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silb on 08/16/2017 at 04:44PM

Five first gigs of the UK's biggest rock bands

Every famous band has their origin story, and despite how rich, fortunate and famous they may be now, it’s worth noting that none of them started out that way. In the beginning, far before their best-selling albums and sold out concerts, these cool and confident rock stars were all once brand new faces, nervously getting ready to play their instruments together live for the first time. Here is a look back at the not-so famous first gigs of five of the UK’s best-selling artists.

The Beatles - Cavern Club, Liverpool

If there was ever a band that could claim themselves successful, it would have to be the Beatles. Since their formation in 1960 the small band of Liverpudlians have grown to become one of the biggest acts in music history. With an unrivalled international following and a record breaking number of album sales, the Beatle’s were well used to performing in front of thousands of screaming and adoring fans - yet it was not always this way from the beginning. Back before the UK invaded the 1960s charts and Liverpool was mostly sooty roads and marketstalls, the Beatles were playing their first gig at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, performing in front of a small group of confused lunch-goers. The band didn’t let this lukewarm reception hinder their dreams though, as although they were only paid £5 for their first gig they would go on to sell 800 million albums worldwide by the end of their career.

Led Zeppelin - Gladsaxe Teen, Gladsaxe

Led Zeppelin may be known for starting the heavy metal crusade across their home town in London, but their band’s first gig took place in a distant town across the North Sea. The first time the avant-garde rock artists played together was at a small gig in a youth venue named Gladsaxe Teen in Denmark. As the story goes, lead guitarist Jimmy page was looking to fill the tour spaces left after the disassembly of his previous band, the Yardbirds. From his network of friends, he was able to find one vocalist, a bassist and a drummer to fill in the spaces of his band and continue to play the remaining set of gigs they had booked out. Things must have went well, as the four musicians decided to continue their collaboration as Led Zeppelin and were still playing together 49 years later.

Oasis - Boardwalk Club, Manchester

The legendary tale of the two Manchurian brothers began in 1991, when Liam Gallagher played his first Oasis gig at the Boardwalk Club in Manchester. Standing in attendance was his older brother, Noel, who was impressed by his sibling's performance and decided the band would be a great platform for him to practice his songwriting and own musical talents. With a new set of skills and focus towards making a commercial breakthrough, the band’s music really began to take off, and soon the Manchester rock group enjoy a successful career as one of the biggest rock bands in Britain. Although the two brothers’ growing differences eventually led to bands demise in 2009, it’s no doubt that the band’s legacy and their music will live forever.

Rollin’ Stones – Marquee Club, London

The Rollin’ Stones are another great rock brand credited with leading the “British invasion” of Rock and Roll and enjoying a significant legacy within UK rock history. However, their historic first gig was not witnessed by adoring rock fans, but more likely a bewildered group of jazz enthusiasts. The Stone’s origin story began as a second pursuit of lead singer Mick Jagger, who, when his jazz band were unable to fill their spot for a weekly Marquee jazz event, convinced the hosts to let his newly formed rock group perform instead. While it may not have been exactly what the crowd was expecting to hear the performance gave them sufficient attention to begin their musical careers, and they soon grew to become international rock stars. With 30 studio albums, 18 albums and four of the highest grossing concert tours in history, it looks like the move from jazz to rock and roll certainly seemed to pay off.

Queen – City Hall, Cornwall


In the not so far distant future Queen would be producing smash hits and selling out rock stadiums, but in 1971, the band were performing their first gig in a local community hall in Cornwall rented out by the drummer’s mother. Performing under their original name Smile, the band hosted their first performance to raise money for the Red Cross. Discussing their first gig with rock magazine Circus, singer Eddie described the performance as full of “gaffes” and “not as polished as they would have liked”, however it was their first live performance in front of a crowd and helped launch the career for one of the world’s best selling music-artists to date.

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