Hello and thank you again for checking out my latest blog post.
Today, I am going to share about one of the most iconic music venues in the world: the King Edward Hotel, or as it’s known to locals, the King Eddy. This legendary venue has been a cornerstone of the Calgary music scene since the early 1900s, and has hosted some of the most talented musicians in history. So buckle up and let’s dive into the history of the King Eddy!
The King Eddy has been a fixture of the Calgary music scene since 1905. It was originally built as a hotel, but quickly gained a reputation as a hotspot for live music. In the early days, the King Eddy was known for hosting ragtime and jazz musicians, but as the years went on, the venue evolved to accommodate a wide range of genres. From blues to rock to country, the King Eddy has seen it all.
One of the most notable musicians to grace the stage at the King Eddy was the great Louis Armstrong. In 1919, Armstrong played a gig at the King Eddy with his band, the Dixieland Jazz Band. At the time, Armstrong was a relatively unknown musician, but his performance at the King Eddy helped launch his career and solidify his place in music history.
Another legendary musician to play at the King Eddy was the one and only Johnny Cash. In the 1950s, Cash was just starting to gain popularity, and he played a number of shows at the King Eddy. In fact, one of his most famous performances was recorded at the venue. In 1983, Cash released a live album called “Johnny Cash: Live From the King Eddy”, which featured recordings from his 1969 and 1982 performances at the venue.
But the King Eddy wasn’t just a place for big-name musicians to play. It was also a hub for local talent, and a breeding ground for up-and-coming musicians. Over the years, countless Calgary musicians have played at the King Eddy, honing their craft and building a following.
One of those local musicians was Tim Williams. Williams first played at the King Eddy in the early 1970s, and went on to become a mainstay of the Calgary music scene. In fact, he’s still playing music today, and has been inducted into the Canadian Blues Hall of Fame. Williams says that playing at the King Eddy was a formative experience for him, and that the venue played a key role in shaping the Calgary music scene.
The King Eddy wasn’t just a place for musicians to play, though. It was also a gathering place for the community. Over the years, the venue has played host to countless weddings, parties, and other events. In fact, it’s been said that if the walls of the King Eddy could talk, they’d have some pretty incredible stories to tell.
But as much as we all love the King Eddy, the venue hasn’t always had an easy time. In the 1980s, the hotel portion of the building was shut down due to health and safety concerns. And in the 2000s, the music venue itself was in danger of being closed down. But the community rallied around the King Eddy, and in 2014, the venue was renovated and reopened as part of the National Music Centre.
Today, the King Eddy is once again a thriving music venue, hosting shows from both local and international musicians. And while the venue has certainly changed over the years, its spirit remains the same. The King Eddy is a place where musicians can come to play their hearts out, where the community can come together to celebrate, and where history has been made time and time again.
One of the things that makes the King Eddy so special is its intimate setting. The venue is relatively small, with a capacity of just a few hundred people. This means that every show at the King Eddy feels like a personal experience, with the musicians and the audience sharing a special connection. It’s this sense of community that has kept the King Eddy alive for so long.
But it’s not just the size of the venue that makes it special. The King Eddy has a unique vibe that’s hard to find anywhere else. There’s something about the dimly-lit room, the cozy booths, and the historic decor that creates a sense of magic. When you’re at the King Eddy, you feel like you’re part of something special.
And of course, there’s the music. The King Eddy has always been a place for great music, and that hasn’t changed. Whether you’re into blues, jazz, country, or rock, you’re bound to find something you love at the King Eddy. And because the venue is so small, you get to experience the music up close and personal. There’s nothing quite like being in the same room as a talented musician, feeling the energy of their performance.
It’s clear that the King Eddy has played an important role in the Calgary music scene, but its impact goes beyond that. The venue has become a symbol of resilience and community spirit. Despite the challenges it’s faced over the years, the King Eddy has persevered, thanks to the dedication of the people who love it. It’s a testament to the power of music to bring people together and to create something truly special.
The King Edward Hotel, or King Eddy, is more than just a music venue. It’s a piece of Calgary history, a gathering place for the community, and a beacon of hope for music lovers everywhere. From Louis Armstrong to Johnny Cash to the local musicians who have called it home, the King Eddy has hosted some of the most talented musicians in the world. And thanks to the efforts of the National Music Centre and the Calgary community, it will continue to do so for years to come.
So if you haven’t been to the King Eddy yet, what are you waiting for? Come experience the magic for yourself.
Thank you for reading friends,