IT opened 40 years ago this month, hosted most of the biggest names in rock and pop, from the Rolling Stones to The Who and Diana Ross, and closed down with a whimper in 1985.

Uncommemorated, its former site in Glasgow city centre is now occupied by a pub and a cinema.

But interest in the fabled Apollo Theatre remains remarkably strong, 27 years after its demise, and now an academic study aims to discover why it is still remembered so enthusiastically by staff and audience members.

Kenny Forbes, a music lecturer at the University of the West of Scotland, who is leading the study, says the Apollo's unique characteristics created a space with high levels of engagement for artist and audience, at a time when many rock stars were at their creative peak.

He said: "Today there's not a lot of difference between big indoor arenas in say, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow, and there's something of a clinical atmosphere in many of them, but the Apollo definitely reflected the city, and was a significant part of Glasgow's social and cultural fabric at the time.''

The Apollo, which opened with a Johnny Cash concert on September 5, 1973, occupied the former Green's Playhouse venue in Renfield Street. It was never the most upmarket of rock venues but fans and groups alike adored it.

AC/DC and Status Quo were among the influential acts who taped concerts there for subsequent live albums.

The venue's peak years were in the 1970s. But it catered for more than just rock music: Billy Connolly, the Osmonds, Donovan, Duke Ellington and Gallagher and Lyle all played there. It finally shut its doors in 1985 – the same year in which the SECC opened – and was demolished after a fire in 1989.

Forbes said: "Many artists have commented favourably on the Apollo. Michael 'Supe' Granda, of the US band, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, wrote how he played Edinburgh one night and Glasgow the next. The Edinburgh audience was respectful and listened to every note. In Glasgow, he said, they 'went nuts from the word go'."

He added: "The project's focus groups will allow audience members to interact and reflect on what made the venue special. I'm especially interested to hear from those who attended jazz, pop, soul and folk concerts there."

l To take part, visit the Glasgow Apollo Research website at