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TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
The Original Mean Fiddler
Harlesden's seminal music club The Mean Fiddler was here.
Location: 16-24 High Street, Harlesden
Description: This is the site of the first Mean Fiddler - seminal music venue which morphed into part of the Mean Fiddler Group (Jazz Caf, the Forum, Reading Festival, the Grand and many more). Founder Vince Power opened his first venue here in 1982 and sold the group in 2005 for 60 million.
Van Morrison, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney, John Martyn, Dr John, Sun Ra, The Pogues, Lloyd Cole, Dwight Yoakam, Christy Moore and many more all played here. One story goes that John Martyn was sick over some of those in the front row one night.
It used to be a dodgy drinking club owned by boxer, Terry Downes, before Vince bought it. It was hard for them to get an alcohol license, so it was illegal. There were a lot of heavy gangsters who used to come here then. A couple of bodies were found in this alleyway at one point. I bought it in 1981 because I wanted to turn it into a honky tonk bar. I used to go to Nashville so that inspired me. I loved country music.