(LEFT) TV Smith and Gaye Advert in the audience at the 1976 Punk Special
(RIGHT) Skinheads play-fighting and performing at the 100 Club
Sex Pistols. Jimi Hendrix. Louis Armstrong. Amy Winehouse. Oasis. The pulsing doors of Oxford Street’s iconic 100 Club have been witness to many a music legend strolling through, all heading down to play in the infamously dingy basement club.
And now, to celebrate 75 years of its colourful history, Fred Perry and Ditto Publishing have teamed up for 100 Club Stories, a retrospective book filled with archive images (the sweat is basically perceptible), and featuring anecdotes told by everyone from club punters to internationally famous musicians.
Originally named Feldman’s, a jazz club, the venue has previously been hailed as the birthplace of British punk after a club night in the seventies showcased the Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Clash, Buzzcocks, The Jam, The Stranglers and The Damned (most of which were unsigned at the time).
Relive the magic via some excerpts below…
(LEFT) Dancers at the 100 Club
(RIGHT) Siouxsie Sioux performing at the 100 Club
“There were two occasions I went to see the Sex Pistols at the 100 Club: two occasions I went with a date, two occasions when the dates didn’t like the Sex Pistols, two occasions when the dates wanted to leave, and two occasions I agreed, being a very polite fellow. So that says more about me and my lust for sex than it does about the 100 Club, but I do remember the Pistols being fantastic, and a feeling of bonding – of purpose, fun and transgression, and the 100 Club holding all of that.” – Neal Brown, club-goer
(LEFT) Teenage scrapbook belonging to 100 Club regular Bev Ellio
(RIGHT) Paul Simonon of The Clash, Paul Smith of Subway Sect and Joe Strummer of The Clash before a show
“I’m very grateful to the 100 Club because I would not be here without its existence. My father met my mother on a train from Charing Cross to Greenwich, I think he told her that he was on it because his father’s Aston Martin was being worked on. That was completely invented, of course, but it may have persuaded her to have a night out with him. This would have been 1957 and one of their favourite places to go was the 100 Club… As a friend of my father’s said to me, it was people filled with joy, drinking and dancing in a very innocent sort of way, almost like a lost age of enchantment. So, anyway, there they were, in the 100 Club, round about April or March of 1957 and Humphrey Lyttelton was playing. It’s well known among artists and poets that music can increase the feelings of love and desire in people, and Humphrey’s music certainly did that on that evening. The dancing led to other activities and nine months later… I appeared. And it’s always been credited to the music that was playing and the atmosphere of the 100 Club.” – Jools Holland
(LEFT) Dudu Pukwana jamming with Louis Moholo, 1982
(RIGHT) The Contessa Villa Nova (aka Kirstie McKenzie) holds the mike for Eric Robinson on the piano at Dencil’s Sexy Chocolate Bar, May 1986
“You went out on the dance floor at the 100 Club at your own risk. If you were going for the first time and wound up caught in a triangle of good dancers doing their stuff to “Broadway Sissy” by Roscoe and Friends, then you were likely to collect a few bruises. At 6am my legs would turn to jelly and I’d plonk myself down at our table to watch others dance. The beauty of watching someone dance is not in their technical ability but the sheer enjoyment and total introversion of it all. You’d see a grown man slowly spin to Linda Jones’ “My Heart Needs a Break” with tears rolling down his cheeks, completely oblivious to the fact that 20 people were watching him.” – Rob Holmes, club-goer