Wall of Fame Article
Musical memories fill Wall of Fame at Grant’s Lounge
The Georgia Music Hall of Fame may not be open in time for the Olympics, but the Grant’s Lounge Wall of Fame is up and ready for visitors, both domestic and international.
The Wall of Fame is tastefully advertised by a plaque mounted outside the door of Grant’s Lounge, located at 576 Poplar St. It’s been up since February, the 25th birthday of the venerable nightclub.
Owner Edward Grant made the display, covering about 40 feet of wall with promotional photos, snapshots, press clippings and other memorabilia. Some of the clippings are about the two movies filmed in Grant’s: a BBC feature on Little Richard and “Bubba’s Tavern”, starring Burgess Meredith.
“I’ve been saving that junk for a long time, and it finally came in handy”, Grant said. Fittingly, he’s also adorned the wall with old vinyl records.
These days Grant’s is a relatively quiet place, considered the “old people’s bar” on Poplar Street. DJ Long John plays diisco and customers amuse themselves playing pool and the lottery.
Remember when the Fast Track Lounge was creating such a fuss over violence and underage drinking down the street? Grant’s avoids such trouble by strict carding. No one under 21 is admitted. At night employees at the door check customers for weapons with a metal detector.
There’s not much live music at Grant’s anymore. In the early ’70s, however, the place was a focus of Macon’s world-famous Southern rock scene.
It worked like this: Everybody with long hair and a guitar wanted to be signed to Phil Walden’s Capricorn Records, home of the Allman Brothers Band.
Walden wanted to hear these bands before he decided to sign them or not, so he arranged for them to play at Grant’s, one of the few rock clubs in Macon at the time. Grant didn’t have to pay for the bands. They played just for the chance to be heard in Macon.
The Allman Brothers didn’t need a record deal, but they would occasionally play in the tiny bar for kicks. The Brothers would never announce their appearances, but sometime word would get out and by evening a line would form down the street.
Here are some of the other famous acts who played at Grant’s and are represented on the Wall of Fame: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Wet Willie (picture on left), The Marshall Tucker Band, Elvin Bishop, The Outlaws, Dr. John and The Dixie Dregs.
Here are some of the not-so-famous acts on the Wall of Fame: Quintessence, Underground Railroad, Cowboy, Bonnie Bramlett, Tall Dogs, The Planets, Crawdad, Sowbelly, Fat Chance Band, White Witch, Dennis Wheeler, Goose Creek Symphony, Ozo, Ocmulgee String Band, Captain Beyond, Rasputin Stash and The Almost Brothers Band (they were the roadies of the Allman Brothers Band).
Veterans of the Capricorn era will get a kick out of seeing old friends on the Wall of Fame. Even those who weren’t around back then will get a kick out of the ’70s fashions – unshorn locks, beards, open collars and bell bottoms. (Picture on right: Gregg Allman, Les Dudek, Gene, and Wet Willie’s Rick Hirsch)
Those days are gone. Grant’s business still does OK, though. He still doesn’t have to pay for bands.
“Disco is the greatest thing that ever happened to a club owner”, he said. “You only have to pay one guy to play the records”.
Grant can be found at his club most nights, but he also has time to play golf four times a week and ride his two Honda Gold Wing motorcycles. And every once in a while he likes to look at the Wall of Fame and remember.
“Macon at one time, I thought, was going to be like Nashville as far as rock music was concerned”, he said. “Musicians came here from all over. Some came from California”.