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The Marquee Club

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

The Marquee Club was a music venue first located at 165 Oxford Street. It opened at that location in 1958 and was host to a range of jazz and skiffle acts. It's most famous period however, was between the years of 1964 to 1988 when it was located at 90 Wardour Street in Soho. It was always a small and relatively cheap club, located in the heart of the music industry in London's West End, and used to launch the careers of generations of rock acts.

It was a key venue for early performances by bands who were to achieve worldwide fame in the 60s and remained a venue for young bands in the decades that followed. It was the location of the first ever live performance by The Rolling Stones on July 12, 1962.

Band residences during the late 60s included, not only The Rolling Stones but, The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, The Who, King Crimson, Yes, Jethro Tull, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Pink Floyd. Pink Floyd played on Sunday afternoons as part of the Spontaneous Underground Club. Another band that made regular appearances was The Manish Boys featuring David Bowie, who first played there in November 1964; and Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac gave their first performance there in 1967.

The Marquee Club also nurtured a large social scene based around the record industry, with record company heads and their A&R reps visiting the venue on a daily basis, often talent hunting.

The Faces performed at the club on December 7, 1970. Queen performed here three times in the beginning of their career. First on January 8, 1971, then on December 20, 1972 and again on April 9, 1973 as their first gig after signing with the Trident Record company.

During the early to mid 80s the Marquee became an important venue to the new wave of British heavy metal. Def Leppard played their first show of the Pyromania World Tour here and included a different setlist from the rest of the shows on that tour. There was a glam revival spearheaded by Hanoi Rocks and Iron Maiden was filmed playing there for an LWT documentary 20th Century Box (a current affairs series aimed at British youth between 1980 and 1982).

Metallica performed their first UK show at the venue on March 27, 1984. In April of 1985, Robin Trower recorded the majority of his live album, Beyond the Mist, at the Marquee Club.

On March 9, 2009 the blue plaque honoring Keith Moon was unveiled at the site of the former club. There had been some controversy regarding honoring the late Moon but Heritage Foundation trustee David Grahmn said in a newspaper interview in 2009 "Keith has been overlooked but was such a character - you don't get characters like him anymore."

Many famous names tried to keep the club alive through the years and, as a result, it closed and reopened several times. It finally closed for good in 2008. I snapped this pic of it's current state as condos known as Soho Lofts.

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in it's heyday....sigh.

Rock and Roll London. London's Rock and Roll History. Rock and Roll Tours London


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