The Blue Angel, affectionately known as the Raz, is something of a Liverpool institution.

First opening as a jazz club in 1960, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan were among the legends to have walked through the doors during that decade.

The club later became a popular haunt with students and briefly changed its name to the Razzamataz in the 80s, before reverting back to the Blue Angel a short time later.

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But one man who knows the club more than most is Dave Smith, who has been resident DJ at the Raz for over 40 years.

From Don’t Stop Me Now to Sweet Caroline, Dave’s choice of crowd pleasers or as he calls them, ‘Raz classics’, have brought people pilling onto the dance floor week after week.

The 68-year-old, from Southport, recently announced his retirement and played his last set at the club on July 24 after the remaining coronavirus restrictions were lifted.

To mark his retirement we spoke to Dave about his memories of working at the Blue Angel over the years.

Dave shared his memories of working at the Raz over the last 40 years
(Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)

Dave told the ECHO: “A fella called Gilbert Hadley took over [the Raz] in 1980, I was working in the cabin at the time.

“He was a regular in the cabin and he asked me if I could work there. He offered me more money so I said yes.

“He decided we were going to target students – at that time there was only Liverpool University, and then as the years went by you had John Moores and Liverpool Hope.

“The old customers would be upstairs in Kirklands until midnight and make their way down towards us for the last couple of hours.”

Back then, Dave recalls that the Blue Angel only occupied the middle part of the building, while a bookshop and a furniture warehouse were based on either side.

The name of the Razzamataz only lasted around 12 months before Beatle City, a museum based on Seel Street at the time, asked the club if they could change their name back to the Blue Angel to attract tourists.

Dave has seen all of these changes and more over the years, but one thing which he says has always stayed the same has been the atmosphere.

“The main thing about the place has always been the atmosphere and playing songs to make people sing along and enjoy the night.

“To be honest, the reason I managed to work successfully to the age I am is because I never let personal taste come into it.

“I never ever play a song that everyone wouldn’t recognize, it’s not radio.

“Night clubs are for a shared experience, people go in and they don’t know each other and it can be busy but everyone feels the same feeling when the song comes on.

“It’s the whole point of it that buzz you get, that feeling, and if you listen you can hear people go ‘ohhhh’ and that’s just fantastic.

“I’m going to miss is immensely.”

Dave has become part of the furniture at the Raz over the last 40 years, and has even bumped into people who have recognized him on holiday in Australia.

After hearing the news of his retirement over one hundred people shared their memories on the Blue Angel’s Facebook page, with some describing it as “the end of an era.”

One wrote: “First saw you in 1989, loved going back over following decades knowing you would still be there. Great times, thank you. Enjoy your retirement, you deserve it. Top fella!”

Another said: “Absolute LEGEND Dave and I don’t say that lightly. You have given us countless hours of pleasure over the years- thankyou! A huge irreplaceable loss to Liverpool’s nightlife. Good luck in your retirement. Top man.”

A third said: “Thank you for nearly 20 years of memories. But mostly, thank you for Baywatch.”

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