Glasgow Apollo Resources
My research on the Apollo could not have progressed without the existence of the main sources on the venue’s history (all of which are still currently available in some form), and, if you’ve not already done so, I would strongly advise that you check these out. Having spoken to all the authors/producers, I greatly appreciate their depth of commitment and enthusiasm towards maintaining memories of the Apollo.
You Don’t Have to be in Harlem. The Story of the Most Celebrated Rock Venue in Britain (1995) by Russell Leadbetter.
Now sadly out of print, but still available via sources such as Ebay and Amazon and is certainly worth tracking down, this first book on the Apollo, by key Herald journalist Russell Leadbetter, traces the venue’s history and sad demise. Interviews with fans and artists such as Bryan Ferry, Rod Stewart and Paul Weller (the last artist to perform at the Apollo) invoke memories of such aspects as the venue’s significance during a defining period of popular music, its (quite apparent) lack of facilities, and the numerous encounters with the venue’s bouncers. The title? It refers to an entry in the Apollo guest book where a now forgotten American support band (The Minks) entered these memorable words, highlighting that there was no requirement to go to the Harlem Apollo in order to engage with such a unique live experience.
Within the digital environment, the Glasgow Apollo website is ran by Scott McArthur and Andy Muir, and provides a wealth of information on the venue.
While the Apollo’s history and gig schedule are featured, the memories of the audience who attended some of the key gigs at the venue (as well as those that don’t exactly fall into that category, such as The Wombles) form the main focus of the site. Tickets stubs, set lists, photographs, interviews with artists and others involved with the venue, all help to provide a sense of what the Apollo represents. Overall, the site can be regarded as a ‘labour of love’ towards the Apollo and deserves your attention.
Now on the third (2012) edition, Apollo Memories by Martin Kielty (free excerpt link, below) concentrates, as the title suggests, on the memories of those who attended gigs at the venue. Interviews with artists and the venue staff, interspersed with historical references and images of significant events at the Apollo are also featured, along with ‘Who Played When’ listings and contributions from Scott McArthur and Andy Watson from the Apollo website mentioned above. Again, the book is certainly worth checking out. As I’ve discovered to my cost, the initial print run of the book tends to sell out, thereafter going for somewhat inflated prices on certain auction sites.
Finally, for now, the Story of the Glasgow Apollo(2007) by Talisman Films.
Bill, John, Brian and Gordon at Talisman have been involved with capturing the Apollo on film since the late 1980s. On this DVD, hosted by Clare Grogran, earlier footage has been incorporated with contemporary interviews with artists such as Dr. Hook, Midge Ure and Hugh Cornwell, as well as audience members and venue staff. In particular, the interviews with the Apollo’s Eddie Tobin, Colin Robertson and Ronnie Simpson are both engaging and highly amusing, with Ronnie’s anecdote about the first Lou Reed concert at the Apollo being a highlight.
There are, of course, a number of key writers and journalists who have written about or produced articles about the Apollo, most notably David Belcher and Billy Sloan, and a future post will serve to highlight their key contribution to this field.