the Blue Note sign

Read about some of the Blue Notes History

click on the link below to go to each story:

A recent interview on Funkademia with Terry Christian.

A Message from the Blue Note's Original Owner!

Short History of "The Blue Note Club" by Phil Howell

Barbed views from Terry Christian (Barbed Wireless Show) 1980s

An extract from a recent interview on Funkademia with Terry Christian.

Terry Christian bares all for Funkademia

Youíve obviously travelled the world quite a bit whereís the best club youíve ever been?

Iíve been quite a few places but Iím going to have to go for a place called the Bluenote in Derby. I had a radio show in Derby in the mid eighties and used to go their 2 or 3 times a week to the Bluenote. Paul Mason who went on to manage the Hacienda during its most infamous period was the manager at the time and it was a fantastic little club. It was a really cool little place with a great atmosphere and really good music, at the time Iíd say the music there was better than the Hacienda. It had a back room where you could choose your own stuff on the juke box. Its still going strong today.
Full article . . .

A Message from the Blue Note's Original Owner!

I built the Blue Note and opened it as owner and manager on my 29th birthday - 4 August 1979.

I sold the Blue Note business in June 1982 when I emigrated to Sydney, Australia to start another Nightclub (and have now had 4 over here) and a DJ/Band entertainment agency. I retained ownership of the Blue Note building until 1986 when I sold it.

It is pleasing to see that the club is still operating after all these years under the same name (named after the Blue Note jazz label and the blue note being the home of black music at that time).

Many great artists were on at Blue note 1979-1982 - Bo Diddley, UB 40, Thomson Twins, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, Human League and Soft Cell amongst them.

Brother Jim started Boom Club at 8/9 Sadler gate and opened Soda Bar later - he is now working with me over here and still DJing at the age of 66 !! He does the Sydney Opera House bar every Sunday. His history is massive as well - opened Clouds in London Rd in 1966.

David Milton
Sidney Australia

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Short History of "The Blue Note Club" by Phil Howell

I suppose the club really began in the Early 70's at Henry Cavendish School (now Da Vinci) in Breadsall. A sixth former named Mel Palmer started discos on the school's top floor every Friday. Being four years younger than Mel but at the same school, I went to the lunchtime discos. Mel went on to open Club Vogue (now Macdonalds) at Markeaton Park, which was extremely successful. The club also went on to inspire him to join up with Dave Milton, a local businessman who owned properties in Sadler Gate. Though not involved at that point, I was a successful DJ and friendly with Mel. I was, at the time, working around the town's colleges and hotels.

The club opened in late '78 as a private members club and was named after the Legendary Jazz/Blues record label (see enclosed album after which the club was named) and stood for quality and excellence. All tickets were sold out weeks ahead for the opening night, purchased mainly by VIP celebrities such as footballers from Notts Forest as well as Derby County attended. But by spring '79 they were struggling, numbers were not good and they were paying too much for a professional DJ from Manchester (Ralph Randell), a great guy who I got to know well.

I was approached whilst working at the then Peninne Hotel by Mel Palmer, who asked me if I would become their temporary DJ until they could find someone else!!! Running three turntables at times, music was mixing 12 inch singles- manually not by computer! My first night in July 79 was very average as I remember but within a couple of months things began to pick up and by October we were full every weekend night playing mainly Dance on Fridays and more Electro Dance Saturdays, the Friday nights in particular were legendary and full before Midnight.

Local celebs were regulars "Terry Christian" (see enclosed D.E.T article) became a good friend and could always be found propping up the bar particularly on band nights. The blonde singer from Human League (yes the one that was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar) danced in front of the decks virtually the whole of one night.Several Fashion Shows were held at the club and BBC television broadcast The Old Grey Whistle Test live. It seems Ironic now how we used to worry about the much bigger competition in town for they've all since closed down, I particularly remember other club DJs and mangers sneaking in standing at the top of the stairs just to catch what we were playing- at that time we were unbeatable and featured on the front page of Disco International magazine. Melody Maker regularly telephoned me and printed my Top Ten which went around the world.

Whole lotta Love singleDuring the Eighties Thursdays became Band Night and I remember introducing many of the big 80s bands who all played live at The Blue Note. Culture Club, Soft Cell, Chris Rea, Southern Death Cult, even the legendary Blues player Bo Diddley who I remember was more interested in the Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing match that night than playing, dozens of other bands but the best was the night Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin turned up. It was amazing, fans tailed back to the bottom of Sadler Gate I spent some time eating with Robert in the kitchen upstairs trying to act so cool. Introducing him on stage was fantastic though I'm sure I couldn't be heard- don't know how many came that night but forget the fire limit. I've included the Whole Lotta Love- Led Zeppelin single which he signed for me in the yard at the back of the club. Having tried to act like I meet mega stars every day I finally lost it, as he was about to leave I ran to the turn tables grabbing the single saying "by the way Robert could you just sign this for me" as you can see he did.
"To Phil- Blues is King- Robert Plant"

Of the original owners Dave Milton emigrated to Australia and I believe opened another Blue Note in Sydney - Mel Palmer moved to Leicester and launched a new club there too. Must mention Artel Black (manager) who went onto open The Dial, beautiful Coral Bennett on reception and Mark Scott (hair) all made early contributions.I left in the summer of 1990 and now MD my own company which was financed by The Blue Note Club for which I will always be grateful.

Phil Howell
DJ Blue Note Club Derby 1979-1990

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The following extract from The Derby Evening Telegraph sometime in the 1980s

Barbed views from Terry Christian (Barbed Wireless Show)

BBC Radio Derby

Dancing away those early hours when the pubs have shut

BEING in a new city you will want to know where to go to study for your degree in being a playboy or Debutante and dance until the early hours of the morning- so when the pubs let out here are some the places to go.

The Blue Note Club, Sadlergate

Terry ChristianThis is probably Derby's most famous club.
Due to complimentary articles in trendy magazines such as The Face, The Blue Note has become known to club-goers all around the country. This small select club is a must for the posers and people who like to go somewhere to be seen. You have to be quite smart and fashionable to get in, but the only real dress restriction is that you can't wear pumps or training shoes.
On October 14 there will be a new launching of the Blue Note club to coincide with a new lights system and a 10ft video screen. The club is members only and membership is £2 for the year. It specialises in the alternative and elite, being far from a run-of-the-mill chars-orientated disco as the music tends to be very modern and in vogue.
There are also regular band nights at the club during the week. Over the past 18 months such distinguished names as New Order, Blancmange, Mari Wilson, Culture Club and Bo Diddley have played there. And with students in mind, every Thursday starting October 20 there will be a cut price band night- £1 entrance for members, £1.50 non-members. These bands will include the best Derby bands and some up-and-coming nationally known bands.

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