The Club A’Gogo didn’t start its life as a venue for blues and rock bands.Although it opened up in the early sixties when Rock and Roll was becoming popular in the UK, the first music played there was a rollover from the previous decade – jazz.Eric Burdon of the Animals was a member of a crowd that used to hang out at the Downbeat.In one interview Burdon described his bunch of friends as “like a motorcycle gang …… they were tough, hard-drinking and listened to American music”.However, had it not been for Mike Jeffery, there would have been no Club A’Gogo and the careers of many well known musicians may not have turned out the way they did.His 1957 venture, the University Jazz Club did well as a music venue.However, progress with the new club was slow because the pair needed additional funds to convert the premises and fit it out to the standard they had envisaged.On 13th November 1961 the Marimba Coffee House and the El Toro club were destroyed by fire.
Although there were several large dance halls in the town such as the Oxford Galleries and the Majestic (where the Beatles had their first live appearance in the city), there were only a handful of small, more intimate venues around at that time.
That year the man who founded the Gogo, Mike Jeffery, opened his first music venue – the University Jazz Club in the Cordwainers Hall above the Gardeners Arms on Nelson Street, Newcastle.
Michael Frank Jeffery was a Londoner who, after a spell in the British army, came north to study at Kings College, Newcastle.
There are, of course, many references to the Animals being the resident band at the club in the early sixties.
The Animals also recorded a live album at the Gogo and even wrote a song about the place.