The Marquee Club - A tribute site dedicated to the history of the legendary Marquee club at London's 90 Wardour street.

1964 by Michele Powers

"I was a college student in December 1964 when my friend Nancy Carol Lewis and I came to London. Nancy had been Campus Correspondent for Billboard Magazine at Michigan State University and contacted Andre DeVekey (not sure about spelling), who was the director of Billboard in Europe. He called most of the publicists on our behalf, asking them to help these two "freelance American journalists." And help they did. From back stage at The Beatles Christmas Show in Hammersmith to a press party in Liverpool, we met most of the people in the London music scene at that time.

During the 10 months I was in London, we were regulars at the Marquee Club. Audrey Barbour, Chris Barbour's sister, checked IDs at the door, and even though neither Nancy nor I had a membership, Audrey waved us in night after night. On Mondays, we attended the weekly press party from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Marquee studios at the rear of the club, prior to the airing/recording of "Ready, Steady, Radio" each week. Here we met The Moody Blues in late January or early February 1965. It was the week "Go Now" hit the Top 10 in Britain (I believe).

At the time, Long John Baldry played on Mondays after "Ready, Steady, Radio"; the Who on Tuesdays; Wednesdays had various groups, since The Moodies had recently stopped their regular Wednesday-night gig at the club. The Spencer Davis Group often played there on Wednesdays. Stevie Winwood was a mere 16 years old, and would get the crowds raved up playing both piano, keyboards, and harmonica. Spencer would just shrug his shoulders as Stevie went off on his own. Thursdays The Yardbirds were on board. I spent many a happy break over at The Ship, drinking ginger-beer shandies and chatting with the musicians.

Later that spring, probably April, we attended the Moodies' recording session for "From the Bottom of My Heart", a track on the group's first album. Ray Thomas played the flute for the first time on this cut. The musical track took an exceptionally long time to record, as I remember, due to Thomas' shyness about his flute playing, which he did with his back to the group. The other members' teasing didn't help things, and the night turned into a real cut-up session. Great fun!

One Monday press night party I particularly remember was when the Motown troupe hit town. Nancy and I were talking quietly in a corner to a couple of London journalists, when the sea of people opened to reveal Stevie Wonder. We were both from Michigan, and although there were hundreds of people in that studio and we were talking quietly, Stevie recognized our accents. He grabbed our hands and steered us through the crowd, introducing us to the rest of the Motown people. Nancy went on to do publicity for Motown in London, I believe. She was actually from Detroit.

In March or April, we met Jack Barrie, who would later manage The Marquee. But back then, we all lived at the St. David Resident Hotel in Bayswater. It was popular among the music crowd --cheap and good breakfasts. Jack was managing a little group from outside London, called the Boz People. It was formed around Boz Burrell, a 19-year-old singer/guitarist who later went on to join King Crimson. (I was so sorry to hear he died earlier this year.) Jack would bring the guys into London occasionally and they'd stay at the St. David. Oh, the water fights we had!!

The Boz People needed a keyboard player, so one night in probably April or May, Jack, Nancy, and I travelled to a little venue on the outskirts of London to hear a up-and-coming keyboardist. Ian McLagen joined the group, before becoming part of the Small Faces.

Being short of cash, Jack, the Boz People, and Nancy and I shared a flat in Hammersmith on Hartswood Road beginning in June. Jack had the front bedroom, Nancy and I had the one behind the kitchen, and we all dragged our mattresses to the parlor each night for the band. What a treat it was when they were out of town and we were able to actually sleep in a complete bed - innerspring AND mattress!

We were still in Hammersmith when I returned to the States in late October 1965."

Michele Powers Glaze, Dallas, Texas, June 2007.