The Epic 2017 Project #048: 170217
Dr Feelgood – Stupidity (1976)
Dr Feelgood’s third album release (and first live one) topped the UK charts on its release in 1976 without the aid of a hit single release. It was the first ever live album to go to number 1 in the UK chart in its first week of release. And, rather less significantly, was also the bands’ first and only recording to reach number 1.
The original vinyl album release featured seven tracks, recorded in Sheffield, on Side 1, and six tracks, recorded in Dr Feelgood’s hometown, Southend, on Side 2. A free single, only issued with the first 20,000 copies, included live versions of ‘Riot in Cell block No.9’ (also recorded in Southend) and ‘Johnny B Goode’ (recorded in Aylesbury).
This is Southend’s Kursaal today, the ballroom of which was where side two of ‘Stupidy’ was recorded. It’s a Grade II listed building which had originally opened in 1901 as part of one of the world’s first purpose-built amusement parks. Sadly, with the exception of the ballroom which had remained Southend’s foremost rock venue, the Kursaal as a whole went into gradual decline from the early 1970s. At the end of 1977 the decision was made to close the ballroom as well though and the main building finally went the same way in 1986. The outdoor amusement area was redeveloped for housing but the main Kursaal building reopened in 1998 after a multimillion-pound redevelopment, containing a bowling alley, a casino and other amusements. Happily, the unique ‘Kursaal’ lettering on the dome remains.