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HMV Hammersmith Apollo
HMV Apollo
Hammersmith Apollo 2008 06 19.jpg
Coordinates 51°29′27.25″N 0°13′28.35″W / 51.4909028°N 0.2245417°W / 51.4909028; -0.2245417
Type Music
Opened 1932
Location London, England
Owner MAMA Group, HMV Group
Former name(s) Gaumont Palace
Hammersmith Odeon
Hammersmith Apollo
Capacity 5,039 (standing)
3,632 (sitting)

The HMV Hammersmith Apollo is a major entertainment venue located in Hammersmith, London. Designed by Robert Cromie in Art Deco style, it opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace cinema. It was known as the Hammersmith Odeon. In 2007, the building was purchased by the MAMA Group. On 14 January 2009, it was announced the Hammersmith Apollo is to be renamed the HMV Hammersmith Apollo.[1]



1930s to 1950s
The venue was opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace cinema, Hammersmith and seated over 3,500 people. It was designed by Robert Cromie in the Art Deco style.[2]

1960s to 1980s
In 1962 the building was re-named the Hammersmith Odeon, a name many people still use for the venue along with the phonetic abbreviation "Hammy-O". The venue was later refurbished and re-named the Labatt's Apollo following a sponsorship deal. Musical Theatre Star Michael Ball was the last person to play Hammersmith when it was named 'Odeon' and the first person to play following its renaming as the 'Apollo', both during his 1993 sell out tour.

1990s to 2000s
In the early 1990s it was again re-named The Hammersmith Apollo. It became a Grade II listed building in 1990 and was upgraded to Grade II* status in 2005.[3]

In 2002 the venue was again re-named, this time to the Carling Apollo after another brewery struck a deal with the owners, US-based Clear Channel Entertainment (spun off as Live Nation (Venues) UK Ltd in 2005).

In 2006, the venue reverted to its former name, the Hammersmith Apollo. Around this time the stalls seats were made removable and now some concerts have full seating whilst others have standing only in the stalls (i.e. no seats). In the latter format the Apollo can accommodate around 5000 people.

In 2007 the original 1932 Compton pipe organ, still present from the building's days as a cinema, was restored. The building then changed hands and was bought by the MAMA Group.

On 14 January 2009, a placing announcement by HMV Group revealed that by selling additional shares, the company would raise money to fund a joint venture with the MAMA Group, to run 11 live music venues across the United Kingdom, including the Hammersmith Apollo. As a result, the venue is to be renamed the HMV Apollo. Other venues purchased include The Forum in London's Kentish Town, the Birmingham Institute and Aberdeen's Moshulu.[1] On 30 January 2009 the Britain's Got Talent Auditions wrapped up at the theatre.

Also on 1 and 2 August was the filming location for The X Factor Series 6 Boot Camp.


The Apollo Pipe Organ

Apollo organ console small.jpg

The original 1932 Compton pipe organ is still present at the Apollo and was fully restored to playing condition in 2007.[4] It has a four-manual console which rises through the stage on a new lift and about 1,200 organ pipes housed in large chambers above the front stalls ceiling. Having fallen into disrepair, the organ was disconnected in the 1990s and the console removed from the building. However at English Heritage and the council's insistence it has been reinstated and the entire organ restored. A launch party was held on 25 July 2007 at which an invited audience and the media witnessed top organist Richard Hills play the instrument.[5]

Pipe organs such as this were installed in most cinemas of the pre-war period to provide music for film shows, accompany silent movies and to feature in solo performances. Many were also broadcast on the radio and recorded on 78 rpm records. These organs were based on church-type instruments but had many other sounds including percussion instruments built in. A lot of the pipe sounds were designed to sound like instruments of the orchestra and indeed the organs were in effect one-man orchestras, offering a large variety of sounds and being capable of accommodating music styles from classical though to jazz. Although several such organs survive in the UK these days, there are very few left in their original buildings. The Apollo organ is one of these and its sounds now fill the huge Apollo auditorium again after about 25 years of silence.

