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June 27, 2014

Pictures of Cafe Wha? in the 1960s

Café Wha?, located at 115 MacDougal Street in the west village of New York City, opened in the 1950s. Under the guidance of owner/manager Manny Roth, it became a prominent, cutting edge musical venue during the 1960s. A plethora of famous musicians played there (many of them unknowns who were just getting started). The now legendary club still operates to this day in the same location as it did all those years ago. Bob Dylan’s first ever stage performance (a walk-on) in New York took place at the Café Wha in January 1961.

Although known more as a folk/blues club in the early 60s, the Café Wha? began hiring rock bands in the wake of the1964 Beatles / ‘British Invasion onslaught. So by 1965-66 the Café Wha? was catering for all types of music. A then unknown Jimi Hendrix performed at the Café Wha? with his short-lived band Jimmy James & The Blue Flames during May-July 1966. One of these shows (July 5th) was attended by Chas Chandler (then bass player for The Animals). Chandler promptly signed Hendrix and whisked him off to England in September 1966 to record a debut album and form a new band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience.


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