The History of Henry’s Blueshouse

The original Henry’s Blueshouse opened in The Crown Hotel in 1968 in Birmingham, England, and ran every Tuesday under the flag Tuesdays is Bluesdays. It was said by Melody Maker to be “the first progressive music venue outside of London”.

Organised by Big Bear Music founder, Jim Simpson, originally as a platform for Bakerloo Blues Line, later shortened to Bakerloo, it quickly developed into one of the most important music venues in this city. American bluesmen and leading British rock and blues attractions featured weekly at the small upstairs room adjacent to New Street Station which was to gain worldwide recognition as the birthplace of one of the most influential rock bands of all time, Black Sabbath.

Simpson became their manager and took them from obscurity to a chart topping attraction with the single “Paranoid” and the albums “Black Sabbath” and “Paranoid”. The latter reached number one on the album chart, a feat not repeated by Black Sabbath until 43 years later.

Black Sabbath, with Ozzy Osbourne sporting a Henry’s T-shirt

Henry’s was seen as an important stepping stone to fame by dozens of bands including Status Quo, Jethro Tull, Thin Lizzy, Robert Plant, Judas Priest, Rory Gallagher & Taste, Thin Lizzy, Chicken Shack and Ten Years After – click here to view a full list

American Bluesmen to grace the stage at Henry’s Blueshouse included Arthur Big Boy Crudup, who wrote “That’s Alright Now Mama”, the first Elvis Presley hit, Champion Jack Dupree, Lightnin’ Slim, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Reverend Gary Davis and J.B. Hutto.

After a short break of roughly 50 years, Henry’s Blueshouse reopened its doors at The Bull’s Head on Birmingham’s Westside. With a weekly programme of free admission gigs and blues talkin’, once again Tuesdays is Bluesdays in Brum.

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