The Apollo (Glasgow)

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The Apollo
Green’s Playhouse
Address 126 Renfield Street
Scotland, United Kingdom
Owner George Green Ltd
Designation Music Venue
Capacity 3,500
Current use Demolished
Opened 5 September 1973
Closed 16 June 1985
Years active 12 Years
Architect John Fairweather

The Apollo was a music venue in Glasgow, Scotland, that operated between 1973 and 1985. It was opened by Unicorn Leisure, in September 1973, after acquiring a lease from the owners, George Green Ltd. The venue was officially opened to the public on 8 September 1973 and its debut live performance, held on 5 and 6 September 1973, featured Johnny Cash.[1] While in operation, the venue hosted a number of popular music acts; however, the poor condition of the building became a financial burden and the venue closed in 1985. The Apollo was located in the same building as Greens Playhouse, a cinema and ballroom that operated from 1927 to 1973.


The Apollo, owned by Frank Lynch and Max Langdown, was the leading concert venue in Glasgow and Scotland throughout the 1970s and 1980s (it has even been labelled "the greatest concert venue in UK rock history" by the Daily Record and Sunday Mail newspaper).[2] The cinema tradition was initially continued following the transition of the venue to the Apollo, but this became financially unviable and was discontinued.

The lease to the Apollo was held by Unicorn Leisure, the management company for comedian, Billy Connolly,[3] Midge Ure's band Salvation which was rebranded as Slik and singer, Christian; the company also operated many of Glasgow and Edinburgh's pubs, clubs and discothèques during the 1970s, including the White Elephant and whats accepted as the first ever 'Theme pub', the famous 'pop art' Muscular Arms.[citation needed]

The ballroom operated above the main concert auditorium, originally known as "Clouds", following various name changes that included "Satellite City" and "The Penthouse". The ballroom became a music venue for up-coming and relatively lesser-known bands (at that time, such bands included Queen, Simple Minds, Elvis Costello, Sham 69 and The Rich Kids) that were unable to attract a large enough paying audience to fill the concert venue.

Despite the Apollo's success as a music venue, the building was in a poor condition and its structure was gradually deteriorating; maintenance repairs were undertaken only on a "make-do" basis. In mid-1977, the owner of Unicorn Leisure relocated to the warmer climes of Florida, United States (US) and the lease for the venue was acquired by the Apollo Leisure Group. The new leaseholders experienced considerable problems with the buildings structural condition and later considered relinquishing the lease in 1978, with Mecca Bingo expressing interest in the acquisition of the building.

The resumption was to herald a seven-year downward spiral, until the venue finally closed for business on 16 June 1985, with The Style Council the final performers on the bill. The building was demolished in September 1987, following a fire that rendered the building structurally unsafe and is now the site of the world's tallest multiplex cinema complex, Cineworld.

Notable performances[edit]


Enduring memories of the 12 years of the Apollo are remembered in the 2009 musical, I Was There: The Story of The Glasgow Apollo, written and produced by Tommy McGrory.[4] A musical recollection follows the stories of two Glaswegian fans who spent their formative years frequenting the infamous venue. The Loud 'n' Proud Rock Orchestra perform hits from bands synonymous with classic rock — AC/DC to Frank Zappa; ABBA to Black Sabbath; Alice Cooper to Tangerine Dream — all of whom performed at the Glasgow Apollo between 1973 and 1985.

The show returned to Glasgow on 27 and 28 August 2010, with a new line-up of songs, memories, dancers and actors to once again reunite the Glasgow Choir.

In 2003 was launched by Scott McArthur and Andy Muir. The site has received millions of hits and its authors were awarded an "I was there" trophy by Rock Radio in recognition of their efforts in maintaining the memory of the Apollo.

As of September 2012, Kenny Forbes, a music lecturer at West of Scotland University and mature student at Glasgow University, is researching the significance of the venue and has been gathering personal accounts from people who attended the venue since 2010. Forbes has constructed a corresponding website, entitled "You Were There", and has stated that he has "been overwhelmed by the response of the Apollo audience and staff towards the research; they’ve all been extremely keen to contribute what amounts to facets of their real life experiences at the venue." Forbes has also stated that he is "especially interested to hear from those who attended jazz, pop, soul and folk concerts at the Apollo” he says, “and also from those who worked at the venue in any capacity.”[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1973 - Here We Go Here We Go Here We Go". Glasgow Apollo. 2002–2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Billy Sloan (21 November 2010). "Glasgow Apollo has so many amazing memories from Johnny Cash opening it to The Style Council's finale, says former owner Frank Lynch". Daily Record and Sunday Mail. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Allan Laing (14 December 1985). "Unknown". The Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "I Was There: The Story of The Glasgow Apollo". The List. The List Ltd. 8 February 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Do you remember Glasgow Apollo?". Walking Heads. Walking Heads. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°51′50″N 4°15′21″W / 55.86389°N 4.25583°W / 55.86389; -4.25583