Town & Country Club Kentish Town 1985 – 1993
Dating from 1934 when it was originally constructed as an Art Deco Cinema, this large building on Highgate Road in north London has had several names over the years, including the Town & Country Club Kentish Town and it is currently part of the 02 empire known as the 02 Forum, Kentish Town.
It is, however, as the Town & Country Club Kentish Town that it is best known historically as a music venue and some very fine musicians appeared there during its lifetime as the “T&C”.
If I had to pick just one from the many concerts that were staged at the Town & Country Club it would have to be the quite extraordinary “Night Of The Guitars” which featured Jan Akkerman (Focus) Leslie West (Mountain) Ted Turner & Andy Powell (Wishbone Ash), Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music) Pino Daniele / Robbie Kreiger (Doors) Randy California (Spirit) Steve Hunter (notable session player) and Pete Haycock (Climax Blues Band). The show took place on May 04 1989. It should be noted that various other concerts of the same name took place around that time and featured some of the above artists together with other notables as Steve Howe (Yes) and Alvin Lee, (Ten Years After).
The Pogues recorded a live concert there, featuring Joe Strummer, on St Patrick’s day in March 1988 which is still available as a DVD.
Other notable performers to appear at the T&C were Rory Gallagher September 17th 1988, Robert Plant Dec 20, 1990 and again on Jan 10, 1991 and, on Dec 18 1992, Keith Richards and the X-Pensive Winos.
The building was originally known as the Kentish Town Forum Theatre from 1934 to 1963. It then became the ABC Cinema Kentish Town from 1963 to 1970.
In 1984 is became an Irish dancehall known as the Forum Dancehall until 1985.
It then became the Town & Country Club, its most famous persona, in 1985 until 1993 and then it was the London Forum between 1993 and 2007 and then simply The Forum from 2007 to 2009 and again between 2013 to 2015.
Between 2009 and 2013 it was the HMV Forum.
The venue ceased to be known as the Town & Country Club Kentish Town in 1993. The final artist to appear at the venue under that name was Van Morrison on March 21st preceded by a double date by Squeeze on the 19th & 20th March.
Town & Country Club Kentish Town as it is now.
Here is the link to the venue as it is now: https://academymusicgroup.com/o2forumkentishtown/
The Hope & Anchor Islington – No Stranger to the Stranglers
The Hope & Anchor Islington in 2020 Courtesy of Google Street View.
The Hope and Anchor Islington is a grade II listed building, currently owned by Greene King and still operated as a pub with great food and live music. Before this, however, and especially in the 1970s, it was an important music venue, first as a “pub rock” venue and later as a punk rock place to be. The Hope & Anchor is especially well known due to The Stranglers recording a live album, “Live at the Hope & Anchor” there in November 1977 which was initially only available as a bootleg until its eventual official release in 1992.
Live at the Hope & Anchor, The Stranglers.
Hope & Anchor Islington – a Brief History
The Hope & Anchor Islington was built in 1880 and it traded for many years as a public house. In the 1970s the venue was acquired by Albion Management. Under constant threat of closure the management organised the Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival, which took place between Tuesday 22 November and Thursday 15 December 1977 and featured many “pub” bands, punk bands and others who appeared for just expenses. A double disk album was made and released in March 1978.
Other notable acts to perform at the Hope & Anchor include Dire Straits, Squeeze, Madness, The Police, The Jam, The Ramones and the Pogues. The promo video for Madness’ “One Step Beyond” was recorded there.
It’s always encouraging to see an old established venue still operating successfully as we have lost so many of our live music pubs in recent years, even in busy and affluent London. The venue has been refurbished and upgraded by current owners Greene King, a large and popular brewery chain, and is well worth a visit. It is easy to find, being located in busy Islington with lots of public transport available although if you are travelling by car, you will find parking can be tricky, (and expensive).
The Marquee Club was one of London’s best known rock venues. Though no longer in operation, The Marquee Club was a true prestigious musical institution that was known throughout the world and is still recognised today. Read through the following to learn more about its history, where it was located, and how to join us for a visit on our Rock N’ Roll Tour of London!
