“I was there when…” Were you there for the seminal rock and pop events at the Royal Albert Hall in the 1960s and 1970s? If you were in the audience, one of the crew or even performing, the Hall wants to hear from you.
Today, on the 150th anniversary of the laying of the Hall’s foundation stone by HM Queen Victoria on 20 May 1867, the Royal Albert Hall is calling for people to share their memories made at the Hall, especially of the years between 1960 and 1972, which saw some now legendary performances and for which we hold very few archived records. We are seeking images, videos and stories from visitors about their experiences, as well as press cuttings, artwork, recordings or any other unusual physical artefacts.
The Royal Albert Hall’s 150th birthday is on 29 March 2021, and to celebrate this milestone are collating a rich collection of memories and memorabilia from artists and audiences alike, which we will share in our anniversary year.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Hall saw a veritable roll-call of the great rock and pop artists of the age: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Ike and Tina Turner, Nina Simone, Frank Zappa, Cream, Marc Bolan, B B King, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Janis Joplin, James Brown, Mott The Hoople, Leonard Cohen, Black Sabbath… the list goes on. It also saw Elton John completely blowing Sandy Denny’s British folk rock group, Fotheringay, off the stage in his meteoric rise to stardom.
The Hall hosted some fascinating events in this period including the famous International Poetry Incarnation, the event that started counterculture in Britain; the New Moon Carnival of Poetry in The Round; an Imperial College Charity Carnival featuring Donovan, Tyrannosaurus Rex, The Flame and John Peel; and When Two Worlds Meet! with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Deep Purple, which was the first time ever that rock and classical music had been played together.
It is in the spirit of this explosion of creativity that the Hall this year hosts Summer of Love: Revisited, a celebration of sixties counterculture and the iconic artists and creative minds so strongly linked with the building’s history, who together pushed pop culture to its limits. 2017 is the 50th anniversary both of the original Summer of Love and of the Hall being granted charitable status, thereby reinforcing the Hall’s focus on public benefit, part of which is to bring to life our unrivalled history of performance, sharing our stories with as many people as possible.
The Royal Albert Hall is extremely grateful for the support of the Blavatnik Family Foundation in the project of gathering oral histories of the past 150 years at the Hall, which will add to this captivating resource.