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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
Flamingo's in Soho
A great club for live music and rock stars to be
Location: 33-37 Wardour Street, W1D 6PU
Description: 'The Flamingo Club' was a nightclub that operated in Soho, London, between 1952 and the late 1960s. From 1957 onwards, and played an important role in the development of British rhythm and blues and jazz.
The club was started in August 1952 by Jeffrey Kruger, and was originally located at the Mapleton Restaurant in Coventry Street. Kruger's intention was to provide a centre for high quality jazz in comfortable surroundings. Early versions of the club's resident band included saxophonists Joe Harriott and Ronnie Scott, drummer Tony Crombie and pianist Tommy Pollard, and the club rapidly gained a strong reputation, attracting visiting performers such as Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
In April 1957 the club moved to new premises in Wardour Street, where it initially remained primarily a jazz venue. In October 1962, the club was the scene of a fight between jazz fans Aloysius Gordon and Johnny Edgecombe, both lovers of Christine Keeler, which through a chain of events ultimately led to the public revelations of the Profumo Affair.
By 1963 the Flamingo had become known as a centre of the Mod subculture, where fans and musicians of both jazz and R&B music would meet together. Through the resulting melting pot of music and fashion, it is suggested that it influenced the breakdown of racial prejudice in post-war British society.
The club became particularly well known for its weekend 'all-nighters', staying open until 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Bands who performed at the club regularly in the early and mid 1960s included Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames - who released an EP Rhythm & Blues at The Flamingo in 1964 - Zoot Money's Big Roll Band, Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds, and Shotgun Express featuring Rod Stewart.
The club became recognised as a meeting place for famous musicians, with members of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and many others all being regular customers.
Tagged in this Tour: Rock London