Club a’Gogo

by Roger

During the mid sixties, Newcastle’s Club A’Gogo was one of the top music venues in the North East. The ‘Gogo’ was to Newcastle what the Marquee club was to London. It is fondly remembered by club goers and musicians alike – people like Eric Burdon, Brian Ferry and AC/DC’s Brian Johnson. But unlike the Marquee, there is very little information about the Club A’Gogo on the internet. There are, of course, many references to the Animals being the resident band at the club in the early sixties. The Animals also recorded a live album at the Gogo and even wrote a song about the place.

The Club A’Gogo has become an important part of Newcastle’s musical heritage. The club is probably best remembered for the few years between 1964 and 1967 when iconic British and American blues, rock and soul acts regularly appeared there; acts such as Jimi Hendrix, The Who, the Rolling Stones, Wilson Picket and Ike & Tina Turner.

The Club A’Gogo didn’t start its life as a venue for blues and rock bands. Although it opened up in the early sixties when Rock and Roll was becoming popular in the UK, the first music played there was a rollover from the previous decade – jazz.

newcastle jazz club
One of the first jazz venues in Newcastle – The Newcastle Jazz Club

NEWCASTLE’S PRE-GOGO JAZZ SCENE

From the mid 50s, Newcastle had enjoyed a very lively jazz scene. The Newcastle Jazz Club in the Royal Arcade, Pilgrim Street was founded in the first half of the 1950s and in 1955 the New Orleans Club opened up at Melbourne Street, Shieldfield. Apart from genuine jazz enthusiasts, these clubs also started attracting a lot of students from Kings College (now Newcastle University).

new orleans 2
The New Orleans Club (photo by Jim Perry)

new_orleans membership
New Orleans membership card

In 1957 steps were taken that would eventually lead to the opening of the Club A’Gogo. That year the man who founded the Gogo, Mike Jeffery, opened his first music venue – the University Jazz Club in the Cordwainers Hall above the Gardeners Arms on Nelson Street, Newcastle.

Michael Frank Jeffery was a Londoner who, after a spell in the British army, came north to study at Kings College, Newcastle. Outside of Newcastle, he is probably best known as being the man who managed both the Animals and Jimi Hendrix in the sixties and early seventies.

University JC2Over the years Mike Jeffery’s reputation has become tarnished by allegations that he fleeced the artists he was managing and more recently by an unproven accusation that he murdered Jimi Hendrix. However, had it not been for Mike Jeffery, there would have been no Club A’Gogo and the careers of many well known musicians may not have turned out the way they did.

His 1957 venture, the University Jazz Club did well as a music venue. The club was only nominally linked to the university, with the profits going into Mike Jeffery’s pocket.

Unlike the New Orleans Club, it catered for dancers as well as those people who just wanted to listen to jazz. The audience it attracted was younger than that of the New Orleans with a mixture of students and non-students. Although there were several large dance halls in the town such as the Oxford Galleries and the Majestic (where the Beatles had their first live appearance in the city), there were only a handful of small, more intimate venues around at that time.

In 1959 Mike Jeffery opened the Marimba Coffee Bar on High Bridge, Newcastle (near its junction with Grey Street). By day it served Italian food and snacks but between 8 and 12 on a night time it became a private membership club with jazz being served up by some of the best musicians around such as the Emcee 4, Tommy Henderson’s Latin American Group and the Bernie Thorpe Trio. Unofficially, the jazz sessions at the Marimba continued long after midnight.

marimba composite
The Marimba at High Bridge, Newcastle

Mike Jenny Mrs Spraggin
Mike Jeffery outside the Marimba in 1960 with girlfriend Jenny Clarke (centre) and a Marimba employee, Mrs Spraggin (left) – more about Jenny below. (Photo courtesy of Tommy Henderson)

In March 1960 Jeffery opened a larger licensed jazz venue in Carliol Square called the Downbeat Club, which started to attract a more fashionable clientele that that of the New Orleans. Eric Burdon of the Animals was a member of a crowd that used to hang out at the Downbeat. In one interview Burdon described his bunch of friends as “like a motorcycle gang …… without the motorcycles ……. they were tough, hard-drinking and listened to American music”.

downbeat club bernie
Downbeat Club pamphlet

downbeat ad
Newspaper ad for Mike Jeffery’s Downbeat Club

downbeat 2
The building that housed the Downbeat (entrance far left at the rear)

A few months after the Downbeat opened there were signs that Mike Jeffery intended to move away from jazz and cater more for an increasing number of rhythm and blues fans. In an interview with the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, Jeffery suggested that he would be introducing a blues night at the Downbeat featuring an R&B band consisting of guitars, piano and tenor sax. Around the same time, he introduced Saturday afternoon record sessions for teenagers at the club. The Downbeat eventually succumbed to rock and blues music featuring local bands such as the Alan Price Combo (originally the Pagans), the Kylastrons and a Whitley Bay band called the Invaders, the first ‘non-Jazz’ band to play there.

Downbeat
Newspaper ad for the Downbeat

In spite of dwindling audiences at the New Orleans and at the Downbeat on jazz nights, there were still plenty of traditional (trad) jazz bands and modern jazz combos doing the rounds in the north east. In the wider world jazz was still thriving. For instance, in 1961 there were three jazz performers in the top 20 all at the same time – (Dave Brubeck, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk).

