1979 - Sex, Girls and Bubbly
Sham 69 are joined on stage by former Sex Pistols Peter Cook and Steve Jones. The Sham/Pistols treat an ecstatic Glasgow crowd to some fantastic punk songs including Pretty Vacant, White Riot, If The Kids Are United and What Have We Got.
Several recordings of the Sham/Pistols at the Apollo have been released with 2001's "Sham/Pistols Live" considered by many as a British Punk Rock classic.
Jimmy Pursey, Dave Parsons and Dave Tregenna of Sham were going to join up with the Pistols to form the Sham/Pistols. However, Cook and Jones walked out within a week apparently saying, "they are worse than Rotten"!
Frank Zappa plays the Apollo. Whilst not "official", the recording of the gig "Dead Girl...of Glasgow" is a must have for fans of the legendary completist.
The Police play their first gig at the venue supported by the Cramps. The Apollo management only open the stalls for the concert. Just a few months after headlining at Strathclyde University demand for Police tickets is huge and on the day of the show tickets go on sale for the balcony.
In his review of Nazareth's "No Mean City" concert at the Apollo, Mike Wall wrote, "The bouncers may be needlessly heavy, but the audience for a rock 'n' roll gig at Glasgow Apollo theatre ranks as one of the best in the world". For the full review go here.
There is unconfirmed testimony that, during the band's Hemispheres tour (25-27 April 1979), Rush led into Working Man with a snippet of The Cars' My Best Friend's Girl." An interesting idea.
The writer, David Fricke, a long-time chronicler of Rush's activities in various journals paid a flying visit to Glasgow on April 25 to see Rush playing the prestigious venue. He wrote: "It was very much a Canadian night out in the massive but run-down Scottish venue with Rush proteges Max Webster opening the show.
They (Rush) had rarely been in such magnificent form, made all the more impressive by the fact that all three of the Rush guys had succumbed to heavy colds within hours of touching down in Britain.
As usual, the light show was magnificent which meant that Rush had to do their usual outstanding job as far as the musical side of the evening was concerned.
They not only achieved that, but in actual fact surpassed it. Despite the fact that they played for more than two hours, despite the fact that we all stood for the whole of that time, despite the heat, the over-powering volume, the smoke, the lack of oxygen - despite all this by the time the band had left the stage for the last time I felt as though they'd played for about five minutes. I could see people all round me looking as though they shared that impression. Heads shaken from side to side as though they'd just come out of a trance, people sneaking glances at watches and adopting weird expressions of surprise.
Rush had incorporated a substantial chunk of 'Hemispheres' into their set, alongside standards and gems from earlier albums.
The set included 'Anthem', 'By-Tor And The Snow Dog', 'Xanadu', 'The Trees', 'Cygnus X-1', 'Hemispheres', 'La Villa Strangiato', 'Bangkok', 'Twilight Zone', 'Something For Nothing', the full '2112', 'Working Man', 'Bastille Day', and 'In The Mood'."
June 1979 sees Dire Straits showcasing songs from their new album Communique in Glasgow. Whilst the concert is a great success, Billy Sloan describes the bands closing number, "Wild West End" as: "...as low key a climax as you're ever likely to stumble across".
Wings record their concert on the 17 December for a possible live album. Whilst the album is never (officially!) released the version of "Coming Up" is released in the USA as a B side to the album version of the same track and reaches number 1. The Apollo version is the track of choice for American radio companies.
Wings drummer Stephen Holley writes on his web site. "My personal favorite moment was playing the Glasgow Apollo, which coincided with the soccer final with Scotland and England. Paul had decided that he would wrap himself in the flag of the winning team". Steve recalls of the fabled evening. "We had the Campbeltown Pipe Band, in full kilts and regalia, underneath the stage for the performance of "Mull of Kintyre. That was a very excited crowd, and Scotland won that night".
Coming back on stage for the encore, McCartney cranked into the opening of "Mull" and the doors swung open to allow the pipe band, with drums and bagpipes blasting, to walk through the audience and onto the stage. "That was a special moment", Steve reminisces. Wings also threw frisbees into the crowd that night - does anyone remember why?
Gary Numan plays his first ever theatre show at Glasgow Apollo in September 1979. Having previously only performed at smaller venues, it was a nervous Gary who started a stage career which would take many years to master. Even so, he began by fulfilling an early vision from his youth of filling the stage with dramatic light towers and giving the audience as much to see as to listen.
Queen's Freddy Mercury showers Glaswegians with champers on a freezing cold winters evening and invited the Glasgow choir to join him for a "champagne breakfast".
Despite objections from the local authorities The Tubes brought their infamous adult rock show to the Apollo. Apollomemories contributor Iain writes of the gig that: "...it was absolutely brilliant, Fee Waybill running about with a chainsaw, throwing ciggies at the audience, half naked wummin all over the place and a fantastic version of White Punks On Dope".
The year at the Apollo finishes with Blondie. The gig is broadcast live on TV on BBC2's "The Old Grey Whistle Test". One of the highlights of the show was when a troop of pipers in full highland dress who came onstage to accompany the choruses of "Sunday Girl".