9. Webster Hall Was A Venue For Many “First” Performances and Recordings

Portrait of James P. (James Price) Johnson, Albert Nicholas, Johnny Windhurst, Marty Marsala, Sandy Williams, and Danny Alvin, Webster Hall, New York, N.Y., ca. June 1947]. Photo by William P. Gottlieb from Library of Congress.

Once the hall came into RCA’s possession and became more of a music venue, many famous artists had their first live performances and recording done here. On February 2, 1962, Bob Dylan was recorded for the very first time playing the harmonica on the title track of Harry Belafonte’s Midnight Special. His first album would be released a month later in March 1962. In the 1980s, Webster was under new ownership and renamed “The Ritz” where U2 would have their first ever show US on December 6, 1980. As “The Ritz,”Webster became a very popular rock venue where artists like Eric Clapton, The Pretenders, Prince, Metallica, Aerosmith, and Guns n Roses performed. It was also where Tina Turner and Sting had their respective first live solo performances.