In popular culture

Many bands have released live CDs, videos or DVDs of concerts held at the Apollo, such as the Kings of Leon, Tears For Fears, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Robbie Williams. Kate Bush released a video and record EP of her concerts at the Odeon from her first and only tour in 1979. Kylie Minogue and Girls Aloud released DVDs of their concerts at the Apollo in 2004 and 2005 respectively. A DVD of a Bruce Springsteen concert held there in 1975 was released as part of the Born to Run 30th Anniversary Edition package; later the CD Hammersmith Odeon London '75 was released. Melodic death metal band In Flames also released a DVD that featured footage of a December 2004 performance there. Comedian and actor Eddie Izzard's show Glorius was also released as a DVD. Rush recorded their 1978 performance and later included it in their three-disc set, Different Stages. American musician Tori Amos released a series of six live albums in 2005 known as The Original Bootlegs, one of which was recorded at the Apollo. Photographs of The Who outside the Hammersmith Odeon appear on their 1973 album Quadrophenia. Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour performed three nights at the venue in April of 1984 which was documented on the David Gilmour Live 1984 concert film. These shows are of note as Roy Harper guested on "Short and Sweet" and Gilmour's Pink Floyd bandmate Nick Mason played drums on "Comfortably Numb".

Other acts have made music videos featuring clips from performances at the Apollo. An example of this is Kelly Clarkson, who made a special version of her "Breakaway" video using clips from her concert at the Apollo in 2006.

The Hammersmith Apollo is seen in the American romantic comedy film Just My Luck where McFly perform. In the movie, the venue stands-in for the Hard Rock Café. It is also the location in The Football Factory where the Chelsea fans board the bus for Liverpool.


View of the stage

30 Seconds to Mars, ABBA, ABC, AC/DC, A Flock of Seagulls, Altered Images, Anthrax, Bryan Adams, Aerosmith, A-ha, The Alarm, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Tori Amos, Anastacia, Annihilator, Adam Ant, Babyshambles, Barenaked Ladies, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Pat Benatar, Big Country, Björk, Black Sabbath, Black Stone Cherry, Blink-182, Blondie, Blue Öyster Cult, Boy George, David Bowie, Elkie Brooks, Kate Bush, Ed Byrne, The Carpenters, Cascada, Celtic Frost, Eric Clapton, The Clash, Alice Cooper, The Cramps, The Cult, Culture Club, The Cure, The Damned, Dead or Alive, Def Leppard, Deep Purple, Delirious?, Depeche Mode, Dio, Dire Straits, Dream Theater, Hilary Duff, Duran Duran, Ian Dury, Bob Dylan, Echo & the Bunnymen, Enter Shikari, Erasure, Europe, Evanescence, Fall Out Boy, Feeder, Fish, John Fogerty, Funeral for a Friend, Nelly Furtado, Rory Gallagher, Genesis, David Gilmour, Girls Aloud, Gojira, Googoosh, David Gray, Green Day, Guns N' Roses, Sammy Hagar, Herbie Hancock, Hanoi Rocks, Hawkwind, Human League, Ian Hunter

Iggy and the Stooges, Il Divo, In Flames, Iron Maiden, Chris Isaak, Eddie Izzard, The Jacksons, The Jam, Jethro Tull, Elton John, Jonas Brothers, Tom Jones, Journey, Judas Priest, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Killswitch Engage, Kiss, Korn, Nik Kershaw, Avril Lavigne, Lil Wayne, Demi Lovato, Lee Mack, Magnum, Marillion, Bob Marley & The Wailers, John Mayer, McFly, Megadeth, Metallica, Michael McIntyre, Mika, Tim Minchin, Kylie Minogue, Gary Moore, Morrissey, Motörhead, Motley Crue, Mott the Hoople, Jason Mraz, Nas, New Kids on the Block, Nightwish, Nuclear Assault, Ted Nugent, Gary Numan, Oasis, Alexander O'Neal, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Ozzy Osbourne

Pet Shop Boys, Robert Plant, The Police, Porcupine Tree, Poison, Prince, Psychedelic Furs, Queen, The Raconteurs, Radiohead, Rainbow, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Mark Ronson, Uli Jon Roth, Roxy Music, Todd Rundgren, Rush, Sanctity, The Saturdays, Saxon, Scorpions, Sex Pistols, Sigur Rós, Simple Minds, Slayer, Slipknot, Soft Cell, The Specials, Regina Spektor, Split Enz, Rick Springfield, Bruce Springsteen, Squeeze, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Status Quo, The Stranglers, The Sweet, Talk Talk, Tangerine Dream, Tears for Fears, Tenacious D, Thin Lizzy, Thompson Twins, Thunder, Tool, Toyah, T'Pau, Trivium, The Tubes, U2, UFO, Ultravox, Uriah Heep, Van Halen, Venom, Rufus Wainwright, Weezer, Whitesnake, The White Stripes, The Who, Wishbone Ash, Yes, Paul Young, Neil Young, Frank Zappa, Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction

