Located on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood, CA is the famous Troubadour. Founder Doug Weston opened the club in 1957, hoping to entertain some of Hollywood's inhabitants with fresh new musical and comedy acts.
The Sixties and Seventies
In the '60s, musical shows by The Tambourines, The Byrds, Bob Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, Neil Young, and Tim Buckley all took the stage, some with their musical debuts. Richard Pryor and Steve Martin are among the comedy acts that were viewed.
In the '70s, Cheech and Chong were discovered, Elton John made his debut, and Neil Diamond recorded live at the Troubadour. Janis Joplin partied at the club the night before her death. Led Zeppelin took the stage and jammed with a three-hour long performance.
The Word Gets Out
In the '70s, the Troubadour took off in a way no one would have foreseen. Often, musicians would sign a record label almost immediately after a performance on the stage of the popular club. The eccentricities of owner Doug Weston had artists signing contracts so they would keep coming back to play shows after they made it big. The headlines would become bigger and bigger because of this unique agreement between the owner and those artists that did happen to make a name for themselves. Larger acts would be booked, and the word was out that the Troubadour was "the place" to be. More and more celebrities would start frequenting the club, and it would become packed with patrons hoping to catch a glimpse of musicians that have made it while watching new acts that might just be the next big hit.
At this time, Dan Tana's started to reap the benefits from the increasingly popular acts. The celebrities that were frequenting the club would stop in the Italian restaurant after the show was over to talk about the acts and to relax after the excitement of the night. The bar was busy with those who wanted to have a nightcap after the show. Once people visited, they would come back again after the next big show. The word got out not only about the Troubadour, but also that there was great food, cool drinks, and an atmosphere that could not be duplicated right down the street at Dan Tana's.
The Following Decades
The eighties brought a whole new type of music to the Troubadour with the rise of hair bands and new wave artists. Artists from Metallica to Duran Duran hit the stage. The nineties brought about grunge music and heavy metal with acts including Pearl Jam, Korn, and System of a Down. In 1999, owner Doug Weston passed away. Afterward, Johnny Cash played one of his last shows with his wife June Carter.
The next decade brought about an array of artists, from the Foo Fighters to Tom Jones to Rod Stewart. Elton John returned, this time to watch in the audience as the Strypes performed. Rolling Stones named the Troubadour the second best rock club in the United States in 2013 and Billboard named it one of the top five venues to play in the United States.
The top artists keep performing regularly today. Dan Tana's is still there as well, serving the same fine meals until after midnight. The bar is still busy with patrons who just enjoyed the show. The ambiance? It is still as if you stepped back more than forty years: unchanged, safe, and familiar. The Troubadour and Dan Tana's have now been working together for over fifty years, and time hasn't changed a thing.