Hammersmith Apollo

Eventim Apollo
Eventim Apollo, 2013
Venue during 2013 reopening
Address 45 Queen Caroline St
W6 9QH
Location Hammersmith, London
Coordinates 51°29′27.25″N 0°13′28.35″W / 51.4909028°N 0.2245417°W / 51.4909028; -0.2245417:
Built 1930-32
Opened 28 March 1932 (1932-03-28)
Renovated 2013
Owner AEG Live
CTS Eventim
Construction cost £5 million (2013 renovations)
Former name(s) Gaumont Palace (1932–62)
Hammersmith Odeon (1962–92)
Labatt's Apollo (1992–96)
Hammersmith Apollo (1996–2002; 2006–09; 2013)
Carling Apollo Hammersmith (2002–06)
HMV Hammersmith Apollo (2009–12)
Capacity 3,487 (1932–2003)
5,039 (Open seating)
3,632 (Reserved seating)
Website Venue website

The Hammersmith Apollo, known through sponsorship as the Eventim Apollo, is a major entertainment venue and a Grade II* listed building[1] located in Hammersmith, London. Designed by Robert Cromie in Art Deco style, it opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace, being renamed the Hammersmith Odeon in 1962. It has had a string of names and owners, most recently AEG Live and CTS Eventim.[2]


Hammersmith Apollo, 2008

The venue was opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace and seated nearly 3,500 people. It was designed by Robert Cromie in the Art Deco style.[3] In 1962, the building was renamed the Hammersmith Odeon, a name many people still use for the venue along with the phonetic abbreviation "Hammy-O". It became a Grade II listed building in 1990. The venue was later refurbished and renamed the Labatt's Apollo following a sponsorship deal with Labatt Brewing Company (1993 or 1994).

In 2002, the venue was again renamed, this time to the Carling Apollo after Carling brewery struck a deal with the owners, US-based Clear Channel Entertainment (spun off as Live Nation (Venues) UK Ltd in 2005). The venue's listing was upgraded to Grade II* status in 2005. In 2003, the stalls seats were made removable and now some concerts have full seating whilst others have standing-only in the stalls. In the latter format the venue can accommodate around 5,000 people. The event was marked by rock band AC/DC playing an exclusive one-off concert and only charging £10 per ticket. All 5,000 tickets sold out in 4 minutes. In 2006, the venue reverted to its former name, the Hammersmith Apollo. 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 eleven live music venues across the United Kingdom, including the Hammersmith Apollo. As a result, the venue was named the HMV Apollo from 2009 until 2012. Other venues purchased include The Forum in London's Kentish Town, the Birmingham Institute and Aberdeen's Moshulu.[4] The venue was sold by HMV Group in May 2012 to AEG Live and CTS Eventim.[5] In 2013, the venue was closed for an extensive refurbishment which was carried out by award-winning architect Foster Wilson.[6] The venue reopened as the Eventim Apollo on 7 September 2013, with a concert performance by Selena Gomez[7][8]

The Compton pipe organ

Restored organ, 2007

The original 1932 Compton pipe organ is still present at the Apollo and was fully restored to playing condition in 2007.[9] 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.[10]

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 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

View of the stage and proscenium, 2007

Many bands have released live CDs, videos or DVDs of concerts held at the Apollo, such as Kings of Leon, Tears For Fears, Dire Straits, 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. Duran Duran recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon on 16 November 1982 and released Live at Hammersmith '82!. 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 Glorious 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 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". In 1984 the London based heavy metal band Iron Maiden recorded side 4 of their double live album 'Live After Death' at the venue. Iron Maiden's affection for the Hammersmith Odeon also resulted in the filming of a 1982 performance which was subsequently released as 'Beast over Hammersmith'.[11]

Other acts have made music videos featuring clips from performances at the Apollo; Kelly Clarkson 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. It is mentioned in the poem "Glam Rock: The Poem" by the poet Robert Archambeau. The exterior of the (then) Gaumont Palace was used as the "Grand" cinema in the 1957 British film The Smallest Show on Earth.

Noteworthy performances








Led Zeppelin answering questions at a press conference for the premiere of Celebration Day at the Hammersmith Apollo in 2012

External links


  1. ^ "1252993 - The National Heritage List for England | English Heritage". List.english-heritage.org.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  2. ^ "HMV sells Hammersmith Apollo for £32m". Financial Times. 2012-05-31. Retrieved 2012-09-27. 
  3. ^ "Hammersmith Apollo". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  4. ^ "HMV to snap up some Zavvi stores". BBC News. 2009-01-14. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  5. ^ "Hammersmith Apollo in London sold by HMV to Stage C". BBC. 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Foster Wilson completes Hammersmith Apollo revamp". bdonline.co.uk. 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Introducing the Eventim Apollo". Eventim Ticketnews. 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Eventim Apollo is unveiled". Music Week. 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "Your browser does not support frames. To view our web site click here: http://www.ssfweb.co.uk/hws/". Hws.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  10. ^ "Youtube video of organ launch party". YouTube. 26 July 2007. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  11. ^ Iron Maiden 'Live After Death' - released 1985 on EMI records. Iron Maiden 'The Early Days DVD - disc one: Beast over Hammersmith released by EMI records 2004
  12. ^ "YouTube video of Elton John christmas concert". youtube.com. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Whitesnake - Live... In The Heart Of The City - Blogcritics Music". Blogcritics.org. 18 August 2002. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  14. ^ "Tour | The Official Website of a-ha". A-ha.com. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  15. ^ "Tour | The Official Website of a-ha". A-ha.com. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  16. ^ Steve Nolan (7 September 2013). "Hammersmith Apollo opens doors after £5million refit that restored art deco designs |". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  17. ^ "AC/DC Live at the Carling Apollo Hammersmith 2003". Acdczone.com. 21 October 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  18. ^ Cowen, Nick (22 October 2003). "AC/DC". 
  19. ^ "News 2009 - Delirious? Farewell 'History Makers' Tour + Final Concert Confirmed". Delirious.org.uk. 30 April 2009. Retrieved 2012-10-14.