Noteworthy Performances



  • In 1973 Mott The Hoople played, with Queen supporting them. The concert was recorded, and released in 1974 forming one side of the Mott The Hoople Live album. Mott The Hoople return to the venue for the first time since for 5 concerts in October 2009
  • In 1975, Bruce Springsteen's performances there are also well known, as is Neil Young's performance in the same year, when part of the venue caught fire.
  • Queen played several concerts at the Hammersmith, including their Christmas concerts in 1975.
  • On 8 May, the 15/16/76 KISS made their first UK appearances supported by UK rockers Stray. Tickets sold out in 2 hours for there two night stay, KISS would go back to the USA as legends after the multiplatinum success of KISS Alive.
  • On 24 January 1978, Sweet played their first concert at Hammersmith Odeon. As it transpired, it was to be their last British show with the classic line-up featuring popular blonde singer Brian Connolly.
  • On February 20, 1978 Rush recorded 11 tracks from their "A Farewell to Kings" tour, including tracks from all of their first five albums. These tracks were not released at the time. They were included as a bonus disc on their November 10, 1998 release of "Different Stages Live" which included recordings from both their 1994 "Counterparts" and 1997 "Test for Echo" tours.
  • In 1978, Tangerine Dream performed at the Hammersmith Odeon two times; March 20 and March 28.
  • In December 1978 George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic played following on from their massive P-Funk Earth Tour of the previous year (Take Funk To Heaven In '77).
  • Kate Bush also performed the same year, and released a live video and record EP of her 1979 concerts.


  • In 1981, Tangerine Dream again appeared here on October 20 as part of their Exit British Tour.
  • In 1982, Venom accidentally burned Hammersmith's ceiling during a performance, which event can be clearly seen in the 7 dates of hell concert video (during 'Countess Bathory'). As a result, Venom was banned from Hammersmith for a year.
  • In 1983, Culture Club with Boy George were filmed at the height of their success. The film bears resemblance to David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust shows, which had taken place at the same venue 10 years before. The 13-track concert film was released theatrically in 1984 as "A Kiss Across The Ocean" and on VHS later that year. It is now available on the Culture Club - Greatest Hits DVD released in 2004.
  • In 1983, Iron Maiden performed four shows during promotion for their Piece of mind album.
  • In 1984, Iron Maiden performed four sold-out shows during promotion for their Powerslave album. The concerts were recorded and 5 songs were included in the Live After Death in 1985.
  • In 1986, the Norwegian band A-ha performed 6 shows in a row, between 15 and 20 of December that year
  • In 1986, Tangerine Dream played a live concert on March 27 as part of their European Tour.
  • In 1987, Europe performed sold-out during a "The final countdown" live concert.


  • In October 1990, Iron Maiden performed one show as part of their Intercity Express tour during promotion for their No prayer for the dying album.
  • Tangerine Dream played two nights in a row, October 26 and October 27 as part of their Melrose British Tour.
  • In December 1990 Level 42 played 15 sell-out dates at the Odeon as part of their 10th Anniversary World Tour. The concerts had been booked almost two years before!
  • In July 1992 Erasure played 15 sold out shows of the phantasmagorical entretaiment tour
  • On September 29 & 30 in 1992, Megadeth, supported by Pantera, performed two evenings in a row at Hammersmith. The second night was recorded and later released as a DVD on their box set Warchest.
  • Musical Theatre star Michael Ball has performed at the Hammersmith Apollo on five occasions—each time selling out. His concerts in December 1993 and December 1994 were recorded by BBC Radio 2. He has also recorded his 2003 and 2007 concerts for DVD release