BIRTH OF THE CLUB A’GOGO

In 1962, probably partly from the proceeds of an insurance pay off from a fire at the Marimba, Mike Jeffery opened the Club A’Gogo in collaboration with another local businessman/entrepreneur called Ray Grehan who, at the time was the sales manager for a company named Automaticket.

The Club A’Gogo was situated on the top floor in a building on Percy Street in Newcastle’s Haymarket area above a canteen used by Newcastle Corporation bus crews. The Handyside Arcade, another well known land mark of the era, was part of the same block. These buildings have long since been demolished and in their place stands the Eldon Garden Shopping Centre.

percy street
Percy Street in the sixties – entrance to the Gogo was by the doorway (bottom right)

Percy St pic
Site of the Club A’Gogo on Percy Street in the noughties

When the Gogo first opened, Mike Jeffery booked a lot of the same bands and musicians that had played at the Marimba and the Downbeat such as the Emcee 5, the Invaders, Tommy Henderson and Alan price.

TH cuuting gogo
early newspaper ad for the Gogo

Tommy Henderson Quartet 2
Tommy Henderson (far right) and his quartet

There were two rooms upstairs, initially managed by a gentleman called Bill Smith. On the right was the licensed “Jazz Lounge” where the Tommy Henderson combo started as the resident band. On the left was the unlicensed “Latin American Lounge” (later to be renamed the “Young Set”). As with his earlier ventures – the University Jazz Club and the Downbeat, which both had unlicensed sessions for teenagers under the legal drinking age, Mike Jeffery continued his policy of catering for both younger and older clientele by splitting the Gogo into the two discrete venues

Young Set
The Young Set (originally named ‘The Latin American Lounge’)

Burdon at Gogo
Eric Burdon performing in the Jazz Lounge at the Gogo in his pre-Animal days (photo by Jim Perry)

GoGo clip1

Initially, the Jazz Lounge was true to its name and featured mainly jazz acts. As well as local jazzmen such as Mike Carr, jazz groups from London such as such as the Tubby Hayes Quartet and the Alan Elsdon Jazz Band appeared there on a regular basis. However, by the end of 1962 and into 1963 jazz was definitely suffering a decline. Mike Carr’s Emcee 5 made their final appearance at the club in the summer of 1962 and by 1963 jazz was phased out completely, paving the way for touring American blues artist like John Lee Hooker and Sonny Boy Williamson. Gradually, the club would change to accommodate some of the great British groups that were emerging in the early sixties; bands like the Alex Harvey Soul Band, Graham Bond Organisation, Spencer Davis Group to name but a few.

Downbeat club regulars – the Invaders became the resident band in the Young Set. Dougie Vickers, who was the Invaders’ drummer, remembers the band auditioning for Mike Jeffery. The Invaders were offered the gig at the Club A’Gogo but only on the condition that they added a sax player to their line up. They promptly found a saxophonist and began playing in the Young Set on Wednesday, Friday, Saturdays and Sunday nights. The Saturday night sessions would start at 12.00 midnight and end at 4.00am. Dougie recalls that on some occasions the queue to get into the club stretched from the doorway in Percy Street around the corner to St James Park.

Invaders 2
The Invaders – the first resident band in the Young Set (photo kindly supplied by Dougie Vickers, drums)

GoGo flyer
Club a’GoGo flyer from 1963

In 1963, the Alan Price Combo (later renamed the Animals) became the resident band in the Jazz Lounge

Due to the popularity of the Club A’Gogo in Newcastle, Mike Jeffery also opened a second Club A’Gogo at North Parade Whitley Bay on Friday 16th August 1963. Well known national groups were booked to appear at the Whitley Bay club as well as local favourites such as the Alan Price Combo, the Invaders and the Kylastrons

GoGo WB cutting
Newspaper ad for the Whitley Bay Club A’Gogo

mike-jeffery-2The Alan Price Combo continued to be the resident band at the Newcastle Club A’Gogo. In the latter half of 1963 they were beginning to come to the attention of several influential people on the London club scene.

Around this time, Mike Jeffery (pictured left) drew up a management contract with the Alan Price Combo and promptly sent them off to London for the ten weeks leading up to Christmas 1963 under their new name of the Animals where they appeared at various R&B clubs such as the Scene, Eel Pie Island and the Ricky Tic.

The Animals returned to the Gogo just after Christmas 1963 but due to their national success they weren’t there very long and eventually their residency was taken over by the Junco Partners.

Juncos 1964
Gogo resident band from 1964 – the Junco Partners

In the following newspaper article Jenny Stewart (formerly Clarke) recalls her experiences at the Gogo and her friendship with Mike Jeffery: -

jenny article revised 2
(Newspaper article dated 1992)

Mike Jeffery went on to manage Jimi Hendrix. He also owned night clubs in Majorca and met an untimely death in 1973 when a plane bringing him back from a trip to Majorca collided with another plane over Nantes in western France. The accident occurred a few years after Jimi Hendrix died in London. Jeffery was on his way back to a Court hearing in London concerning Hendrix when he died along with 60 other passengers when the DC-9 crashed,

MUSICIANS’ RECOLLECTIONS OF THE GOGO

In an interview for Northstars, John Steele of the animals describes his early days at the Gogo: -

“Well, it was very exciting and at the a’Gogo you had two rooms; you had a young set room and what was called the jazz lounge. Originally that was the sophisticated jazz lounge but that developed into us (the Animals) becoming the resident band, and after a while, the policy changed to more commercial music and it was just heaving, jumping and in the young set room you would have bands like the Rolling Stones, who would come in and check us out in the other room.

