firmament. These include: Hendrix, Bowie, The Who,
Yes, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Genesis, to name but a few.

The late 70s saw the anarchic emergence of Punk as an
irresistible musical and social force. A deep well of
attitude-fuelled creativity was dramatically uncovered, which
redefined the music scene. The Marquee was at the forefront of
this new wave and hosted the likes of The Clash, The Damned, The
Sex Pistols, Generation X and Siouxie and the Banshees. The Jam,
The Undertones and The Cure also unleashed their unique brand of
music here.

The 80s had a heavy synth-flavour about them, and the club once
again tapped into the new mood and became a meeting point for
British Synth-Pop and the New Wave scene, featuring such
luminaries as Depeche Mode and New Order.

The location of the Marquee, like the music it?s hosted, has
been through a number of changes. From its Oxford Street
beginnings it then migrated, in 1964, to the address that became
synonymous with the club and a hallowed destination for legions
of Marquee devotees. This, of course, was 90 Wardour Street
Soho. In the 80s it relocated to 105 Charing Cross and in
September 2002 it was transplanted to Islington by the
ex-Eurythmics, Dave Stuart ? though, this latest venture had
limited success. The club now resides in Leicester Square and
long may it continue blazing as a beacon of the London music

This article was written by

Copyright: PC Meehan 2005

About the author:
Chris Meehan is the features editor at As
well as a freelance writer on many subjects


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