Nightclub Hall of Fame Peter Stringfellow
In 1962, Stringfellow rented St. Aidan’s church hall in Sheffield every Friday night, also known as The Black Cat Club. Several bands played in the club like the Pursuers, Dave Berry and the Cruisers, Johnny Tempest and the Cadillacs and from London, Screaming Lord Sutch, the Savages, Count Lindsay, and Gene Vincent. His fortunes changed when The Beatles played on 2 April 1963. The demand for concert tickets was so great that Stringfellow was forced to rent a larger venue, the Azena Ballroom in Sheffield. On that night he sent The Beatles a telegram congratulating them on their first album, Please Please Me.
In 1963 Stringfellow began another club, “The Blue Moon”, at St. Johns Church Hall in Sheffield. The opening act was the Marauders who had a record in the British top 30. More bands followed such as the Kinks. Other bands that played at the club and became famous were Freddie Starr and the Midnighters, the Searchers, Shane Fenton and the Fentones, Wayne Fontana, Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men, Rod Stewart and the Soul Agents, Vance Arnold & The Avengers, Dean Marshall and the Deputies. Also in the same year, Stringfellow’s Theatre promotions at Sheffield City Hall were a big success. They featured acts such as the Rolling Stones, the Big Three, Fleetwood Mac and the Nice.
In 1964, Stringfellow opened another club called King Mojo Club in Sheffield. During its three and half years of business, several bands played at the club. Some of the bands were the Who, Pink Floyd, Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart, Elton John, the Mersey Beats and the Hurd, the Spencer Davis Group, the Pretty Things, Manfred Mann, the Small Faces, Jimi Hendrix. There were also some American acts who played in the club, such acts were the first Tamla/Motown acts in the UK, Ben E. King, Sonny Boy Williamson, Tina Turner, and Little Stevie Wonder.
In 1968, he went into another business with Down Broadway. It was the first proper premises for clubbing. It was just below the Stylo’s shoe shop in the centre of Sheffield. Blodwyn Pig was the first act to play at Down Broadway and John Peel was booked to play as the Star DJ. Super group Yes also played at the club. In 1969, Stringfellow acquired the first alcohol licence for another of his clubs called the Penthouse – Sheffield. The club only lasted for a year due to trouble with overcrowding and objections from the local police. This prompted him to sell it and move to Leeds.
In 1970, he opened Cinderella’s in Leeds. This was Stringfellow’s first super club, mixing recorded music and live bands. He served as the DJ and the first band on the opening night was Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames before they became famous. In 1972, Stringfellow acquired a space next door to Cinderella to create another club called Rockafella’s. This was the first and last of his super cabaret and super clubs. Comedy duo Mike & Bernie Winters and magician Paul Daniels performed at the club. The two clubs were combined in 1973 and given the name Cinderella Rockafella’s, and Stringfellow dropped the cabaret and put in full-time DJs such as Chris Crossley and Peter Tyler. He and his brother, Paul Stringfellow, also served as DJs.
In 1976, Stringfellow and his then business partner and brother, Geoffrey Stringfellow, sold the Cinderella Rockafella’s to Mecca and moved to Manchester, where they opened The Millionaire Club. There were no live bands in The Millionaire Club. However, the Stringfellows hired named DJs including Peter Tyler and Brett Sinclair.
In 1980, he sold The Millionaire Club to Granada Ltd. and he then moved with his whole family to London. There he opened Stringfellows Covent Garden. It was an immediate success as a night club in London, where celebrities, international film stars, TV personalities, rock stars, models, paparazzi photographers, and national newspaper journalists partied for the next 15 years. In 1983, Stringfellow took over the old cabaret club, Talk of the Town, which had been closed down. He re-opened it with its original nameHippodrome and it became the “World’s Greatest Disco”. The Hippodrome introduced its first gay night at the venue under his management.
In 1986, he opened Stringfellows – New York which was successfully frequented by New York celebrities, rock stars, and other personalities. In 1989, he opened Stringfellows – Miami, and this was followed by Stringfellows – Los Angeles in 1990. He had hugely unsuccessful financial losses due to the American economic recession in 1989.
In 1996, Stringfellow’s autobiography, King of Clubs, was published by Little Brown. It was serialised in the Baltimore Sun newspaper and became a best-seller.
In 2005, a political blogger named Guido Fawkes launched an online campaign for Stringfellow to be knighted.