  • On 15 November 2004, band Europe released a DVD live "start from the dark".
  • In 2004, the venue was part of the Carling Live 24 event, which saw Feeder play their only date of that year. The venue also spawned the BBC television series Live at the Apollo, originally titled Jack Dee Live at the Apollo
  • In 2005, Tori Amos released a live album from her 2005 concert at the Apollo as part of the Official Bootlegs. Green Day also played a sell-out gig as part of their American Idiot world tour
  • On 25 November 2006, Video Games Live presented the first ever UK video game concert at the Hammersmith Apollo as part of their 2006 World Tour. A parody of the Hammersmith Odeon was made for Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, called Ye Olde Royal Odeon. The game Guitar Hero: Metallica features the real Hammersmith Apollo as a playable venue
  • In 2007, the Caribbean superstar, soca artist Machel Montano performed at the "Hammy-O" in his Rezarrek World Tour
  • On 5 June 2008, the venue played host to Passion: London, part of the Passion Conferences. In the summer of 2008, the Apollo saw a 10-week season of Disney's High School Musical Live On Stage!, starring EastEnders' star Letitia Dean
  • On 11 September 2008, the Jonas Brothers performed their first ever UK headlining show.
  • In September 2008, comedian Michael McIntyre performed sell out shows around theatres in the UK, and his filmed performance at the Hammersmith Apollo became the best selling debut comedy DVD of all time.
  • In November 2008 the newly reunited New Kids on the Block announced that they were adding another show to their successful world tour in London at the Hammersmith Apollo on 25 January 2009
  • In December 2008 metal band Slipknot performed 3 nights at the Apollo - one of which was filmed for MTV World Stage
  • In January 2009, American comedian Chris Rock played several nights.
  • On 9 March 2009, Franz Ferdinand made a presentation on the Tonight album tour
  • March 2009, Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical (The Sponge Who Could Fly) premiered at this venue
  • On 11 July 2009, Thunder played their last concert in a sold out Hammersmith Apollo, as being the last stop on their 20 Years & Out tour. The show was also filmed and recorded for a last Thunder live DVD
  • On 1 and 2 August 2009, the boot-camp stage of the sixth series of the ITV television music talent show The X Factor was filmed at the Hammersmith Apollo in front of a live public attended show. 200 acts attended boot-camp and 24 acts made it past this stage of the competition.
  • In October 2009, Mott the Hoople played five nights of reunion concerts at the Apollo
  • On 9 October 2009, Porcupine Tree played their biggest headline show to date at the Apollo
  • On 29 November 2009, British Christian rock band Delirious? played their farewell concert at the venue. This was recorded for a live album and DVD[6]
  • On 7 and 8 December 2009 'popera' group Il Divo performed Christmas concerts at the venue
  • On 15 December 2009, the Apollo hosted the UK premiere of It Might Get Loud, a documentary film that covers the careers of world-famous guitarists The Edge, Jimmy Page, and Jack White. Page was the only star of the film to attend the UK premiere.


  • On 18 January 2010, Grammy Award-winning American singer/songwriter and renouned guitarist John Mayer returned to the UK to play one of only four dates in the United Kingdom at the Hammersmith Apollo. The show sold out in under two hours and Mayer added another date later in the year at Wembley Arena, London, which has more than double the Apollo's capacity. This date also sold out in under a couple of hours.
  • On 12th and 13th March, Stand-up comedian and actor, Lee Mack will be performing 2 sell out shows of his new 2010 tour 'Going Out' live at the Hammersmith Apollo, London.
  • On 19th March, British band The Stranglers are recording a live DVD entitled Live at the Apollo.
  • On 8th April 2010, the new comedy film directed by David Baddiel and starring Omid Djalili, 'The Infidel' will be streaming the premiere of the film live at the Hammersmith Apollo, London.
  • On 17th April 2010, N-Dubz will be performing at the Hammersmith Apollo as part of their Against All Odds Tour.
  • On 4 May 2010, Italian rock songwriter and superstar Vasco Rossi will play for the first time in the UK at the Hammersmith Apollo.
  • On 6 May 2010, Scottish rock trio Biffy Clyro will play one of their biggest English headline show to date at the Hammersmith Apollo.
  • On 10th, 11th and 12th of May, Stand-up comedian and actor Lee Mack will return live to the Hammersmith Apollo, London due to popular demand to perform 3 more shows of his new sell out 2010 tour, 'Going Out'
  • On 28 May 2010, American blues-rock guitarist and singer Joe Bonamassa will play the Hammersmith Apollo for the first time.
  • On 18 November 2010, Take That will be streaming the release of their Circus Live DVD at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo, London.


External links


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