We would be in the jazz lounge backing John Lee Hooker or Sonny Boy Williamson; I’ve backed people like Tubby Hayes and Tony Coe and as well as playing with Eric (Burdon) before we were called the Animals. I also played with Mike Carr at times, playing straight jazz, so there was this beautiful mix of music – modern jazz, R & B and authentic blues men coming over from America, with the new British music going on in the room next door. It was jumping, a fantastic atmosphere. Yeah it was great.”

In a 2010 interview, Eric Burdon was asked about his memories of the Club a’Gogo. This was what he said: -

“As soon as I finished my art studies, I was offered the job of designing the interior of a club project. It became the Club a Go-Go. It was my first and only job as a designer in the commercial world. The Club a Go-Go was a shining star of the northern British club world, which meant it also had to be a den of iniquity. It’s where the North East mob was born – they ran several clubs in the area. It was a mixture of teen heaven, with the devil running loose wielding a hatchet. It was the only place outside of one club in London that actually had a full-on gaming licence. It was very clear that the mob from London would take interest, as gaming back then was strictly controlled in England and only one club in London’s West End had been allowed the game of roulette. I have many great memories from Club A Go-Go. I remember when the late John Lee Hooker played there, he said to me: ‘Man, I’ve seen some wild stuff in my years but nothing like this. This is Newcastle Mississippi.’

Another band that appeared at the Gogo in 1967 was Captain Beefheart. In his book about his days with Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, drummer John ‘drumbo’ French recalls the visit to the club: -

“We became lost trying to find this club, as we had driven up from London. It was late afternoon when we finally asked directions. I recall rolling down the window and asking some fellow on the street if he’d heard of the place. He didn’t understand me. I said it again and his face lit up: “Oooh, the cloob a goo goo.” He went on and on about how to get there. The brogue to my untrained ear sounded Scottish. I didn’t understand a word he said but the driver got it all. I thanked him and we drove off to the club. It was a medium sized club with a lot of thick dark tables with initial carved in them, and the smell of ale permeating the whole building.

“John French: Do you remember playing in the Club A’Gogo in Newcastle?

Jerry Handley (Beefheart’s bass player): I remember Newcastle, that’s where the Animals were from originally.

John French: They sounded Scottish, they had very strong accents. There were knife marks all over the booths. It was a rough looking place. They carved their initials in all the booths.

“The performance that night was quite good. By this time we were into our stride. I think the main problem with the band was that Don (Captain Beefheart) didn’t like to tour or perform. However it was the best thing for us.”

In an interview on the ITV series ‘Northstars’ (broadcast in 2002), Bryan Ferry recalled seeing the Junco Partners at the Gogo and playing there with his own band – the Gas Board. He remembered carrying the band’s gear from the Young Set across the landing to the Jazz Lounge. Ferry described the atmosphere at the Gogo as heavily charged and said it was the best club he had been to. He also remembered that the walls of the Jazz Lounge had a day-glo mural of a New York skyline. In fact, he helped the artist, a David Sweetman with the painting. In Michael Bracewell’s book – ‘Roxy – the band that invented an era’, Ferry is quoted as saying:-

“The Club A’Gogo was great. That was near the bus station. You’d go up these stairs, past all these bus drivers and bus conductors who had a tea room or office there, and the club was at the top. It was in two sections; there was what they called “Young Set” and then there was the “Old Set” or “Jazz Set”. So you had to set up in one part of it for the first set, and then you had to move all your equipment through to the other side – there were two rooms, in other words, and the second was more sophisticated. The first was bigger, maybe.

Later I saw all sorts of people there: Cream, the Spencer Davis Group, Wilson Pickett, Captain Beefheart – I was DJ at the club the night Beefheart played there.

There was this marvellous Jewish man called Myer Thomas, who was the boss of the A’Gogo. He was like a Sidney Greenstreet figure – this big, big man in a double-breasted suit. He was a great character – really scary. And some quite hard men used to go there – like gangsters; dressed in mohair suits, with beautiful girls – the best looking girls in Newcastle; quite tarty. It was really exciting – it felt really “It” to go there. beautiful girls …”

Also in the ‘Northstars’ interviews, Brian Johnson of AC/DC remembered seeing the Yardbirds at the Gogo but was kicked out as soon as Keith Relf appeared on stage because he was too young to be in the Jazz Lounge; Sting recalled seeing Jimi Hendrix and Rod Clements of Lindisfarne remembered being close to the stage when the likes of John Mayall and Alex Harvey appeared. He recalled meeting the same bunch of people around the stage area waiting for the bands to appear and remembered portraits of Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and John Lee Hooker on the walls.

jazzlounge card
Membership card for the Jazz Lounge circa 1967

The Junco Partners, who took over as the Gogo’s resident house band after the Animals, know as much about the club as anyone. Here’s a couple of videos in which members of the Juncos talk about the club: -

Ronnie & Dave talk about the Club A GoGo from Junco Partners Official Myspace. on Myspace.

The Juncos and Eric Burdon “Alright Now!” from Junco Partners Official Myspace. on Myspace.

Jimi HendrixDuring his short career, Jimi Hendrix only played a handful of gigs in the north east. One of them was at the Club a’GoGo on 10 March 1967, a week before the release of ‘Purple Haze’. His first hit -’Hey Joe’ had first appeared in the charts 3 months earlier. By the time of the GoGo gig, Hendrix had built up a solid reputation in the music press and was receiving accolades from famous musicians, such as Mick Jagger.

