Plaque celebrates music venue

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BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Tea Party was one of the nation’s most celebrated concert venues in the late 1960s, showcasing everything from up-and-coming local bands to some of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll and the blues, including Led Zeppelin and Muddy Waters.

The Music Museum of New England and the Boston Historical Society planned to honor the legacy of the club Wednesday with the unveiling of a plaque at the corner of Berkeley and Appleton streets commemorating the 40th anniversary of the venue’s opening.

The Boston Tea Party opened at 53 Berkeley St. on Jan. 20, 1967, with a show by local band The Lost.

Led Zeppelin played the venue three consecutive nights during their first American tour in 1969, while Fleetwood Mac, The Yardbirds, Velvet Underground and Howlin’ Wolf were just some of the other acts that took the stage at the converted former Unitarian meeting house with a capacity of just 550.

“We had really nice acoustics and the bands loved playing there, and the atmosphere was just fantastic,” said Steve Nelson, general manager of the venue in 1967 and 1968.

“People would come there every weekend just because they knew they were going to see something good and something interesting.”

The club charged $3 admission and did not have a liquor license, which made it hard to compete with larger venues, Nelson said. The club moved to Lansdowne Street in July 1969 and closed for good about 15 months later, he said.

The original location is now condominiums with a convenience store on the ground floor.

AP-ES-01-24-07 1143EST

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