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The Birthplace of Legends: The Rolling Stones’ Iconic Connection to the Marquee Club, London

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Marquee Club

London club on Wardour Street, Soho, which used to be run by Jack Berry. At the time the Marquee organization was responsible for the National Jazz and Blues Federation Festival, which evolved into the still-blasting Reading Festival. Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated had a Thursday night residency at the Marquee for most part of 1962, with Mick Jagger often joining in on vocals. When on July 12 Blues Incorporated were invited to perform live on the radio on BBC’s ‘Jazz Club’ show, the Rolling Stones -then Mick, Keith Richards, Brian Jones (still calling himself Elmo Lewis), Ian Stewart on piano, Dick Taylor on bass, and Tony Chapman on drums—stood in for them, being the first official Rolling Stones gig ever.

Also, in March 1971, the Stones filmed a farewell show at the club (actually a farewell to the U.K., since they were moving to France), Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones (not to be confused with the movie of the same name), which was aired in Europe. During the taping Keith argued with club owner Harold Pendleton, and swung his guitar at Pendleton’s head. Keith missed being brought up on charges for this because he also missed Pendleton’s head with his swing. Mick Jagger dedicated the song “Bitch” to Pendleton 4(41 years later, the show was finally released officially on DVD in 2015 as part of ‘From the Vault’ series under the title The Marquee Club (Live In 1971). In spring 1983, the Marquee celebrated its 25th anniversary and Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, and Ian Stewart joined Alexis Korner and others in a legendary birthday jam.

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