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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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silb on 06/19/2017 at 03:37PM

Seeing Liverpool From The Beatles’ Perspective

If you started playing music in a band after the 60’s, or even if you started before, the chances are that some part of what you do has been either directly or indirectly influenced by The Beatles. The Fab Four’s eternal appeal has been attributed to a number of different things including their talent, showmanship, character, humour and raw talent. Between 1958 and 1970 John, Paul, George and Ringo crafted 13 studio albums that changed the way we look at music.

If you’re wanting to try and work out what made them tick, then a trip to the hallowed land of Liverpool might just be the way to find out. The city is still to this day very proud of their most famous residents, and even this year celebrations have been taking place to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

If you want to make a pilgrimage similar to one I wrote about in my previous post about Manchester, here’s a couple of highlights to be on the lookout for.

1)      St Peter’s Church

This is ground zero for Beatles fanatics; the place were 15 year old Paul McCartney was introduced to 16 year old John Lennon in 1957 shortly before Lennon’s skiffle group The Quarrymen took to the stage to play the church’s garden fete. The Church can be found in the Woolton area of the city where the stage was set up in the grounds.

2)      The Cavern Club

Throughout the late 50’s and into the early 60’s before the break of Beatlemania, the Beatles frequently honed their sound in the Mathew Street jazz club. Though the Cavern Club has moved location, the current location still proudly celebrates its history and connection to the band. It’s often a stop on city tours and is a great spot to pick up some live music from up and coming bands too.

3)      Ranelagh Street

Though the street has clearly undergone big changes since the 60’s, the Ranelagh Street building once hosted a dance party for the Lewis department store employees headlined by the Dee Valley Jazz Band. While this might not seem that relevant, also on the bill at the night in November 1962 was the Beatles, and Paul worked as a temp in the same store in his younger years. They were popular in Liverpool at this time, as the band’s first single Love Me Do had just been released a month before. Bigger things were yet to come!

4)      Strawberry Fields

Not to be confused with the area of Central Park dedicated to John Lennon’s memory, the original Strawberry Fields, and inspiration for the 1967 number one, can be found on Beaconsfield Road. Just round the corner from Lennon’s childhood home on Menlove Avenue was a Salvation Army children’s home where he would play in his younger years. The original gates still exist, and is a frequent stop for touring Beatle fans.

5)      12 Arnold Grove


Fans of the ‘Quiet Beatle’, George Harrison will definitely want to stop at the house he was born in in the suburb of Wavertree. It’s clear to see that the tiny “two up, two down” had big plans for the enigmatic guitar player. Paul’s, John’s, and Ringo’s homes are also similarly humble, and can be easily found on fan tours.  

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liverpool, the beatles
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