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KajaGooGoo, Watford and Baileys Nightclub

April 30, 2011
by

Back in 1984 following the success of the ‘Islands’ tour, Kajagoogoo took up residency for a series of six gigs at ‘Baileys’ nightclub in Watford, Hertfordshire. The gigs took place between the 15th and 20th of October 1984, and were promoted both locally and also through fan club publication ‘KajaFax’ (the original publication from which this website lends its name). Check out the ticket prices – a far cry from the prices charged today!

KajaGooGoo

Baileys’ was a well established and incredibly popular nightclub, located centrally in Watford town centre. The original building, the ‘Plaza by the Pond’ was built in 1929 and by 1936 had been taken over by the Odeon group. The original building was demolished in the 1960’s at which point it became the ‘Top Rank’ suite. As the ‘Top Rank’ club, the venue later to be known as ‘Baileys’ attracted many first rate performers, with artists such as Genesis, Status Quo, Black Sabbath, Roy Orbison and Slade all playing live there at one time or another.  The club’s compare, Joshua ‘JJ’ Jones became somewhat of a local celebrity; such was the fame of the club.

Recalling memories from back in the day, Julie Addison, a Watford local and regular patron of the club during those years writes:

“…you ask if I have any memories of Baileys…I have many! I used to go every Wednesday night without fail. We never had a boring night. I wonder how many people will recall the good times we had…the headline act at Baileys and a prawn cocktail followed by a T-bone steak n’ chips were the height of gastronomic sophistication at Fagin’s Grill…”

 The glory days at Baileys were not set to continue however, as the club went into decline, ultimately being re-branded ‘Paradise Lost’, ‘Kudos’, and ‘Destiny’, all to no avail.

KajaGooGoo

To the present day… revamped, rebranded, and renamed ‘Oceana’, the club formerly known as Baileys has been given a new lease of life, now forming part of a national nightclub chain. It boasts six bars, two dance floors, and a capacity crowd of 2,500.

KajaGooGoo

A far cry from ’84, and the days of those long forgotten gigs….. KajaGooGoo

KajaFax knows that one or two of its readers (you know who you are!) attended those shows.

We look forward to your comments!

2011 KajaFax

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. lulu permalink
    April 30, 2011 11:53 am

    You know I was there by now!! Anyway going to Baileys every night for a week or whatever it was, was a bit of a drag but luckily i was living in North london with Donna, another one of the kaja gang so we managed. It was like a dinner dancing place so we got fed for our money as well. We saw quite a lot of the lads, it wasnt far from home for most of them so maot of the then girlfriends came as well, it was quite social. The sets were about an hour and had an encore and I thought they played well. it was a good venue for us, not like a concert hall. I will think about it and write more later xx

    • TheRaggedTiger permalink
      April 30, 2011 12:25 pm

      yeah, I knew that you had attended those gigs when I wrote the article Lulu. That’s what the last line was all about 🙂

      I was hoping that you would give us your memories of those evenings…

  2. Madison permalink
    April 30, 2011 2:55 pm

    Cant believe how long the queue was to get in the place. It would be good to see a picture of what it looks like now in regards to how long the queue is etc. Will keep an eye out if ever i’m passing one Saturday night! At least its not been shut down or turned into anything else. 🙂 Great article.

  3. lulu permalink
    April 30, 2011 7:08 pm

    What i mostly remember is that the shows did not have the sort of frenzied excitement you got on a regular tour. The audience were older and not nessecarily there specifically to see that band, there were lots of what loked like hospitality do’s and such like. As the article said it was popular with the locals who would go and just just see who was on regardless cos of the dinner and dancing.
    It was an unusual thing to do and i was not quite sure why the lads did it, although we liked the whole casual attitude thing. I remember there was not much need for a massive sound check each day as the place was set up and the band were on quite late in comparisson to a concert venue. Apart from Nick, who was distinctive even without the beads by then, the guys could walk about the club without really being bothered and i remember sitting round with Steve, Anna and Jez i think, while they waited to get on.
    The sets were a mix of Islands and White Feathers and the older stuff seemed to go down better if i am honest although Big Apple was very well recieved. We didnt have to do any sneaking in to this venue, I think we bought tickets for the first couple and were on the guest list for the rest. There was some banter when the lads were on stage, there wasnt the noise level at other gigs so if you shouted stuff it was heard (don’t think we could resist on occasion). I don’t know what else to say really except Baileys was the last time i saw them live ( as Kaja) until the first Stables gig!

  4. jacky colling permalink
    June 20, 2011 12:25 am

    Hi Well I remember back in the day, I would be in Baileys 4 nights a week. It was the only real club in Watford. I was a permenant feature from the late 70’s. Seen all the gigs including Elton John, Black Abbotts and Mike Reid amongest others. Celebrated my 21st there and became friends with the resident band Son of a Gun. Yes those were the days. I along with a friend won the disco dance competition in 76 in the watford club, and we came third in the finals held in Birmingham. We got a bronze medal, I stil have it. It was two years later that this competition was televised.

