mardi 2 décembre 2008

THE 2I’S COFFEE BAR

Situated at 59 Old Compton Street,in London's Soho district,the 2i’s Coffee Bar was the place where the first british pop stars were discovered from 1956 to 1962:Tommy Steele, Marty Wilde, Cliff Richard,Vince Eager, Vince Taylor, Terry Dene ect.

The expresso coffee bar, run by two australian ex-wrestlers Paul Lincoln (aka “Dr Death”) and Ray Hunter, opened its doors on April 22nd 1956. It was named after two brothers called Irani who originally owned the café (unless the previous owners were apparently three Iranians and one went home).
The coffee shop had live music in its basement with a small 18 inch stage where Lincoln and Hunter started putting on skiffle groups. The Vipers were the first who held a residency at the "Two I's" and it was during one of their performances that Tommy Steele was spotted then became the first british rock star. Soon after it became a focal point for Rock’n’Roll enthusiasts, the most famous music venue in England. Not only for having been witness of the emerging British Skiffle then Rock scenes but also for having been an essential meeting point between artists and their career-makers. Young aspiring rock musicians came to the “Two Eyes” from all over the country, hoping to find fame and fortune because it was the place to be spotted by impresarios and promoters such as Jack Good, Larry Parnes or Don Arden. It was also a real cradle for some artists such as Cliff Richard and the Shadows or Vince Taylor and his Playboys all met by being regulars there.

By 1960, Tom Littlewood, a Judo instructor by profession, became its new manager. He managed some of the main acts performing there such as Vince Taylor and promoted some road shows throughout the country until the early sixties.

During the mid sixties, at the height of the Beatlemania, the days of the 2 I's as a leading Rock’n’Roll venue were numbered. At that time, the scene had changed to the effect that the succesful groups such as the Beatles or the Rollingstones who would play large halls, or even stadiums, had become far too expensive for club appearances, and when most clubs had been transformed into discoteques, The “Two Eyes” finally closed its doors in 1967.

Later the place was known as the Dome Café Bar then the Boulevard Bar with Dining Room, and the basement is became a lobby area.

On September 18th 2006, a Green Plaque was at last unveiled at 59 Old Compton Street to commemorate the existence of the legendary venue that witnessed the birth and rise of the first wave of British Rock scene. 



2 commentaires:

Mike a dit…

Je voudrais contacter la personne qui a créé ce blog pour partager le contenu. Contactez-moi s'il vous plaît à www.sixtiesbritian.co.uk ou envoyez-moi e-mail à Mike à sixtiesbritain.co.uk

I would like to contact the person who created this blog to share content. Please contact me at www.sixtiesbritian.co.uk or email me at mike (at) sixtiesbritain.co.uk

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