Since the new and wildly exciting phenomenon of ‘pop music’ arrived in the mid-1950s, Newcastle has been a regular stop-off point for some of its major performing stars.
Countless thousands of us have seen our favourite artists performing at venues like the City Hall, the Mayfair, and the Arena.
The Beatles’ first appearances in the city in 1963 were at the Majestic Ballroom on Westgate Road. Today’s music fans will better know the venue as the 02 Academy.
These images from the Chronicle archive were captured mainly at Newcastle City Hall, with a few from the Mayfair Ballroom. They were taken in the 1970s and 80s.
The City Hall opened its doors on Northumberland Road in 1927.
For more than nine decades, it has been an integral part of the city’s cultural and civic life, hosting concerts, meetings, award ceremonies and prize-givings galore.
The likes of Gracie Fields, Paul Robeson and Maurice Chevalier appeared there long before the pop and rock acts arrived on the scene.
In the 1960s, it hosted big names such as The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Little Richard, The Small Faces and The Who among others.
Come the 1970s, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, and David Bowie were just some of the A-listers who graced the City Hall stage.
Later, in the 1980s, a new generation of music fans enjoyed the sounds of Duran Duran, The Jam, AC/DC, Tears For Fears and many others. The concerts continue to this day.
Across town, on the corner of Newgate Street and Low Friar Street, the Mayfair Ballroom opened in September, 1961.
Run by the Mecca organisation, the resident band, Jimmy Bence and his orchestra, was on hand for formal dance nights. The hall could accommodate 1,500 people – and there was a stage on one of the long sides of the dance floor.
But it was perhaps as a superb, and today much-missed rock venue that the Mayfair is best remembered.
Famously, Led Zeppelin – billed on the night at the New Yardbirds – made their live UK debut there in October, 1968.
Other major acts who played the intimate venue included, among others, Pink Floyd, Queen, U2, The Who, AC/DC, The Police, Nirvana, Deep Purple, T Rex, Fleetwood Mac, Black Sabbath, Slade, Thin Lizzy, Motorhead, The Clash, and for popsters, Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams.
The last band to play the venue, on May 11, 1999 were Reef – before on August 21, 5,000 rockers flocked to the emotional final night.
The building was bulldozed to make way for The Gate leisure complex.
Source : Chroniclelive