The Hammersmith Odeon, also known as the Hammersmith Apollo, has a long history and has been known by several different names since it opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace.Over the years, in addition to serving as a cinema, it has played host to many musical legends and is still in use as such today, under its current name, the “Eventim Apollo.” The Apollo is a grade II listed building in the Art Deco style and is located .in Hammersmith, West London.
The venue has taken several of its names from its various owners and sponsors over the years including; Labatt’s Apollo following a sponsorship deal with the USA based Labatt Brewing Company (1993 or 1994) as well as the Carling Apollo after Carling brewery struck a deal with the owners and more recently the HMV Apollo.
Hammersmith Odeon, Hammersmith Apollo, Host To Many Musical Legends.
It was the venue when Buddy Holly played 2 concerts on 25 March 1958 which were to be his last appearances in the UK – Holly died in a plane crash On February 3, 1959, along with fellow musicians Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” J. P. Richardson. Holly’s death inspired the iconic “American Pie” by Don Mclean who made an appearance at the Hammersmith Appollo on 27th June 2000 at which he, of course, performed his masterpiece, American Pie.
More recently, just before the covid pandemic took hold and made live music in venues such as this almost impossible, the Apollo hosted a tribute concert to the mightly Ginger Baker, legendary drummer with Cream, Blind Faith and Ginger Baker’s AirForce with performances by Eric clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger’s son Kofi and many other notable performers. This concert took place on 17th Feb 2020.
In addition to its rich heritage as a venue the building is famous for its 1932 Compton pipe organ which was fully restored in 2007 and is still in working order.
The Compton Pipe Organ at the Hammersmith Apollo – photo by Jazzboy.
Other notable bands to have appeared at the Apollo include Queen, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Thin Lizzy (much of their “Live & Dangerous” album was recorded there), – see the venue website, https://www.eventimapollo.com/ for a full historical list of gigs.
The Hippodrome Golders Green is a fine old building, now Grade II listed, originally designed and built as a music hall venue in 1913.
Queen performed here in 1973 and a bootleg album followed.
The Golders Green Hippodrome is located adjacent to Golders Green tube station.
Railway Hotel Harrow – From Music Venue To A Pile Of Ashes
Hotels which were given the name “Railway Hotel” were almost always located next, or close to, railway stations, fairly obvious really. Of course, when stations were closed the need for the hotel often diminished and many ended up closing. So the Railway Hotel Harrow & Wealdstone is a bit of an exception since the station is still in use but the hotel has long since gone.
The Railway Hotel Harrow was the venue where the Who were reputed to have begun their guitar smashing antics in 1964, albeit in their earlier guise of the High Numbers. The band can be seen posing outside the hotel on the album cover shown above and in the centre fold spread of Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy. The Who’s manager to be, Kit Lambert, actually discovered them at this location and the rest is history. The guitar smashing incident was actually an accident with Pete Townsend accidentally hitting his guitar on the low roof above the stage but the crowd apparently loved it so he kept it in the act for years afterwards.
The Who had a residency at the Railway Hotel during the summer of 1964.
The Railway Hotel Harrow & Wealdstone was torched in 2002 in an arson attack and has now been replaced with something much less interesting – yet another block of flats.
Interestingly, two of the blocks of flats built on the site were named after Who (High Numbers) members Roger Daltry (Daltry house) and Keith Moon, (Moon House). There is a townsend House in Harrow but we are not sure whether that was named after Pete Townsend or if it was just a coincidence. A plaque was erected to commemorate the Who, the guitar smashing and the bands association with the hotel. The plaque has since dissapeared and is probably in someone’s collection of rock memorabilia – wish I had it!
Other acts known to have played at the Railway Hotel Harrow & Wealdstone include Jethro Tull, Savoy Brown and Anysley Dunbar – we know this because of the brilliant poster shown below:
It was a popular venue with the Mods, with whom the Who were closely associated, hence the appearance of their lesser known rock opera “Quadraphenia”.