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!
Also, be sure to check out our Free Tours by Foot London page for a full list of all of the pay-what-you-like tours that we offer!
History of the Marquee Club
Opened in April of 1958, by Harold Pendleton (secretary of the National Jazz Federation) the Marquee Club was one of the world’s premiere live-music venues until it’s closer in the 1990’s. Although a small and a remarkably affordable and accessible venue, it still launched the glittering careers of multiple world-famous musical acts.
The Club began as an intimate venue in a basement on Oxford Street originally hosting Jazz performances. In 1964 the club moved into the heart of Soho on 90 Wardour Street and soon began hosting acts in the rock genre, then later including punk, new wave, and hard rock as the years would go on. This location would become ‘The Marquee Club’ (an exhaustingly warm, sweaty, sticky venue that was meant to hold no more than 700 people but routinely was packed with as many as 1,000..!) that generations would remember.
The Wardour Street location was ordered to be demolished in 1987 as the constant vibrations of the music blaring from the venue over 30 years had slowly moved the entire facade of the building, which began dangerously tilting toward the pavement. Therefore, the club would move one more time, to Charing Cross Road, in 1988 but this final version would be closed less than a decade later. Today this final location is the home of a Wetherspoon’s pub.
So far the Marquee Club has remained closed but talks are underway (as of time of writing - June 2017) to open a new club which would also host a permanent exhibition featuring the history of the Club
Though the Marquee Club closed its doors in 1996, you can still visit the buildings where it was once located. There are 3 former locations -- each in Soho -- and all visited on our Rock N' Roll Tour of London!
- 1st (1958 - 1964) 165 Oxford Street
- 2nd (1964 - 1988) 90 Wardour Street
- 3rd (1988 - 1996) 105 Charing Cross Road
Famous Artists that Played at the Marquee Club
- Chris Barber
- Alexis Korner
- Cyril Davies
- Tubby Hayes
- Muddy Waters
- The Who
- The Rolling Stones
- Led Zeppelin
- Fleetwood Mac
- Moody Blues
- Elton John
- The Clash
- David Bowie
- The Faces
- Status Quo
- The Police
- Adam & The Ants
- Joy Division
- Dire Straits
- Eddie and the Hot Rods
- Generation X
- Def Leppard
- Iron Maiden
- The Quireboys
- Angel Witch
- Diamond Head
- Dream Theater
- All Mod Cons
Notable Events at The Marquee Club
- On the 12th of July 1962 the Rolling Stones played their first ever live show
- Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac gave one of their first ever performances here in 1967
- Def Leppard kicked off their Pyromania World Tour here in 1983
- On March 27th in 1984 Metallica played their first ever UK gig here
- The music video for the single “I’m Your Man” by Wham! was filmed here in 1985
- The music video for the single “Incommunicado” by Marillion was filmed here in 1987 ad the song actually features a reference to the venue (“I’m a Marquee veteran”)
Tours of Soho
Soho, Piccadilly, and Chinatown Tour - This tour takes you through the ages as we discuss the history of the neighorhood, how it has evolved over the years, and what it's best known for today!
Rock N' Roll Tour of London - Learn about the music movement that took over Soho in the 60s and 70s, as well as all the entertainment superstars who got their start here!
Soho and Chinatown Food Tour - Soho and Chinatown boast some of the best restaurants in the city! Come sample some of our favorite cuisines from these eclectic neighborhoods.
Self-Guided Soho, Chinatown, and Piccadilly Food Tour - Unable to join us on our food tour? No problem! Use this self-guided tour to explore Soho's foodie history on your own.
Other significant music sites in Soho:
- David Bowie Sites in London
- Trident Studios
- The Bag O' Nails
- Jimi Hendrix's London
- Ronnie Scott's
- The Beatles' London