Every town has a legendary club that defined a generation.
Bill Griffin's Castaways Club was Greensboro's version and it left an unforgettable mark on the people of its era that evokes strong memories even today.
If you owned this membership card between 1964 and 1975 you were in an elite group. The Castaways Club was so popular people scheduled their weekends around the club's events.
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Danny Bean said, "It opened on Thanksgiving Day 1964. I was at the door at 8 o'clock."
Bean was there nearly every weekend.
"You had to be there by 8 o'clock most of the time or you wouldn't get in."
And with acts like The Showmen, The Temptations and Smokey Robinson it's no wonder. But how did a small club in Greensboro get acts like this in the 60's? That was the genius of owner Bill Griffin.
Alan Jeffries said, "He had them on Sunday nite cause that was a stopover for them and that's what he always told me and that's how he got em."
Jeffries also said, "Sunday afternoon or Sunday evening gig he could get them to stop over for a lot cheaper? For a lot cheaper."
Jeffries remembers it well hosting a live radio show on Sundays.
"Alan Jeffries WRQK! From the crock pot to the Kettle this is Home Cooking broadcasting live from The Castaways."
"The term Liquid Sunshine would come about. That's what was pitched if you come in the first hour you got free Liquid Sunshine. Because they couldn't say beer, no they couldn't," said Jeffries.
Bean said, "Everyone liked to come there because you could drink on Sundays and in other cities you couldn't."
The bands knew no matter how big or how small playing The Castaways was a must.
Big John Thompson said, "You had to play there you had to play there. And Griffin knew this because people came from all over, Burlington, High Point, Charlotte."
Big John Thompson played there with several bands including The Embers. He said the smaller more personal venue made this a magical place.
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"The stage wasn't but this high. You weren't 50 feet from the stage you were right at the stage and you could reach right there and Jackie Wilson"
Bean added, "You can't go nowhere else and dance to them, socialize with them and like me get up on stage and dance with them."
But in the mid 70's the music stopped. Disco was taking over and the Castaways closed.
"I had gone there since day one and that night it closed I was so depressed...I had to leave. I said I'm just going to have to go home, Bill," said Bean.
The club may be gone but the memories of Liquid Sunshine and once-in-a-lifetime arms length performances will never fade.
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