Date: 19 Nov 2015


An image of Marianne Faithfull making her debut cabaret performance in 1965 in Coventry has ignited a wave of nostalgia for fans across the city.

As the 1960s pop icon marks 50 years of performing with a concert at the Ricoh Arena on Friday, December 11, people who were there on the night of her first ever performance have spoken about their memories of Marianne and the city at the time.

Among those is Dave Atkin, who along with his wife, Angela, and brother, Bob, headed to the Blue Nile Club in Radford Road for Marianne’s concert – and even invited the star to a party at Bob’s house following the performance.

Dave, now almost 80, and his brother were members of the former Godiva Car Club, a group which were frequent visitors of the Blue Nile Club at the time.

“The Blue Nile was a lovely, civilised environment in the nature of nightclubs of that era,” he said. “We could sit at ease and chat with some nice relaxing music in the background. It was all very different from today’s clubs with bouncers and to be honest with you, just loud noise!

“Occasionally the club would arrange a special night such as the visit of Marianne which would be a very enjoyable evening.

“My brother really loved her music so he invited her back for an impromptu party. Around 15 of us drifted over to his place for drinks after the performance, much to his neighbours’ dismay!”

And when asked if he was star struck when meeting Marianne, Dave said it was just like talking to any person on the street.

“People like Marianne Faithfull at that time were not like stars of today. She was very down to earth and just a normal person if you like, more than happy to join us at my brother’s semi-detached home in Coundon,” he said.

“Coventry has changed so much since Marianne’s concert. It is almost unrecognisable as it becomes a student city, but the universities both bring a lot of industry and the city still retains its reputation for entrepreneurial spirit.”

David and Mary Shand, from Kenilworth, were both fans of Marianne’s music at the time and also attended her concert at the Blue Nile Club, which they say was on the upper floor of the former Savoy Cinema and is now a bingo hall.

“My wife and I were courting in those days and we were there with a friend who was a regular at the club,” he said. “All three of us were in the Coventry Auxiliary Fire Service where we had become friends and we all really enjoyed the concert.

“We both liked Marianne’s songs and have enjoyed a lot of her music since. Mary remembers the night well and still knows most of the words to A Little Bird – she is forever singing it!”

Rob Mitchell, Head of Marketing at the Ricoh Arena, said: “We have been overwhelmed by some of the messages received by those who were there for Marianne’s first concert.

“The photograph we released has prompted many of us to reflect on how much has changed and how the city has grown, it is completely different to what it was like 50 years ago.

“Her performance at the Ricoh will mark half a century in the industry which is an incredible achievement and it is fitting that she is returning to the city where she first took to the stage.”

Faithfull sprang to fame on the release of As Tears Go By in 1964, but in 1965 she had her most successful year with four single releases including her highest ever UK chart hit Come and Stay With Me.

The event will be the first of a series of shows as part of the Ricoh Arena’s music series, An Evening With… where guests will be treated to a unique fine dining experience with specially selected premium wine to complement the menu followed by an intimate show.

Individual tickets for the performance are priced at £100 and £125, premium tables of 10 are £1,250 and standard tables of 10 are £1,000, and are available from www.ricoharena.com or by calling 024 7678 6411.