Great American Music Hall
The Great American Music Hall, 1976.
|Location||859 O'Farrell Street
San Francisco, California
|Former name(s)||Blanco's (1907 - 1935)
Music Box (1936 - 1971)
The Great American Music Hall is a concert hall in San Francisco, California. It is located on O'Farrell Street in the Tenderloin neighborhood on the same block as the Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theater. It is known for its decorative balconies, columns, and frescoes and for its history of unique entertainment, which has included burlesque dancing as well as jazz, folk music, and rock'n'roll concerts.
The hall was established in 1907 during the period of rebuilding that followed the 1906 Earthquake. Its interior was designed by a French architect. It was originally called Blanco's, after a notorious Barbary Coast house of prostitution.
In 1936, Sally Rand, known for her fan dance and bubble dance acts, acquired the property and branded it the Music Box. After World War II, the venue went into a long decline that nearly ended in the destruction of the building in a fire.
In 1972, newly refurbished and painted, the building was renamed the Great American Music Hall. In 1974, the new line-up of Journey debuted there, also Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead debuted and recorded a live album with Legion of Mary, his jazz influenced rock band in 1974, and again later with the Jerry Garcia Band as well as The Grateful Dead's album One from the Vault. In 1982 Robin Williams filmed his HBO special, "An Evening with Robin Williams". In the early '90s, radio station KKSF 103.7FM hosted several large "Music Without Borders Listener Appreciation Concerts", with performances by Opafire as well as other Contemporary Jazz groups. Traditional burlesque was brought back to the Great American Music Hall when the Velvet Hammer Burlesque troupe performed in 2003 and 2004. Today the Great American Music Hall continues to thrive as a respected venue for music and entertainment in San Francisco, and in 2013 it was named the sixth-best rock club in America in a Rolling Stone poll of artists and managers.
- The Grateful Dead's album One from the Vault, the first of its "From the Vault" series, was recorded at the Great American Music Hall in August 1975.
- David Bromberg recorded portions of How Late'll Ya Play 'Til? at the Great American Music Hall in June 1976.
- McCoy Tyner recorded The Greeting on March 17 & 18, 1978.
- Sonny Rollins recorded Don't Stop the Carnival on April 13, 14 & 15, 1978.
- Betty Carter recorded her live album The Audience With Betty Carter at the Great American Music Hall in 1979 which is considered by some to be the greatest vocal jazz recording of all time.
- Herbie Mann made a direct to disc recording, All Blues/Forest Rain, in 1980.
- Carla Bley recorded Live! on August 19-21, 1981.
- Robin Williams filmed his 1982 HBO special, "An Evening with Robin Williams" at the Great American Music Hall.
- The Radiators (American band) Live at the "Great American Music Hall" in 1998.
- The Secret Chiefs 3 recorded their DVD Live at the Great American Music Hall in 2007.
- Jonathan Coulton recorded his album Best. Concert. Ever. in February 2008.
- "Great American Music Hall". SF Weekly. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- Conquest, Evan. "Historic Venue - Great American Music Hall". Wolfgang's Vault. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- All Blues/Forest Rain, Herbie Mann (Herbie Mann Music HMM1, 1980)
- Web of Mimicry catalog
- Jonathan Coulton Album Promotion