An obituary in The Guardian today for music promoter Rik Gunnell (1931-2007). The clubs he was involved in were critical in London music in the 1950s and 1960s, most famously The Flamingo in Wardour Street where 'In the club's basement, black and white people mingled to an extent unknown elsewhere in London in the 1960s. Judy Garland dropped in to the club's AllNighter, and Christine Keeler played off her lovers there. A who's who of British rock and R&B appeared at the Flamingo under his aegis and a breathtaking roll call of Americans, including Stevie Wonder, Bill Haley, Patti LaBelle, John Lee Hooker and Jerry Lee Lewis'.
Other clubs he was linked to included 'Studio 51, a jazz club where the new bebop was played' after World War Two; the 2-Way Jazz Club (from 1952); the Blue Room (also 1952), featuring modern jazz; The Star in Wardour Street; Club Basic in Charing Cross Road; and Leicester Square's Mapleton hotel. The latter became an all-nighter called Club Americana in 1955 , and Gunnell started extra nights there as Club M which became popular with 'African-American servicemen based then in Britain; and 'Caribbean and African settlers of the Windrush generation'. He moved to the Flamingo in 1958; when it closed in in 1967, Gunnell took over the Bag O'Nails in Kingly Street.
Good stuff on 1960s British r'n'b and soul at Brown Eyed Handsome Man.