Starting life as a tram shed, the Hammersmith Palais De Danse was born in 1919, and for nearly ninety years kept the public entertained.
Over the years, the venue hosted a vast range of concerts, taking in all styles from Dixieland, big band, swing, rock'n'roll, pop, rock, punk, reggae, bhangra and ska.
A medium sized venue - bigger than a nightclub, smaller than the nearby Hammersmith Odeon - and purpose-built for music, the Palais was an ideal live venue, putting on world famous acts.
Bands who have played the Palais include Joe Loss, Bill Haley, The Kinks, James Brown, Talking Heads, Rolling Stones, Elton John, U2, Massive Attack, PiL, The Cure, The Pogues, David Bowie, The Specials, King Sunny Ade, Toots and The Maytals and, of course, the mighty Clash.
(Actually, my own band got to headline the Palais in the mid-eighties, but we were too crap to add our name to the illustrious list above.)
The Palais was still putting on live gigs up until the end (as well as the dreadful School Disco nights), with a final concert by the Fall.
Goodbye, Hammersmith Palais.
On 5 June 1977, Joe Strummer, the legendary frontman of the Clash, checked out an all-night reggae show at Hammersmith Palais and was inspired to write one one of his finest songs:
White Man In Hammersmith Palais: The Clash
Midnight to six man
For the first time from Jamaica
Dillinger and leroy smart
Delroy Wilson, your cool operator
Ken Boothe for UK pop reggae
With backing bands sound systems
And if they've got anything to say
Theres many black ears here to listen
But it was Four Tops all night with encores from stage right
Charging from the bass knives to the treble
But onstage they ain't got no roots rock rebel
Onstage they ain't got no...roots rock rebel
Dress back jump back this is a bluebeat attack
'Cos it wont get you anywhere
Fooling with your guns
The British Army is waiting out there
An it weighs fifteen hundred tons
White youth, black youth
Better find another solution
Why not phone up Robin Hood
And ask him for some wealth distribution
Punk rockers in the UK
They won't notice anyway
They're all too busy fighting
For a good place under the lighting
The new groups are not concerned
With what there is to be learned
They got Burton suits, ha you think it's funny
Turning rebellion into money
All over people changing their votes
Along with their overcoats
If Adolf Hitler flew in today
They'd send a limousine anyway
Im the all night drug-prowling wolf
Who looks so sick in the sun
Im the white man in the Palais
Just lookin for fun
Looking for fun
The Clash - White Man In Hammersmith Palais
The Clash - White Man in Hammersmith Palais- Capitol Theater