Unearthing Musical Gems from the Heart of London

In the heart of London's Soho district lies a venue that holds a special place in the hearts of music enthusiasts: The Marquee Club. For decades, this legendary spot played host to some of the most iconic live performances in rock and roll history. While the club has long since closed its doors, the echoes of its glory days can still be heard through a treasure trove of live recordings. In this edition of Record Collecting Monthly Mix, we take a trip down memory lane and revisit 26 unforgettable live tracks, all recorded at the London Marquee club. From bootleg recordings to professional album releases, quality may vary.

1. "I Got My Mojo Working" - Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated (1962)

We kick off our Marquee journey with a classic blues number that set the stage for many more electrifying performances to come. Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, often credited as one of the pioneering groups of the British blues movement, captivated Marquee audiences with their raw, soulful energy. This performance of "I Got My Mojo Working" encapsulates the essence of the club's early years, where the blues reigned supreme.

2. "Too Much Monkey Business" - The Yardbirds (1964)

The Yardbirds, featuring a young Eric Clapton at the helm, showcased their fiery brand of British blues-rock at the Marquee, leaving the audience in awe. This particular rendition of Chuck Berry's "Too Much Monkey Business" is a testament to the Yardbirds' explosive stage presence. It's a historical snapshot of a band on the brink of greatness, providing a glimpse into the rich tapestry of British rock's evolution.

3. "Green Onions" - The Who (1964)

Long before becoming the rock legends we know today, The Who graced the Marquee stage and proved that they could indeed rock the house. "Green Onions," originally a Booker T. & the M.G.'s instrumental, receives The Who's electrifying treatment in this live recording. The intensity and virtuosity of Pete Townshend's guitar work is laid bare for all to hear, offering a glimpse into the formative years of one of rock's most iconic bands.

4. "Sunny" - Alan Bown Set (1966)

With a touch of soul and a dash of rock, the Alan Bown Set added a unique flavor to the Marquee's musical history. "Sunny," a Bobby Hebb cover, takes on a new dimension in this live rendition. The band's horn section and Alan Bown's soulful voice create a vibrant atmosphere that transports listeners back to the swinging '60s London scene, capturing the Marquee's diversity and ability to embrace a wide range of musical styles.

5. "Purple Haze" - Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience's searing performance of "Purple Haze" at the Marquee is nothing short of legendary, capturing Hendrix's guitar prowess at its peak. In a venue that celebrated both blues and rock, Hendrix's psychedelic explosion of sound was a revelation. "Purple Haze" became a defining moment in the annals of rock history, showcasing Hendrix's otherworldly talent and his ability to push musical boundaries, transforming the Marquee into a temple of electric transcendence.

6. "Somethin’ Else" - The Move (1968)

The Move brought their blend of rock, pop, and psychedelia to the Marquee, proving that they were indeed "somethin’ else." In this live recording, "Somethin’ Else" takes on a vibrant, almost whimsical quality. It's a testament to the band's inventive approach to music and their ability to seamlessly blend different genres. The Move's performance underscores the Marquee's role as a haven for experimentation and innovation in the late '60s.

7. "I Talk To The Wind" - King Crimson (1969)

King Crimson's progressive sound found a fitting home at the Marquee, and their rendition of "I Talk To The Wind" is a testament to their unique style. As the '60s drew to a close, King Crimson's arrival at the Marquee signaled a shift in the musical landscape. "I Talk To The Wind" demonstrates the band's ability to weave intricate, ethereal textures in their music, foreshadowing the progressive rock revolution that would define the early '70s.

8. "Brown Sugar" - Rolling Stones (1971)

Before conquering the world, the Rolling Stones were no strangers to intimate venues like the Marquee. "Brown Sugar" is a testament to their raw energy. In 1971, the Stones graced the Marquee with their presence, delivering a performance that encapsulated the essence of rock 'n' roll rebellion. Mick Jagger's charismatic vocals and Keith Richards' iconic riffs transformed the club into a pressure cooker of pure excitement, and "Brown Sugar" remains a fiery reminder of this memorable night.

9. "Paper Plane" - Status Quo (1972)

Status Quo's catchy boogie rock brought the Marquee crowd to their feet, making it a night to remember for all in attendance. The Marquee was no stranger to the boogie rock revolution, and Status Quo was at the forefront. "Paper Plane" captured the infectious, foot-stomping spirit of the band and the era. As the Marquee's audience danced and swayed to the driving rhythm, it became clear that the club had become a breeding ground for the next wave of rock stars.

10. "Space Oddity" - David Bowie (1973)

Bowie's early rendition of "Space Oddity" at the Marquee hints at the stardom he was destined for. David Bowie's mystique and innovation were already on full display in 1973 when he graced the Marquee with his presence. "Space Oddity" showcased Bowie's unique storytelling through music, a prelude to his future as an iconic artist. The Marquee, as a stage for creativity and boundary-pushing, was the ideal setting for Bowie's performance.

11. "96 Tears" - Eddie & The Hot Rods (1976)

Eddie & The Hot Rods' energetic punk-infused performance shook the Marquee to its core, embodying the spirit of the era. The punk explosion of the mid-'70s left an indelible mark on music, and the Marquee was a hotbed for this revolutionary movement. "96 Tears" by Eddie & The Hot Rods exemplifies the unapologetic energy and DIY ethos of punk, with the Marquee providing the gritty backdrop for a musical revolution. Released as a single, the recording reached the Top 50 in the UK.

12. "Soul Stripper" - AC/DC (1976)

Long before they became one of the world's biggest rock bands, AC/DC's electrifying set at the Marquee was a testament to their high-voltage presence. AC/DC's performance of "Soul Stripper" at the Marquee showcased the band's raw, unadulterated rock 'n' roll power. It's a thrilling glimpse into the early days of a band that would soon become a global phenomenon, and the Marquee was instrumental in nurturing such talents.

