The Glasgow Apollo had been open for less than a day when rumours began to circulate about Mick Jagger’s forthcoming appearance at the Renfield Street venue.

Jagger and the Rolling Stones were due to make two appearances at the Apollo on September 16 and 17, 1973. And the word in the London rag trade was that Jagger would be appearing on stage in a transparent suit.

A see-through stage costume would have fitted in perfectly with the times. This was, after all, the era of glam rock, when bands such as Sweet, the Glitter Band, and David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars appeared in concerts and on Top of the Pops in sequined and glittery costumes, spiky hair, make-up and platform shoes. (Of Sweet it was said   that they looked like 'builder's labourers with make-up').

The Herald: The Who's Roger Daltrey in action at the ApolloThe Who's Roger Daltrey in action at the Apollo (Image: Newsquest)

As it turned out, there was no truth to the Jagger rumour - the famed designer Ossie Clark had made two tight-fitting jumpsuits for him, one in gold kid with lace, the other in blue satin, but neither was see-through.

The new Apollo Centre occupied the building that for decades had housed the cavernous ballroom and cinema that had been Green’s Playhouse, which had opened in 1927. The centre would screen nightly films while its famously high stage would also play host to the biggest names in rock and pop.

The Apollo was opened on September 5 by Johnny Cash, the country-music star who just a few years earlier had caused a sensation with concerts at the notoriously tough Californian prisons of Folsom and San Quentin. Cash played three knockout concerts at the Apollo. One fan, however, was not best-pleased - “he got sat behind a pillar and was not chuffed”, his son later observed on the Glasgow Apollo website.

The Herald: The US act Dr Hook was a popular attraction at the ApolloThe US act Dr Hook was a popular attraction at the Apollo (Image: Newsquest)

Other concerts that unforgettable month featured the Stones, Lou Reed, Family, the Moody Blues, Status Quo, and Diana Ross.

That set the template for the Apollo: it would go on to attract almost everyone who was anyone in pop and rock, covering every genre from glam to punk, from funk to heavy metal, from middle of the road to folk and new wave and jazz.

It would be easier to list the major acts that didn’t appear in Renfield Street to list those that did. (A few of the notable ‘absentees’: Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd - although the latter two had both played Green’s Playhouse in its time as a concert venue, the former as recently as December 1972).

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The hundreds of acts who did play the Apollo, and their sheer diversity, are staggering, even now. At that time, the city had no real rivals in Scotland as a sizeable, indoor venue, and the Apollo commanded roughly the same sort of position that the OVO Hydro and the Armadillo between them have today.

A sample of the acts who did make their way to Renfield Street: Bowie, Neil Young, the Eagles, the Bay City Rollers, Black Sabbath, Roxy Music, Abba, the Clash, Blondie, T Rex, AC/DC, the Carpenters, Deep Purple, Van Morrison, Elton John, Simple Minds, Rod Stewart, Duke Ellington, the Jacksons, Queen, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Nazareth, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Who, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, the Osmonds, and the Wombles.

Billy Connolly set a record when he sold out 13 consecutive nights at the Apollo in September 1975.

And for every household-name act that appeared, there were dozens of others who were famous only for a relatively brief time.

Glaswegian audiences were - and still are - renowned for their love of live music. This was celebrated at the Apollo. Bands of every description praised their audiences extravagantly, and more than a few released albums that were wholly or partly recorded at the Apollo. Tom Robinson once said that it was "just the wildest, warmest audience a band could ever want”. He spoke for many, many other artists.

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Despite its prominence and reputation the Apollo did not always have a rosy future. In 1978 there was what the Glasgow Herald described as a “shock move” to turn the venue into a bingo hall. There was a fierce outcry from fans and artists alike - Bob Geldof was, as ever, particularly outspoken on the subject. One 16-year-old fan wrote to the Glasgow Herald to say: “Scotland is neglected enough. If the Apollo closes down, then the youth of Scotland will be deprived of the only chance they get to see their heroes in action”. He, too, spoke for many others.

The Herald: A long run of sold-out Apollo gigs was an early sign of Billy Connolly's impending worldwide fameA long run of sold-out Apollo gigs was an early sign of Billy Connolly's impending worldwide fame (Image: Newsquest)The Apollo managed to see off the bingo threat and continued to attract big-name acts. It staggered on until 1985, by which time the building was really showing its age (it had, after all, been opened in 1927). Towards the end of 1985, the SECC opened for business, giving Glasgow a purpose-built auditorium for rock and pop.

The Apollo has long vanished from Glasgow but for thousands of people who attended concerts there, its rough magic will never fade. Books have been written about the old place, and the Apollo website and its associated Facebook page do a superb job in keeping the memories alive. In the Seventies, at least, there really was no better place in Scotland in which to experience the surging, heady thrill of a concert. And more than a few of its habituees have been known to lament the Apollo's absence, even now, in 2023.