Club Imperial has been closed for years -- and faces a request for demolition, now pending at the city's Historic Preservation Board. But back in the day, it was the place to be in St. Louis. George Edick's club at West Florissant and Goodfellow helped launch Ike and Tina -- and also may have unwittingly help to integrate St. Louis' music scene.
As Ike Turner recalled to the RFT in 2001, "St. Louis was kind of prejudiced then, man. But kids, they didn't care nothing about race. They were just into music. At that time, George Edick's didn't have blacks there, and over in East St. Louis at Club Manhattan, they didn't have whites. So what I started doing, man, was, I stopped playing any black club that wouldn't allow whites and any white club that wouldn't allow blacks. The dollars don't have no color, so the club owners started letting everybody get in there."
Check out these amazing photos of Club Imperial during its heyday. All photos courtesy of the Metro St. Louis Live Music Historical Society via imperialswing.com and Greg Edick. Used with permission. For more info about the building's precarious status today, see our January 19 story.