LEGENDARY BIRMINGHAM CLUB TO BE AWARDED BLUE PLAQUE
Stephen Pennell ©
The Birmingham Civic Society will be unveiling a Blue Plaque on the site of the legendary Rum Runner Club in Birmingham this Friday, December 16th. The Broad Street nightclub, formerly situated between the present-day Walkabout and The Solomon Cutler, was once at the centre of the 80s New Romantic scene in Birmingham, and its influence spread throughout the world. I got beaten up on the car park up the road after a night out there once, but if they handed out blue plaques to commemorate that they’d be more common than England flags in World Cup month. Instead, the site of the Rum Runner is being recognised for its contribution to Birmingham’s nightlife and music culture.
Birthplace of iconic Brummie band Duran Duran and renowned for its flamboyance and ‘anything goes’ attitude, the award will celebrate the legacy of the former nightclub, once the stomping ground of celebrity fashion designers as well as members of The Beat, Dexys Midnight Runners and DJ Dick (Richard Whittingham), the aforementioned Duran Duran, and many more. Before it was demolished in 1987, it was in The Rum Runner club that the band Duran Duran initially worked, rehearsed and partied. The club's owners, Paul and Michael Berrow managed the band before they went on to achieve worldwide fame in the 1980s.
The club itself opened in 1964 and developed a reputation as a late night venue where bands would hang out, including Black Sabbath and Magnum. The owners remodelled The Rum Runner on the legendary New York club Studio 54, changed the music policy and invited bands to perform. It also offered free rehearsal space to Dexy's Midnight Runners and UB40. The Beat filmed their video for the single Mirror In The Bathroom at the club.
Jez Collins of the Birmingham Music Archive said ‘It’s fantastic that the Rum Runner is being recognised with a Blue Plaque from the Birmingham Civic Society, following on from the award for the DJ Tony De Vit.’ This award is a brilliant end to a fantastic year for Birmingham and our music culture. We've had the incredible Commonwealth Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies that highlighted the city's amazing music, which Duran Duran performed at. They have also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside fellow Brummies and Black Country legends Judas Priest.’