GoGo Al Harvey Hendrix played two sets at the Club A’Gogo; the first in the Young Set and then a late set in the Jazz Lounge. Five weeks earlier he had played at the Cellar Club in South Shields and had surprised the audience by ramming his guitar into the ceiling above the stage. Hendrix repeated the stunt at the Gogo and left his guitar suspended in the hole he made in the ceiling.

CLUB GOERS’ RECOLLECTIONS

My own personal experiences of the Club A’Gogo are fairly limited; I played there, both in the Young Set and the Jazz Lounge with two bands; the Jazzboard and the Village on several occasions between 1965 and 1968. Due to band commitments and the fact I lived in Sunderland, I was never a regular visitor to the club but when I was with the Jazzboard in 1966 we often went to the Jazz Lounge after our own gigs in the Newcastle area had finished. Some of the bands I saw at these late night sessions were Graham Bond, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (with Eric Clapton), Geno Washington and not forgetting Newcastle’s favourite band, The Junco Partners.

GoGo Advert
Newspaper ad for the Gogo (1965)

Around this time, there used to be a black guy who sat in with a lot of the visiting bands on conga drums. I think he must have kept his drums at the club and brought them out if he got the nod from the band. The stage in the Jazz Lounge wasn’t very high and you could get quite close to the musicians.

People who frequented the Gogo in the sixties will also remember some of the characters who worked at the club. Tommy Crumb, a bald guy who usually wore a leather coat, looked after the door on ground level with several others. The clubs upstairs were managed by Myer Thomas who is mentioned by name in the Animals song ‘Club a’GoGo’.

Dave Finlay

Dave Finlay

Amongst other things, Myer Thomas (mentioned by Bryan Ferry above) used to manage the stage logistics and the smooth running of the bands’ performances. I can remember him once telling off our keyboard player, Jimmy Hall, for smoking on stage.

A couple of the better known bouncers were the Finlay brothers – Dave and Tommy. Dave was a tall good looking bloke with fairish/ginger hair. Tommy had darker hair was a quite a bit shorter than Dave.

I recall waiting to go into the club late one night when a guy came running out of the door hotly pursued by Dave Finlay. The guy ran along Percy Street and Dave tried to head him off by jumping onto the bonnets and roofs of a couple of parked cars.

Other names that people remember as working at the club were Big Phil, Keith Crombie and Keith Young.

Ex-club goers that have contributed to the Chronicle Live site remember the mod clothes – herringbone jackets and hush puppies and other gear brought from City Stylish. Another shop that sold clothing to the Newcastle mods was Marcus Price who had a shop a few doors along from the Club A’Gogo. Here is an extract from Michael Bracewell’s book – ‘Roxy – the band that invented an era’. Marcus Price says:-

“Mike Jeffery , who actually owned the A’Gogo had done social studies at university. He then had an older man who fronted it, who was from a retail background – Myer Thomas; he had a deadpan manner, and used to pop into the shop for ties. Initially Mike had a coffee house, and then he translated that into a club – the A’Gogo. He was up-to-the-minute you see.

marcus-price 3The A’Gogo became a bit like the Cavern in Liverpool. Women’s styles at the club varied – some of it was flash Newcastle, but a lot of the time it was just sweaters and jeans. Slightly better dressed in the older “Lounge” section. The hair was that Kathy McGowan kind of thing. Black pullovers. Ben Sherman shirt dresses. Little Levi jackets ….

They put on a lot of American stuff – John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson – mainly blues. Then we had the local stuff – the Animals, of course. Also Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart when he was just starting off, Julie Driscoll, Eric Clapton. The Junco Partners were the resident group..”

From the same book, artist Stephen Buckley who was at university with Bryan Ferry recalls: -

“The premises of the A’Gogo must have been a warehouse of some sort, originally. There were two very large dance areas, coming up from a central staircase, and there was a vicarious danger about it, as well. I suppose I went there three or four times a week; and it had a late night license. But curiously enough it was the dancing that was the thing, rather than the drinking. One wasn’t getting drunk, one was dancing. I saw the Stones and the Who.”

Fellow artist Tim head, who was also part of Ferry’s crowd says: -

“We used to go to this wonderful club, the A’Gogo, which was very near the university in the Haymarket. That’s where all the R&B bands would play – I saw Hendrix play there; in fact he came back to a student party with us. Bryan did some DJ’ing there later.

They specialised in R&B – Geno Washington, the Who. The Club A’Gogo had these steep steps going up to it, and I remember a guy being pulled out by the bouncers – as I was going back into the club this poor guy was being hurled down the stairs and thrown into the street.”

Avril Leitch recalls clubbing at both the Downbeat and the Gogo: -

Our Saturday nights started at The Muscle-In under the railway arches, then the Club a’Gogo until midnight then we’d follow the Animals to the Downbeat before walking home at around 5am. across the Town Moor.

The Downbeat became a bit of a druggy place with ‘bodies’ lying around the floor. But the Animals were brilliant – each number would last about ten minutes. The walls were painted red or black and the light bulbs were black.

The Club a’Gogo was certainly the place to be and I remember preferring listening to the Animals in one room than to the Rolling Stones in the other. There was a bit of a gambling room in one corner, I remember. The Stones were new boys then – I danced with Mick Jagger!

Our hands were painted with invisible ink so we could come and go without having to pay again.”

