Explore the History of One of London’s Oldest Music Venues

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The Koko music venue located in Camden Town, London was not always as it is today. Having many different names and uses throughout the decades, even though it wasn’t always a place to hear music and drink, it has always been a place to enjoy the arts.

It started as The Camden Theatre when it was open in 1900 by famous actress Ellen Terry. After a few years, the theatre was renamed The Camden Hippodrome, a variety theatre where Charlie Chaplin regularly performed.

For 20 years, the venue was closed until it was bought by the BBC and recorded famous shows such as the Goon Show, and Rhythm and Blues, which featured a performance by The Rolling Stones.

In 1970, the theatre was revived again, being named The Music Machine. This became the heart of punk and hosted some of the decade’s most legendary shows. The Sex Pistols and Iron Maiden performed live, and it was home to The Clash for four days in the summer of 1978.

In 1982, the venue was redesigned again with the name The Camden Palace. The venue quickly became a hangout spot for the coolest kids from London and all over the world. Celebrities like Grace Jones would fly to the city just to party at The Camden Palace. This venue was also home to Madonna’s first UK performance in 1983.

The venue closed again in February 2004 during a six month, multi-million pound renovation. It created a 21st century entertainment venue from what was left of the 20th century building. Since opening in 2005, true music legends have graced Koko’s stage.

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