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

The Marquee Club 1964-1972 by Tony Edwards

"My first visit to The Marquee Club as a spotty faced teenager, was in the company of two of my older brothers friends, when we saw Manfred Mann on a Monday night. Because it was a school night, I promised to be home by 11 pm. but it was such a great atmosphere that we all lost track of the time and thus I was late home (and grounded for a week-but it was worth it).

Now I had the bug and scoured the Melody Maker for the programme at The Marquee for the week, it wasn't long before the return visit was made, this time to see The Yardbirds who were amazing. I distinctly remember the condensation dripping off the walls, mirrors and me. This time it was a Friday night and my expected hometime was more realistic. By the time of my next visit, which was one of many to see The Who, I had left home and instigated another ritual which lasted many years, that of a coke or coffee in 'Le Macabre' coffee bar around the corner. There was something thrilling about drinking a coffee whilst sitting on a gravestone! I never tired of visiting that place, and took great delight introducing a new girlfriend to the 'delights' of the graveyard! The Who had something about them which made me think that, even at that early time, they were destined for greater things. How right I was. I have NEVER been disappointed with any Who gig.

During 1965, I really became a regular at the club, attending at least 3 nights a week, with groups such as Long John Baldry (various incarnations), Gary Farr and the T-Bones, Spencer Davis Group, Alex Harvey Soul Band, The Moody Blues, Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, Graham Bond Organisation, and of course Manfred Mann, The Yardbirds and The Who. Every so often there would be a visit by someone special, such as Buddy Guy, T-Bone Walker, Memphis Slim, and I do remember a great showman Soloman Burke (doing the James Brown entrance + exit with crown on head etc.). An absolutely brilliant show, which was made even better, by having Jimmy James and the Vagabonds as support group.

1966 was a memorable year for many reasons (England winning the World Cup, my scooter being stolen at the Windsor Festival on the same day as the World Cup Final. I left Wembley, rode to Windsor saw the festival, then had to get a train to Trafalgar Square to fully celebrate the great day). But I digress, the year was also memorable at The Marquee for bands such as The Move, Pink Floyd, and David Bowie and the Buzz making their presence known, and the beginning of Cream. Also during the year, Jimmy James and the Vagabonds and The Alan Bown Set made a 'live' album at the club, called 'London Swings - Live at The Marquee Club'. I can remember singing along to 'Amen' and other Jimmy James favourites, and a very large crowd being present.

The following year, '67, saw Jimi Hendrix arrive, and take the place by storm. It was also the year that Marmalade, Chicken Shack, John Mayalls Bluesbreakers, Arthur Brown, and Peter Greens Fleetwood Mack made numerous appearances. New Years Eve at the club was on I particularly remember, Marmalade were the main act, but before that John Gee (in his inimitable style had a quiz show, for which I promptly volunteered, and because he knew that I was a regular, asked what he thought were difficult questions. Because I was such a regular at the club I knew all the answers, and came away with a few prizes).

The next few years saw a decline in the 'quality' of the regular acts, and unfortunately also 'Le Macabre' was sanitised, hence it lost my custom. I still visited the club, but only when a major act was appearing, Jimmy Witherspoon, Freddie King, Yes, Joe Cocker and Free -the one thing I do remember from these later years was one of the cloackroom girls, Clare, who was the sister of a friend of a friend. Whatever happened to you Clare ?

Those are my fond memories of The Marquee, a place which has been central in my musical education, and in my growing up. Thank you John Gee and staff for ALWAYS making me welcome."

Tony Edwards (aged 15 years to 23 years), Whangarei, New Zealand, February 2007.
ace@busck.co.nz