Anne Wilson (previously Cotton) recalls some of her experiences at the Gogo: -

“My twin sister and I went to the Gogo from 1962 then for a short period, to the Downbeat. Once we started going to the Gogo again we just couldn’t stop. We were known for our dancing. If you went to the Gogo you’d remember us. Sometimes a record was put on as request for ‘the Cotton twins’ because no one was dancing and we never minded being the only ones on the floor. It would encourage others to get up and the evening would start.

The Gogo was our lives. We went there at least three times a week . Over the years we made many new friends so having no one to go to the club with was never a problem. You’d walk in and were bound to meet up with someone you knew.

I’ve read articles about people who supposedly went to the club but no one mentions ‘Frenchy’. I find that strange. He certainly was a big part of the Gogo scene as well as the Finlays. The last time I saw Frenchy was 1966 in the Quay Club. I’d heard he was going to prison. He certainly didn’t look happy.

Of course you can never talk about the Gogo and not mention the Junco Partners. They were so good. We had great evenings dancing to their music. First in the ‘Young-set’ and later in the Jazz Lounge.

There were many very special evenings when groups got together and played together. I remember Long John Baldry and the Spence Davis Group (before they were famous). We were really annoyed that we had to queue outside ‘our’ club to see a group we’d been listening to for quite a while. Of course fame also meant they stopped coming.

The night the Stones came to the Gogo Mike Jeffery told everyone to leave them alone as they’d come to enjoy themselves. Later that night we were asked if we wanted to go to a party and were taken in a jeep to what was then The Quay Club – but it wasn’t open at that stage. We sat at the same table as all the Stones, everyone talking away and left at 4.30. It was something to talk about at Art College the next day. Whether anybody believed me or not is another thing!”

young set membership
Membership card for the Young Set from around 1967

Another ex-Gogo regular remembers manager, Myer Thomas at the time that the Animal’s ‘House of the Rising Sun’ had been released. Every night he would announce its progress up the charts. Myer eventually moved out to Majorca where Mike Jeffery together with Keith Gibbon opened a night club named Sergeant Peppers in the Plaza Gomilla, Palma.

ChronicleLive, often features people’s memories of the life and times of the Gogo and is well worth checking out.

THE DEMISE OF THE CLUB A’GOGO

I haven’t been able to establish the exact date the Gogo closed its doors for the final time. According to Jenny Clarke’s newspaper article, Mike Jeffery’s regime ended when the Gogo went into receivership in 1965 and was sold the following year. The club continued under new management for at least another two years. According to one contributor to the Chronicle Live site, the Gogo lost its popularity after the opening of Sloopy’s (formerly La Dolce Vita) and this forced its closure. The closure probably took place at the end of 1968 or in the first few months of 1969. I certainly remember seeing ex-Gogo doorman, Dave Finlay working at the Crescendo Club, Whitley Bay in the Summer of 1969.

For some the spirit of the Club A’Gogo died a lot earlier than 1969. In a television interview, Ronnie Barker, vocalist with the Junco Partners, recalled the demise of the Gogo: -

“Well the Club A’Gogo only really had a period of about four years that was its heyday. Sixty three, four, five, six and the management changed hands round about sixty seven. And after that the artistic control or whatever you want to call it just went out of the window, they started booking sub-standard acts.”

Gogo flyer
Gogo flyer

The GoGo is best remembered for its intimate atmosphere and for the great bands that appeared there in its heydays of the mid-sixties. Here are some of the bands and artists that appeared at the Gogo:

GoGo clip 2
• Alan Bown Set
• Alan Price
• Alex Harvey
• Alexis Korner
• Amen Corner
• Brian Auger’s Trinity (with Julie Driscoll)
• Captain Beefheart
• Cream
• Garnet Mimms
• Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band
• Graham Bond Organisation
• Herman’s Hermits
• Hollies
• Howlin’ Wolf
• Ike and Tina Turner
• Jeff Beck
• Jimi Hendrix
• Jimmy James & the Vagabonds
• John Lee Hooker
• John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers
• Long John Baldry
• Lulu
• Mary Wells
• Memphis Slim
• Moody Blues
• Pink Floyd
• P J Proby
• Rolling Stones
• Root & Jenny Jackson
• Screaming Jay Hawkins
• Shotgun Express
• Sonny Boy Williamson
• Spencer Davis Group
• Status Quo
• Steam Packet (with Rod Stewart)
• T Bone Walker
• The Animals
• The Family
• The Herd (with Peter Frampton)
• The Move
• The Who
• Walker Brothers
• Wilson Pickett
• Yardbirds
• Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band

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Gogo newspaper cutting from 1965

Here are some Gogo gig dates:

Gogo1
• 08/11/1963 – Rolling Stones
• 07/02/1964 – Graham Bond
• 05/06/1964 – John Lee Hooker
• 15/12/1964 – Stormsville Shakers
• 18/02/1965 – Stormsville Shakers
• 20/03/1965 – T Bone Walker
• 30/04/1965 – Stormsville Shakers
• 12/11/1965 – Stormsville Shakers
• 20/01/1966 – Spencer Davis
• 17/02/1966 – The Who
• 19/03/1966 – Zoot Money
• 04/08/1966 – Stormsville Shakers
• 29/09/1966 – Stormsville Shakers
• 12/10/1966 – The Family
• 10/11/1966 – The Family
• 15/12/1966 – The Family
• 31/12/1966 – Shotgun Express
• 02/02/1967 – Alexis Korner
• 10/03/1967 – Jimi Hendrix
• 11/03/1967 – Root & Jenny Jackson
• 16/03/1967 – Jimmy James & the Vagabonds
Gogo2• 19/05/1967 – Pink Floyd
• 01/07/1967 – The Family
• 20/10/1967 – Cream
• 16/11/1967 – Jeff Beck
• 23/11/1967 – Cream
• 04/12/1967 – Eric Burdon and the Animals
• 01/08/1968 – Stormsville Shakers
• 15/03/1968 – Status Quo
• 22/03/1968 – The Herd
• 04/04/1968 – John Mayall
• 06/06/1968 – John Mayall
• 12/10/1968 – Stormsville Shakers


