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Remembering the Armadillo World Headquarters

The Armadillo World Headquarters hosted some of the most influential national and local performers of the last 50 years, including Bruce Springsteen, The Velvet Underground, Devo, The Ramones, Willie Nelson, Asleep at the Wheel and Kinky Friedman. It closed in 1980.
Steve Hopson via WikiMedia Creative Commons
An archive photo of the 'Dillo. Threadgills North Lamar location holds most of the memorabilia from the Armadillo World Headquarters. Owner Eddie Wilson is set to auction off a portion of the memorabilia sometime next year.

This story originally ran on Dec. 31, 2015.

Thirty-five years ago Thursday, the Armadillo World Headquarters was on its last leg.

After a decade on the scene, Eddie Wilson's legendary club had one last blowout to bookend its time at the forefront of Austin's live music scene, culminating in a New Year's Eve party on December 31, 1980.

The club hosted some of the most influential performers of the last fifty years, including Bruce Springsteen, Herbie Hancock, the Velvet Underground, Dr. John, Devo, Jose Feliciano, Bill Withers, Bette Midler, the Ramones and many others. The ‘Dillo was also a booster for many Texas artists – Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Asleep at the Wheel, Freddie King, Kinky Friedman, Doug Sahm and even a beardless ZZ Top all performed at the club regularly in its heyday.

Below, we’ve got a playlist of the Armadillo’s final show – featuring Asleep at the Wheel, Jerry Jeff Walker and Commander Cody – along with a set from the Talking Heads in 1979, a video of Armadillo regular Freddie King performing at the Travis County Jail after his April 1976 show, a performance from Frank Zappa in 1973 and a legendary 1972 Thanksgiving set from Grateful Dead members Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh, with Doug Sahm and Leon Russell.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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