It was announced today that West End icon Peter Stringfellow has passed away after enduring a secret battle with cancer.
The late club owner, 77, may have become synonymous with his eponymous brand of gentlemen’s clubs, but he started off his career championing music.
Kicking-off his career as a club owner and booker in his hometown of Sheffield, the aspiring businessman found himself hosting gigs for some of the most iconic names in musical history. Ever.
From his time owning The Black Cat Club and The King Mojo Club, Peter found himself on the crest of the musical wave in the ‘60s and ‘70s, helping out new bands like The Beatles (who he almost dropped of the bill), Jimi Hendrix, and The Kinks by booking them.
Recalling the start of his career in late night entertainment he explained that things really started to look up for him when he began booking bands.
‘Out of the blue I booked a group called The Beatles. I played their record Love Me Do and booked them for £85 which was £35 more than I paid anybody else. The most I’d paid before that was £50 for a London band called Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages,’ he told The Yorkshire Post back in 2008.
Turns out his punt on John, George, Paul and Ringo proved to be a wise one, as he added: ‘Booking The Beatles was a phenomenal success for me and made my name somewhat with the Sheffield press. After that it left me with a desire to be famous big time. I’d been on stage with The Beatles and seen the magical reaction they got and it really inspired me.’
Not long after that he started booking gigs at another club in the city, The Blue Moon, Stringfellow managed to book another emerging band who’d go on to carve out their name in the history books, The Kinks.
‘When they played at the Blue Moon Club, they were number one and then I got The Searchers, The Hollies and the Rolling Stones, who I booked before they had their first big hit, so I was on a bit of a roll,’ he added.
Having made a name for himself in the Northern rock scene, Peter was soon asked if he wanted to buy his own club – though the price was astronomic, he struck a deal to rent the property.
Opening up the Mojo Club, he got his first taste of club land, as he was hosting club nights as well as gigs.
Changing with the times as they moved, he rebranded it as a psychedelic haven, and renamed it King Mojo; something which proved to be an astute move.
He recalled that in one month he had the likes of Wilson Pickett, The Who, the Small Faces and Geno Washington playing, before adding:
‘I remember Jimi Hendrix walking off stage and giving me his guitar which was still reverberating in my hands.’
Following his huge success Peter followed his dream and headed to London, from there opened Stringfellows in Covent Garden in London’s West End, in 1980, before going on to create venues in Paris, New York, Miami, Beverly Hills.