34 Comments »

  1. I remember The Pretty Things among others whose names will no doubt come back to me…memories memories..

    Comment by tina fortune — August 30, 2013 @ 11:23 am

  2. People rarely believe just how many amazing people we met and shared a table with in those days…most of us sang and/or played in groups (those of us at Art School anyway ! Does anyone remember Frank White who was one-time manager of The Gas Board?

    Comment by tina fortune — August 30, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

  3. Marvellous memories. Thank you Roger for your hard work in putting this all together.

    Comment by John Stewart — August 31, 2013 @ 11:27 am

  4. I was a disc jockey at the Gogo, remember Jenny, Myer, the Juncos, of course the Animal. But as I remember it, because I helped him, Big Phil was the artist who produced the back-wall mural, and it was New Orleans, not New York. I know ‘coz I was passing that city three years ago, and suddenly recognized the skyline. Great days, y’all, and I miss you. ‘specially Tommy Crumb – love you Tommy- where’s you black leather jacket?

    Anyone remember the long haired female DJ we gave ex-lax to? Mary Klegg, I think.

    And how about Dickie Bainbridge?

    Love to hear from any of you. biggles800@aol.com

    Comment by Dave Berry — September 6, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

  5. I went regular to the GoGo and I hate to be the messenger of bad news but Fleetwood Mac, NEVER played the GoGO. Mic Fleetwood did John Mcvie did but they were in the John Mayal Bluesbreakers. When Eric Clapton left the Bluesbreakers with Ginger Baker to form Cream, John Mayal found a young 17 year old to take Eric’s place,which was Peter Green, one night Peter was waiting for Mic and John coming back from were ever they had been,(magical mystery tour!!!)he was doing a few rifts and created an instrumental and called it Fleetwood Mac. When they left the Bluesbreakers they were called Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac but they NEVER played the GoGo as Fleetwood Mac. I checked with my good friend David Findlay who was there from day one and he confirms this.

    Comment by P.Whinham — September 14, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

  6. Haha what a joke u put dave findlay on here as a hero hes nothin but a thug and a wife beater

    Comment by Sara — September 16, 2013 @ 11:05 pm

  7. There’s nothing on the page to suggest that Dave Finlay is a ‘hero’. He’s as much a part of the history of the Club A’Gogo as all the other people mentioned and that’s the only reason he has been included.

    Comment by Roger — September 16, 2013 @ 11:42 pm

  8. Brilliant work, research and photos of ticket stubbs and of past groups and so much more…wow very impressive. As a HUGE Eric Burdon and the Animals fan -this means a lot. Well done.

    Australia says thank you

    Comment by Helene67 — September 20, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

  9. Remember being a student at Ridley Hall, Bardon Mill in 1967 and coming in to see Cream – 6 of us in my Mini (when Minis were really minis!). Don’t know how we got back. Remember Ginger Baker throwing his drumsticks around and Clapton’s afro hair. Also remember taking my first girlfriend Shona to the Young Set much against my parents recommendation that we go for a coffee! Brilliant days/nights.

    Comment by john stewart — October 1, 2013 @ 3:59 pm

  10. ps, I’m no relation to the other John Stewart posted on August 31st!!

    Comment by john stewart — October 1, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

  11. Here’s that fabulous Jazz lounge wall part painted by Bryan Ferry. I was Jazz Lounge DJ after Mel? left to become roadie with the Faces – I was promoted by Myer from the cloakroom. 50 years later, I’m still a DJ ! – http://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc1/614397_10150974121316529_538591423_o.jpg

    Comment by Dave Raven — October 12, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

  12. One big memory as the cloakroom attendant in the corridor between the Young Set and the Jazz Lounge next to the guy checking the UV mark on your hand to show you were a Jazz Lounge member
    (If you were quick when they marked you you could ‘bump’ a friend).
    The fashion may have been good in the club, but the outer garment was a duffle coat. All the same, stag horn toggles, chain hanger, camel coloured. The hooks were so close together that as the night went on the coats would get dragged, the chain would snap and they’d fall to to the floor.
    When you took the ticket of someone going home, went to the peg and found it empty, come back and say what type of coat was it ?
    They would say ‘duffle’ and i would look at the floor covered to a height of 6 inches of loose coats and say ‘can you wait until we close’ ?

    Comment by Dave Raven — October 12, 2013 @ 7:01 pm

  13. Great days and interesting stuff – to my mind what the 60s was all about. I remember Keith Moon bashing hell out of his drums with an elastoplast stuck on his nose. Queuing for ages to get in whenever a name was on. Slight change of venue – anyone remember Bob Dylan playing the Odeon – I reckon it must have been 1965. I’ve still got the ticket stub for the mighty price of ten bob!

    Comment by Tom Edmondson — October 30, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

  14. Fascinating site. Well done.
    I lived at the coast and was in bands myself. I went to the Whitley Bay Go-Go regularly.
    No alcohol allowed, just Hubbly Bubbly. Never seen it since.
    The Alan Price Combo were wild and fantastic in those days and used to bring the house down.

