On Sunday, the Apollo celebrated its 80th anniversary. While the space has been dedicated to the performing arts since 1914, it was only when the 125th Street Apollo Theatre opened 20 years later that the venue shifted from whites-only burlesque to variety shows geared towards the African-American community in Harlem. With musical legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix, and Luther Vandross getting their start at the Apollo (and that’s just the tiniest sampling), it is impossible to list all of the important performances that have occurred at 253 W. 125th Street. But here is a sampling of some iconic Apollo performances that you can experience without leaving your computer.
Bill Bailey (1955)
Years before Michael Jackson was born, tap dancer Bill Bailey was the first person ever recorded doing the moonwalk, in the 1944 film Cabin In the Sky. You can see Pearl Bailey’s brother doing his signature “backslide” dance movie at the Apollo Theater here.