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The 100 Club is a music venue located at 100 Oxford Street, London, England. The club attained legendary status in modern British music, having played host to live music since 24 October 1942. Originally called the Feldman Swing Club, the name was changed to the 100 Club when the father of the current owner took over in 1964.
Feldman Swing Club
In 1942, the venue was a restaurant called "Macks", which was hired out beginning 24 October every Sunday evening by Robert Feldman at £4 per night to host a jazz club featuring swing music. The initial line-up of the Feldman Swing Club advertised in Melody Maker included Frank Weir, Tommy Pollard, Kenny Baker and Jimmy Skidmore, with guest artists the Feldman Trio, composed of Feldman's children, including the then eight-year-old child prodigy jazz drummer Victor Feldman.
The club was popular with working people and American GIs, who introduced jitterbug to the club, banned at most other music venues. Patrons included Glenn Miller, who auditioned young Victor Feldman, and the club hosted many top American jazz acts, including Mel Powell, Ray McKinley, Art Pepper, and Benny Goodman. Bebop as well as swing was featured. British musicians such as Ronnie Scott and Johnny Dankworth performed there. It became a mecca for black musicians from the British Empire, such as Frank Holder, Coleridge Goode and Ray Ellington.
The term "Hoorah Henry", originally coined in 1936 by American author Damon Runyon in his short story "Tight Shoes", and used in the context of a rich layabout, was, according to Albert Jack, popularised in the 1950s when Jim Godbolt came up with the term to refer to the "fans of Old Etonian jazz trumpeter Humphrey Lyttelton who would turn up in droves to the 100 Club in Oxford Street, London and shout in loud, upper-class voices between songs, "Hooray! Hooray!" Lyttelton himself commented on the term but like most credits Runyon for the term; he once stated in an interview, "In jazz circles. aggressively 'upper-class' characters are known as Hoorays, an adaption, I believe, of Damon Runyon's 'Hooray Henries'."
Following involvement in the Trad boom, and the UK beat scene (Karakorum played there 1971 with drummer Martin Chambers, who later played with the Pretenders), and rhythm and blues, the club became associated with Punk rock. In September 1976, the 100 Club played host to the first international punk festival, an event which helped to push the then new punk rock movement from the underground into the mainstream. Bands which played at this event included the Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash, Buzzcocks, The Jam, The Stranglers and The Damned.
Under the promotion of Ron Watts, the venue then booked punk bands like Angelic Upstarts, U.K. Subs and The Adicts, as well as, from 1981 onwards, hardcore punk bands such as The Varukers, Black Flag, Discharge, Charged GBH, Crass, Picture Frame Seduction, English Dogs, etc. Several live albums were recorded at the club, including one by the Sex Pistols.
On 31 May 1982, The Rolling Stones played an unannounced show there as a warm-up for their European tour, and returned again on 23 February 1986 to play a tribute show for their recently deceased pianist Ian Stewart, a concert that was their only live performance between 1982 and 1989.
Other nights would see a range of jazz, rhythm-and-blues and soul groups on the stage, including a "duel" between tenor saxophonists Teddy Edwards and Dick Morrissey in the 1980s. Other giants of jazz, including Sonny Stitt, Lee Konitz and Archie Shepp have also appeared at the club.
The 100 Club has been the home to the world longest running Northern soul all-nighters for the last 31 years, the 6t's Rhythm 'n' Soul Club, started by the late Randy Cozens and Ady Croasdell of Kent Records UK. 18 September 2010 saw the 6t's have their 31st anniversary.
The decor remains unchanged since the 1970s, although punk bands no longer appear there regularly. Instead there is a busy programme often booked up many months in advance. Occasionally, big-name touring bands will play "secret" or low-key unadvertised gigs there, relying on word of mouth to fill the 350-capacity space. The "Coda Club", a monthly social gathering of jazz musicians from the Feldman Swing Club era, continues to be held. Limelight changed the venue's musical genre once again, providing ""classical music in a rock'n'roll setting", hosting new or well-established classical artists once a month, Since 1988, the London Swing Dance Society have held "Stompin" on Monday nights, a swing dancing evening with classes and regular live bands.
On 10 June 2007, George Melly, whose association with the 100 Club goes back to the days when he performed there with Lyttelton, gave his last ever public performance.
In 2009 Feldman's Swing Club was named by the Brecon Jazz Festival as one of 12 venues which had made the most important contributions to jazz music in the United Kingdom, for its contributions in the 1942–1954 period.
In September 2010, it was announced that the 100 Club would close at the end of 2010 owing to continuing losses. A campaign was launched to keep the venue open, supported by musicians including Paul McCartney, and in February 2011 a partnership with Nike subsidiary Converse was arranged, enabling the 100 Club to remain open.
- Brown, Jonathan (25 September 2010). "The blues club that can't pay the bills". The Independent. London. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
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- Jack, Albert (5 October 2006). Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep: The Origins of Even More Phrases We Use Every Day. Penguin Adult. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-14-103956-5.
- Obituaries (28 April 2003). "Teddy Edwards". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- Tom Service, "Classical music in a rock'n'roll setting? It worked for me", The Guardian, 14 October 2011.
- "Buckingham Palace hits right note with jazz fans". Evening Standard. London. 3 August 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- Strongman, Phil (22 September 2010). "Closure Threat To 100 Club". Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
- "100 Club will close" (spanish) CYAN mag #14 November'10
- "Sir Paul McCartney comes to 100 Club's aid". BBC News. 17 December 2010.
- "100 Club saved with a little help from its friends and a mystery sponsor", Evening Standard, 21 December 2010.
- Sean Michaels (15 February 2011). "100 Club saved by Converse deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
- Adam Bychawski, "London's 100 Club saved by Converse sponsorship", NME, 14 February 2011.
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