    Comment by Steve Fry — November 2, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

  15. Anyone remember The Banshees – we used to see them at the GoGo in the early sixties. Remember seeing loads of other bands there as well – and at The Downbeat.

    Comment by Barbara Scott Emmett — November 4, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

  16. Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music) was in a local band called the Banshees in the early sixties – there’s a bit about them and Bryan Ferry on this site on the ‘Bruce MacDonald Lowes’ page. There was also an Irish recording band around at the same time called the Banshees but it’s unlikely they ever played at the Gogo.

    Comment by Roger — November 4, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

  17. My Brother Frankie Carrick use to always talk about this place glad i found the page its great

    Comment by susan starforth — November 12, 2013 @ 2:34 am

  18. Hi does anyone know if Dave Finlay is still alive I am trying to contact him as my dad passed away on Tuesday and used to work alongside my uncle on the doors of the Marimba and the Downbeat, he and my uncle were both Hungarian and were best known as Joe and Jeno. Thank you in advance for any replies
    jacqueline

    Comment by Jacqueline Korzonek — November 16, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

  19. A major part of Newcastle heritage lost for ever .

    Many lads and lasses cut their teeth at the Club A Go Go.

    My very own moment in time seared for life was the night
    Spencer Davis played both Sets with a 16 year old Stevie
    Winwood on organ – Probably 65 or 66 – That night Chas
    Chandler returned from the States with a a new found
    black guitarist he wanted to manage – Heard he’d played
    back up with the Temps -= Clad in camouflage fatigues and
    supporting a killer Frow that gentleman was introduced to
    me and others that night as – Jimmi Hendrix .

    Chas explained he was that good he’d give Clapton & Beck
    a run for their money – we all laughed up until Spencer
    Davis restrung his guitar between sets for a Lefty player
    and James Marshall Hendrix stepped on Stage for his first
    UK performance and for ever Blew Wor Minds and changed
    history for ever .

    Had his autograph that night on an empty 10 Woodbines
    packet – Will always remember the sweet heady days in
    the 60′s in Toon In Love – In credible .

    H T L – Best – PC LA .

    Comment by Peter Christian — November 20, 2013 @ 8:13 pm

  20. How wonderful to read all this and to remember all the brilliant bands I saw there at the GoGo in 63/64/65 – mainly the Young Set but Mr. Myer (as we called him) would let us into the Jazz Lounge sometimes. Mary Kegg was the DJ and she was a friend of mine. I met my first husband there. He was in a supporting band called The Falling Leaves and they originated from Oxford. Seems so long ago – I live in Cornwall now but will never forget the happy times spent with Chas Chandler, Eric, et al. Had a massive crush on Steve Winwood but he was seeing(?) Mary Kegg at the time – often wonder where she is now.

    Comment by wendy(nee sanderson) — November 25, 2013 @ 1:47 am

  21. Was during my student at Newcastle College of Commerce/HND, and living in a house with friends in Jesmond! A vivid recollection is,when after dancing like mad with friend Annie Little, I found myself sitting next to Jimmy Hendrix with his top hat and colourful army jacket. Guess he was there with Chas Chandler! Also loved Eric Burdon & the Animals and The Family (a very good group who, unfortunately, I think, never made it to the top).

    Comment by Vernon — November 30, 2013 @ 6:08 pm

  22. I forgot to mention I believe it was -I forget- sometime in 1966 or 67! And my name is jean-pierre vernon

    Comment by Vernon — November 30, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

  23. Great stuff but strange no one mentioned Billy Keith who was on the door and that Keith Gibbon usually manned the till. Others who were the back bone of the club were Terry McViegh, Sergio the croupier the one and only Keith Crombie, Wally Nash, Gerry Barron and Hungarian Joe. I met my wife Helen Cleghorn there she was a stunning blond who worked as a GPO telephonist during the day and as a waitress at night at the Go Go I was with my best mate Crombie and asked for two Brandy and cokes and a date got the date and Keith bought the drinks. Some great times and great bands I have fond memories of the Invaders brilliant guitarist Ian McCallum who I first met when we played together in a club band the Tonics. Ian was married to Jackie and he sadly passed away in the early seventies.
    Saw Dave Findlay and Wally Nash at Keith Crombies funeral both looked great. Anyone with memories please get in touch. billmills1@btinternet.com

    Comment by Bill Mills — January 20, 2014 @ 10:45 pm

  24. Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. We’d travelled in a minibus from Middlesbrough. From what I remember the gig was in 2 halves, one set was in an under 18 no alcohol room, the second in the over 18 room, and after being mesmerised by a 30 minute version of Rollin n Rumblin in the ‘dry’ room, me and my mates had the privelege of helping the band carry the amps and gear from one room to the other and have a chat and smoke with the Captain himself. A perfect night.

    Comment by Stewart Brown — January 28, 2014 @ 1:44 am

  25. I have great memories of the Newcastle Club a’go go. I started going there in 1967 and saw Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Animals, Pink Floyd, Mary Wells, and Zoot Money. I remember Bryan Ferry as DJ was always playing his favourite record ‘In Crowd’ by Dodie West, it was no surprise to me when he recorded a cover version with Roxy Music.
    The Hendrix gig in the young set was awesome, I remember being right at the front of the stage and a 10 bob note fell out of Jimi’s back pocket, the girl standing next to me caught it, waited until he finished his number and she handed it back to Jimi.
    It’s such a shame that the Club a’go go couldn’t have been preserved as the ‘Cavern’ of Newcastle.

