The 1960s: Rock RootsEdit
In 1964, the Marquee moved to its best known venue, 90 Wardour Street where all the great and good sweated on the tiny stage, and almost every major rock band played over the next 25 years. Residencies during the late 1960s alone included The Who, Yes, David Bowie, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Pink Floyd who played on Sunday afternoons as part of the Spontaneous Undergound. To find out who was playing on any given night, you could just call in next door at The Ship pub to see who was at the bar.
The 1970s: The New Punk OrderEdit
Although never a seminal punk venue, the Marquee embraced the burgeoning punk rock movement of the late 1970s regularly promoting punk and new wave nights into the 1980s. Bands such as Sex Pistols, Eddie and the Hot Rods, The Stranglers all trod the famous Wardour Street stage.
The 1980s: New Wave of British Heavy Metal and Prog RevivalEdit
During the early to mid 1980s the Marquee became an important venue to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). NWOBHM bands such as Angelwitch, Diamond Head, Witchfynde and Praying Mantis were regulars and Iron Maiden were filmed playing there for LWT documentary "20th Century Box" (introduced by a very young Danny Baker).
The Marquee was also the central venue of the progressive rock revival of the early 1980s. It was here that the then unsigned Marillion began to gain a wider fan base and press interest playing frequent 2 night residencies to a sold out crowd. Other progressive rock acts of the time regularly playing the club included Pendragon, Solstice, Twelfth Night, IQ, Haze and Liaison (who were not strictly prog but seemed to become linked to the movement).
The historical importance of the club led to a number of bigger, established artists playing 'secret' gigs at the venue often as one off 'fan thank you's', warm up shows or just because they liked the intimate atmosphere. These 'secret' shows were often promoted under an assumed name designed to be recognised only by hardcore fans. These included appearances by Marillion (under such names as Skyline Drifters and Lufthanser Air Terminal), Prince, Genesis, Iron Maiden (appearing as guests on a bill headed "A Fun Night With The Entire Population of Hackney") and Squeeze. The venue also prominently featured in the 1983 video for the Wham! single "I'm Your Man".
In 1988 the Wardour Street site was sold for redevelopment (it is now Mezzo restaurant and some flats) and the Marquee Club moved again to a larger venue at 105 Charing Cross Road. The move was unsuccessful however and the club closed shortly thereafter. In 2001 the Marquee name was bought by entrepreneurs (including Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics who owned the brand rights) and affixed to a new club, first briefly located in a purpose-built space in Islington and then at 1 Leicester Square in the heart of London's tourist district. Despite these relaunches trying to build on its former reputation, music afficionados have largely abandoned the club and it is a pale imitation of its former self.
|Major London nightclub venues|