    • June 20, 2011 3:09 pm

      Brilliant story Jacky, thanks for sharing!! Were you still going in the 80s?

  5. Philofax permalink
    December 4, 2012 6:29 pm

    Ha, during a nostalgic moment just now I was just searching for Baileys and stumbled upon this page. Back in the early 80’s I used to go to Baileys all the time with friends and colleagues. We even have a “Lifetime membership” (My lifetime obviously longer than Baileys :/) before it became Paradise Lost I think,
    I actually remember it being Top Rank when my mother used to drag us round Caters, the supermarket that lived underneath at that time.
    I was trying to remember some of the bands that played there like Shackattack, Showaddywaddy, Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show, Garry Glitter and The Four Tops. I’m sure there were also some other top bands who’s names allude me right now.
    Ha, Baileys, long gone but not forgotten. It was a long way down those stairs for anyone who upset the bouncers!

  6. debra dore permalink
    December 14, 2012 11:45 pm

    i remember going to bailey’s when i was only 16 it was the first time i had been to anything like that i went to see the nolans twice and then the stylistics had a brilliant time and have fond memories of going there and the people that i went with i even have some strange photo’s with the nolans and stylistics and wish i could go back in time and go there again

  7. December 21, 2012 11:22 pm

    rob aldred down under,i worked at the top rank back in the late 60s,until i left for australia in feb 1971,the rank was a magic place,i loved it and have great thoughts of those old times,the resident band ronnie smith,who ended up in the pond on one time,his birthday i think,then reg brooks,was the band leader both good people.i saw a few groups,and the comment about being bounced sorry but true,along with a few patrons,like i said good thoughts as well,had a lot of friends,miss them and the rank alot

  8. Steve permalink
    September 24, 2013 8:20 pm

    I went to one of these kajagoogoo gigs, happy days, can’t remember too much about it which probably means I’d had more than 1 pint of lager

    • September 24, 2013 9:14 pm

      It must have been good then 🙂 I hope that 2014 brings more gigs……2010 and their last outing seems a long time ago now.

  9. December 2, 2014 5:08 pm

    I used to go there regularly in the late 70’s and early eighties to see many acts and even got to play drums there with an American Artist Tommy Hunt for the whole week.
    All my mates came on the Friday, but unfortunately there was a power cut and the night finished early.

  10. Stuart permalink
    March 11, 2015 4:52 pm

    After Joshua JJ Jones left, a guy called Phil Sayer became the resident DJ at Baileys – the compare was a guy called Kenny. I used to cover for Phil on his nights off, and had a really brilliant time being a DJ in a club that I wasn’t old enough to get in to, as I was 17 at the time.
    Phil went on to be a Radio DJ in Manchester and now owns and runs a voice over company.
    If you’ve ever been on the London Under-ground, it’s Phil Sayer who says
    “Mind the gap between the platform and the train”.
    Happy days

  11. Bob Kennedy permalink
    December 16, 2015 5:53 pm

    Loved Baileys and the new penny queens Road. Seems a lifetime ago now. Watford was once a place where the face’s were. Funny thing I was having a pint with Nick only two months ago in my new Town Leighton Buzzard.
    Many fond memories never to be repeated unfortunately but if a club did occur like baileys with good acts I for one would be there.

  12. January 6, 2016 10:00 am

    Why do you torture me with a story & photo that has no Limahl??

  13. James Stroh permalink
    March 4, 2016 11:52 pm

    I remember seeing The Three Degrees and Gary Glitter at Baileys, when it was known as EMI Baileys back in 1984. Lived in Hatch End Pinner at the time, but would travel up to Watford a few times to see the acts and dance dance dance. Loved it so.

  14. Robert Collins permalink
    May 24, 2016 4:41 am

    Well where do i start first went to Top rank when i was 17 mainly use to creep in on a Tuesday night spent most of the night hiding from the bouncers with my half pint of cider in a dimpled glass i remember there were go go dancers one of them was my mums sister.
    then i was 19 years old ended up working there Graham White was manager saw many Stars like Nolan sisters the Real thing Martin st James Mike Reed Sylvester Edwin Star and others which i can not remember worked on all the bars use to get a half hour break and a free meal chicken in a basket with chips or fish and chips on a card board plate coffee was in a very small plastic cup from a vending machine for 2p price of a pint was 57p for larger 55p for bitter they only served Carling and Double Diamond my wages was £7 per shift Friday Saturday nights were very busy 50 people waiting to get served some of the times no tills like they have to day one evening my till failed and was given a handle at to crank it at the end of the night i was told my till was 1p out i had taken £357 pound i took a penny out of my tip jar and flicked it in to the till normally there would 4 people working the bar i was the only one for that till over all really enjoyed the time i worked there. Robert Collins

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