    Comment by Brian Davison — January 30, 2014 @ 5:12 pm

  26. I don’t think I saw his name on any of the lists, but I definitely saw Georgie Fame play at the N’Cle Gogo.
    Me and my friends were there every chance we got.
    However, I don’t remember Jimmi Hendrix. But after I came to New York in ’67 I went to a ‘Monkees’ concert at Forst Hills Tennis Stadium. Decades later I was reading an old diary, that mentioned the concert. I wrote, “There was a fantastic guitarist who opened for the Monkees called Jimmi Hendrix. I do remember that guy but I’d never really knew who he was.
    At the Go Go club there was a group who was introduced like this: “And all the way from America, ‘Geno Washington and the All-stars’. Fabulous. But I was never able to find anything about him over here in the states???
    I hated going into the Jazz Lounge with that ‘purple’ light that showed up every freckle I’d accummulated in my 19 years. Hah! Fabulous memories. Dancing all night to the Juncos. Even was asked out by John Anderson while he was playing at the ‘Vic’ in W/B. He used to call me When I worked at ‘Ryles’ Said I’d meet him outside that BBQ shop opposite the N’Cle Haymarket. I was there early (10 to 8) and waited til 5 past. That was it! I ran across to the Haymarket and hopped the bus back to N/S. As the bus was pulling out I looked over and there he was outside the BBQ shop. I could’ve gotten off at next stop but I figured that by the time I’d get back he’d be gone and I’d look like a right doozy. I heard he went down to the Spanish City looking for me. Next time I saw him he told me that another guy standing outside the BBQ shop told him I’d been there. I thought it was pretty commendable that he actually went looking for me. Then the band went to France and he came home with a lovely French Girl in a pink chiffone dress with feathers around the bottom. Who could compete with that? She’d walk after him around the GoGo panting, Shon,Shon. Hah!
    Fun memories. I was shattered when I visited N’Cle and nothing was the same anymore.

    Comment by Fran Preston — February 4, 2014 @ 3:37 am

  27. this is bloody fantastic, oh why oh why was I not born a few years earlier to witness it.
    My music love only started around 64 when I was 14.

    Comment by alan dodds — February 7, 2014 @ 9:04 pm

  28. I had and lost years ago an album by the animals. it was all black cover and only had about 4-5 tracks on it. anyone know what its called.

    Comment by alan dodds — February 7, 2014 @ 11:17 pm

  29. I was there to see Hendrix,Pink Floyd etc. A crazy topless skinny man with his HEED ON FIRE ! (Arthur Brown)
    I was underage but managed to get into the Jazz Lounge,one time I carried a mike stand from the young set to the lounge and that was it,done.If you were in the know,you would pay for the young set then acquire “THE MARK ” for a few shillings.The broon was half bottles and was nectar from the gods! I gotta disagree about not being Fleetwood Mac,it looked like them,it sounded like them and I dont care what they called themselves I think it was the right personnel.

    Comment by Joe — February 19, 2014 @ 8:06 pm

  30. I remember being at the club the night Kennedy was shot. I was supposed to meet a student from Newcastle University who I’d met the week before at the Cellar Club South Shields but he never turned up. Happy days and House of The Rising Sun is still my all time favourite record.

    Comment by Christine — March 7, 2014 @ 1:48 pm

  31. My first visit to the Go Go on Percy Street was to see The Rolling Stones. Worked with some girls at Mail,Kinsella, Stockbrokers on Pilgrim Street and we all decided to go. Queued to get tickets to see them, it was worth it, they’re still great. Loved the Junco Partners,they’re still going. Will have to go to their next gig. Happy days.

    Comment by Dawn Wright — May 4, 2014 @ 3:09 pm

  32. Terrific to read. I was a student at Newcastle Uni from 1964-7 and spent a lot of time in the club. My friend attracted the attention of Sonny Boy Williamson when he was there and my other friend had a thing about Pete Townshend of the Who who were also regulars. I think it must have closed after 1967 because it was still open all the time I was there. I still have a little dress somewhere I bought in John Steele’s (little boutique) although I would not fit into it now. Still have my membership card somewhere too.

    Comment by Hazelle Jackson — May 21, 2014 @ 12:52 am

  33. Was there when Zoot Money took the place by storm,also Julie
    Driscoll and the Brian Agure Trunity,Geno Washington,
    To name but a few.we were you mods in them
    days,once got “tapped up by Long John Baldry,asked
    us if we wanted to go to a party in Jesmond,
    When he said only males would be in attendance
    We declined.Still go “pass out ticket”
    Think the place closed in 70 as was there for
    my twentieth birthday.happy days.

    Comment by Jimmy Pierce — June 3, 2014 @ 7:06 pm

  34. I remember seeing many great bands at the GoGo including the Bee Gees who announced they were singing ‘Massachusetts’ live for the first time that night. Also the Ronettes who appeared to an almost empty club midweek.
    Anyone remember when we had a whip round to by a pare of jeans for one of the regular members, a lovely guy who sadly couldn’t afford to buy them himself – I think his name was Tommy?
    One of the best gigs was Jimmy Cliff – amazing set which included a jam session with lots of well known people.
    And of course the Oxfam walk we all did overnight after visiting the GoGo first and walking all night in very unsuitable, but fashionable, shoes (from Marcus Price of course). Great times!!

    Comment by Mike Easton — July 12, 2014 @ 11:41 am

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