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Designed by Thomas W. Lamb and originally called the Academy of Music, it was built in 1927 across the street from the site of an earlier venue of the same name. Opened as a deluxe movie palace by movie mogul William Fox, the Academy operated as a movie theater through the early 1970s.
Beginning in 1971, it was also utilized as a rock concert venue to fill a gap left by the closure of the Fillmore East. It was rechristened the Palladium on September 18, 1976, with The Band live radio broadcast, and continued to serve as a concert hall into the following decade. In 1985, the Palladium was converted into a nightclub by Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, after their success with Studio 54. Japanese architect Arata Isozaki redesigned the building's interior for the club.
The Palladium closed in 1997 and was later demolished. New York University purchased the land and built a 12-story residence hall retaining the name Palladium. The residence hall typically houses 975 undergraduate and 170 MBA students. Two floors in the basement and sub-basement are dedicated to the Palladium Athletic Facility, also known to the University community by its abbreviation, "PLD".
The Palladium was a 3000-capacity major venue in New York for rock bands who wanted an audience larger than a club but not quite arena size, like Madison Square Garden. Many bands performed at the Palladium in the middle of large arena and stadium tours, due to the prestige of the theater and the excellent acoustics. The theater featured a highly regarded sound system that was designed and installed by Richard Long of Richard Long & Associates,(RLA).
As the Academy of Music at 126 East 14th Street, the venue hosted numerous rock concerts in the '60s and early '70s; among these were The Rolling Stones 1st American Tour 1965, which played this venue on May 1, 1965 and the series of New Year's shows played by The Band on December 28–31, 1971 (recordings from which were released as the 1972 live album Rock of Ages). New Year's Eve 1973 featured the eclectic line-up of Blue Öyster Cult, Iggy Pop, KISS, and Teenage Lust (who had recently backed up John Lennon). Genesis performed the NY concerts of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway there in 1974.
The Grateful Dead played two extended stands at this venue. One was 7 shows at the Academy of Music, from March 21–28, 1972. Excerpts of these shows, including some tracks with Bo Diddley as a guest, were officially released on Dick's Picks Volume 30. The other was 5 shows between April 29, and May 4, 1977. The complete April 30 show was officially released as Grateful Dead Download Series Volume 1, with 3 bonus tracks from the April 29 show.
Thousands of bands played shows at the Palladium, including many UK punk and new wave acts who made their New York debuts there, including The Clash, The Boomtown Rats, The Fall, Graham Parker & The Rumour, Rockpile, U2, The Undertones and Roxy Music.
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band played six shows at the Palladium in October and November 1976, and three more in September 1978. Tickets for all three 1978 shows were sold out. Frank Zappa and his band performed on and around Halloween several times, including performances in 1977, which were included in the film Baby Snakes, a legendary series of shows in 1978, and a 1981 performance which was simulcast live on radio and MTV.
New York proto-punk musicians, The Patti Smith Group, John Cale, and Television, all played there at a show on New Year's Eve 1976. The Ramones played on New Year's Eve 1979. In 1980, KISS played a warm-up show here, before they kicked off their Unmasked Tour in Italy. It was Eric Carr's first live performance with the band. In 1991, Tin Machine performed at the venue during their It's My Life Tour on November 27 & 29. A portion of these performances were used for their live album, Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby.
The venue was also where many British heavy metal acts made their initial impact in the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Ozzy Osbourne, and other participants of the so-called New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
Fugazi played two sold out shows at the Palladium on May 2 and 3, 1997. These were the last two concerts ever performed at the venue.
In 1992, C+C Music Factory recorded a song under the moniker S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. for the soundtrack to The Bodyguard (starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner). The song, "It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day", was the only song on the soundtrack performed by an artist other than Whitney Houston to be released as a single in the US. The remixes of the song, which were released via Arista Records on Compact Disc single, cassette single, and Double-12" vinyl single, were titled "The Palladium House Anthem I" and "The Palladium House Anthem II". At that time, C+C Music Factory member Robert Clivillés was the resident DJ at The Palladium.
In 2004, punk pioneers the Ramones reissued a live album they recorded at The Palladium. The album is called Live January 7, 1978 at the Palladium, NYC [LIVE], and was released by Sanctuary Records Group.
On 12/21/1973, Lou Reed recorded both Rock 'n' Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live at Howard Stein's Academy of Music, released during 2/1974 and 3/1975 respectively, featuring songs from his solo career and The Velvet Underground.
Renaissance recorded Unplugged Live at the Academy of Music at the venue in 1985, although it wasn't released until 2000.
The Palladium was converted from a music venue into a nightclub by former Studio 54 owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, and they hired Danceteria DJ Richard Sweret, and DJ Patrick Anastasi who saw the possibility of a much larger audience for a downtown ‘New Wave music’, Euro and house music-oriented club. From its celebrity-studded opening in May 1985, through the end of the 80s, it was one of the major features on a vibrant New York club scene. The club was a mainstay on the New York club scene until it was bought out in 1997 by New York University (NYU) and demolished for a campus housing project.
Junior Vasquez's Arena party, held Saturday nights and Sunday mornings at Palladium between September 1996 and September 1997, was one of the most popular parties in the New York club scene at the time. Although the promoters billed Arena as "The Gay Man's Pleasure Dome", the party drew an eclectic mix of gay and straight from Manhattan and far beyond. Vasquez commemorated Arena in the titles of the remixes he produced that year.
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