13. "Little Does She Know" - Kursaal Flyers (1977)

Kursaal Flyers' harmonious melodies offered a unique contrast to the Marquee's often raucous atmosphere. Amid the pulsating energy of rock and punk, the Marquee was also a haven for diverse musical genres. Kursaal Flyers' "Little Does She Know" was a harmonious interlude, showcasing the club's versatility. The Marquee welcomed not only raucous rock but also a tapestry of musical styles.

14. "Deutscher Girls" - Adam & the Ants (1978)

Before leading the New Romantic movement, Adam Ant and his Ants graced the Marquee stage with their eccentric and innovative style. The late '70s saw the Marquee host performances by artists who were anything but ordinary. Adam & the Ants' "Deutscher Girls" reflected the fusion of punk, glam, and avant-garde that was emblematic of the time. This live recording is a testament to the Marquee's role as a springboard for musical experimentation and boundary-pushing.

15. "Boys Don't Cry" - The Cure (1979)

The Cure's hauntingly beautiful performance of "Boys Don't Cry" at the Marquee showcased their talent for crafting melancholic yet irresistible melodies. The Marquee was not solely a crucible for rock; it was also a canvas for poignant and melancholic beauty. The Cure's "Boys Don't Cry" is a haunting example of the most delicate and emotional of performances.

16. "TV Stars" - The Skids (1979)

The Skids' punk-infused anthem "TV Stars" took the Marquee crowd on a wild, rebellious ride. Punk was an attitude and a statement, and The Skids' "TV Stars" epitomized this ethos. The Marquee became a hotbed for punk rock, where rebellion and raw expression took centre stage. This live recording of this song featured on the b-side of their Top 10 ht “Into The Valley”.

17. "Sanctuary" - Iron Maiden (1981)

Before becoming metal legends, Iron Maiden conquered smaller stages like the Marquee, where they unleashed the raw power of "Sanctuary." Iron Maiden's unrelenting energy and charisma were on full display at the Marquee, as this live recording of "Sanctuary" demonstrates. The club served as a crucible for rising bands like Iron Maiden, where they honed their craft and forged their path to metal greatness.

18. "A Day Without Me" - U2 (1980)

In their formative years, U2's passionate performance of "A Day Without Me" hinted at the stadium-filling anthems they would later produce. U2's performance of "A Day Without Me" at the Marquee marked the band's early journey toward becoming one of the world's most influential rock acts. The Marquee provided the platform for the band's evolution, capturing the raw emotion and potential that would soon take the world by storm.

19. "Wooly Bully" - Nine Below Zero (1980)

Nine Below Zero's rendition of "Wooly Bully" showcased their dynamic blues-rock at its best, making it a Marquee favourite. The blues have always had a special place at the Marquee, and Nine Below Zero's take on "Wooly Bully" was no exception. The band's energetic performance showcased the enduring popularity of blues-infused rock.

20. "Garden Party" - Marillion (1982)

Marillion's progressive rock found a home at the Marquee, and "Garden Party" captured their unique brand of storytelling through music. The Marquee continued to evolve and adapt, welcoming progressive rock bands like Marillion. "Garden Party" is an epic tale delivered through music, demonstrating the most intricate and innovative soundscapes.

21. "Follow You Follow Me" - Genesis (1982)

Genesis, with Phil Collins on vocals, brought their distinctive blend of progressive and pop rock to the Marquee stage, creating unforgettable moments. The Marquee's stage saw a diverse array of artists, and Genesis' "Follow You Follow Me" marked a departure from their progressive rock roots into a more accessible, melodic sound. The Marquee crowd revelled in this musical transformation..

22. "Forest Fire" - Lloyd Cole And The Commotions (1984)

Lloyd Cole's emotive performance of "Forest Fire" encapsulated the depth of his songwriting and lyrical prowess. Lloyd Cole and The Commotions brought a touch of poetic lyricism to the Marquee with "Forest Fire" and allowed artists like Cole to connect on a deeply personal level with their audiences.

23. "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" - Guns N' Roses (1987)

Guns N' Roses' explosive performance of this Bob Dylan classic marked the beginning of their meteoric rise to rock stardom. In the late '80s, the Marquee still served as a launchpad for emerging talent, including Guns N' Roses. Their electrifying rendition of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" hinted at the massive success that lay ahead. The Marquee continued to be a breeding ground for the next generation of rock superstars.

24. "Only The Strong Survive" - Bryan Adams (1987)

Bryan Adams' charismatic stage presence was on full display at the Marquee, making every fan believe that "Only The Strong Survive." Bryan Adams' powerful stage presence and infectious energy were palpable during his Marquee performance. "Only The Strong Survive" was a rallying cry, and the Marquee audience felt the club's walls reverberate with the spirit of unity and strength.

25. "I Want To Be Free" - Toyah (1994)

Toyah's distinctive and rebellious style found a fitting home at the Marquee, and "I Want To Be Free" remains a highlight of her live repertoire. Toyah's individuality and rebellious spirit thrived on the Marquee stage. "I Want To Be Free" captures her ethos of self-expression and freedom. By this time The Marquee's had moved from it’s Wardour Street address, but it’s legacy of nurturing diverse and unconventional artists was as evident as ever.

26. "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" - The Darkness (2002)

The Darkness brought a dose of humour and theatrics to the Marquee, and their hit "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" still gets audiences rocking. The Marquee's influence extended well into the 2000s, as demonstrated by The Darkness. Their flamboyant and entertaining performance of "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" left the Marquee's tradition of showcasing charismatic and genre-defying acts unshaken.