Great American Music Hall

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Great American Music Hall
Great American Music Hall (April 1976).jpg
The Great American Music Hall, 1976.
Former names Blanco's (1907 - 1935, 1948)
Music Box (1936 - 1945)
Location 859 O'Farrell Street
San Francisco, California
United States
Coordinates 37°47′06″N 122°25′08″W / 37.785048°N 122.418835°W / 37.785048; -122.418835Coordinates: 37°47′06″N 122°25′08″W / 37.785048°N 122.418835°W / 37.785048; -122.418835
Owner Slim's Presents
Type Nightclub
Capacity 600
Opened 1907 (1907)
Renovated 1972

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 capacity of the hall is 600 people.[1]


Blanco's and Music Box[edit]

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.[2]

In 1936, Sally Rand, known for her fan dance and bubble dance acts, acquired the property and branded it the Music Box. It closed with the end of World War II, reopened in 1948 as a jazz club that reused the name Blanco's, and in the 1950s the building was used by members of the Loyal Order of the Moose.[3] The venue went into a long decline that nearly resulted in the demolition of the building.[4]

Great American Music Hall[edit]

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. In May 2000, during the dot-com boom, the venue was acquired for a reportedly seven-figure sum by music website, and went to Diablo Management Group when ceased operations in December 2000.[5] Traditional burlesque was brought back to the Great American Music Hall when the Velvet Hammer Burlesque troupe performed in 2003 and 2004. In 2013, the Great American Music Hall was named the sixth-best rock club in America in a Rolling Stone poll of artists and managers.[1]



  1. ^ a b "The Best Clubs in America". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "Great American Music Hall". SF Weekly. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Great American Music Hall". Retrieved 2015-08-16. 
  4. ^ Conquest, Evan. "Historic Venue - Great American Music Hall". Wolfgang's Vault. Internet Archive. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Chonin, Neva (December 12, 2000). "Riffage Puts Music Hall Up for Sale". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  6. ^ All Blues/Forest Rain, Herbie Mann (Herbie Mann Music HMM1, 1980)
  7. ^ Web of Mimicry catalog
  8. ^ Jonathan Coulton Album Promotion

External links[edit]