The Marquee Club first opened its doors on April 19, 1958, in the basement of the old Academy Cinema on Oxford Street in London, England. Owned and run by Harry Pendleton, the Club was an immediate success and by the winter of '59 had expanded its weekly jazz offerings to three nights a week. In the early 60's the Marquee Club embraced the growing British Blues scene and extended residencies to such emerging blues musicians as Alexis Korner, John Mayall, and Manfred Man. Towards the end of 1963, the Academy Cinema's plans to renovate the building forced the club to relocate to 90 Waldour Street, a fortuitous move that put the club in the heart of London's thriving Soho District. The final show at the Marquee Club on Oxford Street was on March 5, 1964 with performances by Long John Baldry, the Hoochie Coochie Men, and the Yardbirds. The Yardbirds with a young Eric Clapton had recently started a Friday night residency at the club to go with their Sunday residency at the historic Crawdaddy Club.
The Marquee reopened at its new location on March 13, 1964 featuring Sonny Boy Williamson, and their usual friday night offerings of Long John Baldry, the Hoochie Coochie Men (featuring Rod Stewart) and the Yardbirds. The Marquee had also added a recording studio, and the Yardbirds recorded their first album, "Five Live Yardbirds", that night. During the sixties and seventies, the Marquee on Waldour Street approached almost mythical status with such legendary artists as: Hendrix, the Who, the Yardbirds, Cream, and Led Zeppelin all performing there at one time or another. The club on Waldour Street finally closed in 1988 after a steady decline in attendance. Since the late 80's the club has relocated several times and now sits in Leicester Square hoping to reclaim the glory of its earlier years.
"Where is the pop corner of the world? For thousands of youngsters it is London's Marquee Club. It is the melting pot of today's hip music, where jazz, folk, and pop meet on equal terms. Where trends are born, and stars emerge."--Melodymaker
The Marquee Club was also instrumental in the start up of the National Jazz and Blues Festival, later known as the Reading Festival--the longest running and one of the most popular outdoor festival in the UK. Organized by the club's owner, Harry Pendleton, the festival gave the Marquee associated artists a chance to play their music to a larger audience. Rory played the festival on numerous occasions: twice with Taste (1968,1970) and 4 times with the Rory Gallagher Band (1971,1973,1976,1980)
"The Taste" (or as some refer to them as, "Taste I") with a rhythm section comprised of Eric Kitringham and Norman Damery started playing the occasional gigs at the Marquee Club in February of 1968, and it wasn't long before they were offered a residency, playing regularly on mondays or the occasional friday night blues shows. By mid year they had attracted the attentions of Polydor and Rory was offered a recording contract with the supposed condition that John Wilson and Charlie McCracken replace Damery and Kitringham. After a few practice gigs in Scotland, Taste premiered the new lineup at the Marquee in August of 1968. This month's "boot of the month" is Taste's performance at the Marquee on October 25, 1968 with John Wilson on drums and Charlie McCracken on bass.