documenting the optical sounds of '60s pop, Acid Punk & Psychedelia

The Revolution, London

Richard Green takes you out to an In-Party – NME, 3rd August 1968

taken from NME, 03/08/68

Go down to the Revolution, we thought. Take a photographer and get some pictures of the star names. And what a night we picked! It was the premiere night of “Yellow Submarine” and the Club was chock full of pop people afterwards.

Not that this was a great surprise, for the Revolution (in Bruton Mews, just off Mayfair’s Berkeley Square) is currently enjoying a run as the most popular of the “in” places.

It was, in fact, the night of another premiere that the doors opened for the first time. Then the film of “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush” on January 4 and after the film the party was held there.

Since then, regulars have included Julie Christie, Francoise Hardy, Terry Stamp, Dahlia Lavi, Mia Farrow, Paul McCartney, Peter Sellers, Nina Simone, the Grapefruit, the Bee Gees, plus most pop writers, photographers, fashion designers and leading hair stylists.

Once past the stout entrance doors, which look as though they will need a packet of John Cotton cigarillos hurled at them to blast them open, the visitor finds himself in a spacious reception area and faced by two flights of stairs.

The right one leads down to the cloakroom and lower bar, which is large, tastefully furnished (as is the Revolution throughout), with expensive furniture, much of it Louis XV and XVI, deep carpets and costly gilt mirrors.

Drinks can be purchased at the bar or served at the table by mini-skirted waitresses. Paying for a drink in this high-priced part of London is not the painful business one would imagine.

The club charges for four shillings for spirits, and four to five shillings for various beers. Upstairs, spirits are sold in miniature bottles at ten shillings a throw. Wines are eighteen shillings a carafe.

Meals, too, are available and again the prices compare favourably with similar establishments. I was taken into the gleaming kitchen and shown the food being prepared.

The menu offers a wide range of meals. Omelettes cost up to 6s 6d, scampi 14s, steaks up to 19s 6d. For someone not quite as hungry, a steak sandwich will set you back 10s 6d.

The left staircase leads to the main room upstairs, with the dancing area, a stage and adequate seating in a circle, for pop-hungry spectators. It is the club’s policy to snap up visiting star names and people like Ike and Tina Turner, Tim Rose and Eric Burdon and the Animals have appeared before capacity crowds recently.

The Turners have been re-booked, and Ben E. King and O.C. Smith are in line for shows there soon.

The Revolution is open from Monday – Saturday and in addition to the star names, presents John L. Watson and the Web, the Terry Reid Fantasia, and John Drevar’s Expression regularly.

Membership is five guineas a year and there is a supplementary cover charge for tables upstairs. It is 10s a head Monday to Thursday, £1 Friday and Saturday. When a top-line artist appears, there is an additional charge.

The night we visited the Revolution, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells were appearing. They are the usual three coloured girlie U.S. act with nothing special to offer except revealing dresses and a lot of energy.

By far the better act that night was Tuesday’s Children, a Move-type outfit who have a very impressive lead guitarist and who play as loudly as possible.

The club is associated with Blaises and the late lamented Speakeasy, which was severely damaged by fire but is due to re-open in mid-October.

The man in charge of the Revolution is Jim Carter-Fea. As we relaxed with a drink in the bar, he told me: “The pop set we get down here aren’t layabouts. We get the Stones down, Lulu‘s a regular, Adie Posta, Jonathan King. Paul McCartney used to come down quite a lot.

“I think the club’s success is due to its promotion. This place has been built not around one little crowd. It’s probably the cheapest in town to come to on basic prices, but people tend to spend a bit more.

“It’s giving people something new on the club scene at a time when it was needed. Everything else was getting pretty dead and depressing.”

Because of it’s opulence, the visitor has a feeling of well-being at the Revolution. There is none of the dreadful crush at the bar associated with some similar clubs and there is plenty of room to dance or sit comfortably without a continual procession going backwards and forwards.

The club opens at 7.30 p.m. and closes at 3.30 a.m., being licensed until 3. Meals are served until 30 minutes before closing time.

Many receptions are held at the Revolution – those for Aretha Franklin, Spanky and Our Gang, Reparata and the Delrons and Bill Haley and the Comets among them. These are always well attended and, in some cases, the artist has a good chance to perform and demonstrate their qualities.

Mickey Most took a colour TV team down to the club a few weeks ago to film Terry Reid. The result is being shown on BBC-2 soon. Continental TV crews often use the Revolution for interior work and major film companies have taken advantage of its facilities. Richard Attenborough was shooting there last month.

The names of the visitors that I spotted on my visit for the NME will serve to demonstrate the club’s popularity: Paul McCartney, Grapefruit, Jonathan King, Ronan O’Rahily, Janie Jones, Paper Dolls, Tony Blackburn, Adrienne Posta, Dave Dee, Maurice Gibb, Carl Greene, Daryl F. Zanuck, Kenny Jones, Mike Mansfield, Foundation Clem Curtis, Long John Baldry, Jimmy James of the Vagabonds and Count Prince Miller.

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