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What Clubs and Concerts Did You Go To?

How about Hair, The Beatles and The Beach Boys?

“Let the sun shine, let the sun shine, the sun shine in!”

Anyone of a certain age remembers this mantra from “Hair” one of the must-see musicals from the late ‘60s.  In fact, I lied to my boss at Du-Par’s just so I could get out of working and see it with my twin sister Teresa.

Teresa tells me I was dressed up in a bathrobe for the event, and I’m sure she was correct with this wardrobe recollection. We used to wear a variety of creative outfits to NHHS, and to many concerts, all in the name of being hippies. The more wild the outfit, the better.

Many of my peers got to see the Beatles when they were young, but we didn’t have enough money for that, so we had to be content with seeing them perform on the Ed Sullivan Show. Remember Ed? His face was as sour as a green apple, yet he introduced some of the best groups on Sunday nights.

Teresa and I were eleven at the time we discovered the Beatles, and we even emulated them with our Beatle haircuts. Yeah, yeah, yeah! We’d play our air guitars and sing their songs incessantly, much to the chagrin of my mother who probably wished we preferred Lawrence Welk.

Besides the Beatles, some of the popular groups during our era included The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, The Turtles, and many others, who initially got their start at some of the smaller clubs around town. Most of them were on the Sunset Strip.

In the 1960s and 1970s the Strip became a haven for many music groups like Led ZeppelinThe Doors, The Byrds The SeedsFrank Zappa, at places like the Whisky a Go GoRoxyPandora's Box and The London Fog.

On Cahuenga in Hollywood was Shelly’s Manhole, a tiny jazz club where I enjoyed the riffs of a very talented flautist named Yusef Lateef in the early ‘70s.

In Studio City, there was the Bla-Bla Café on Ventura Boulevard that was located near the Queen Mary (now Serra), when it was in operation. The Bla-Bla Café was originally located on Ventura Boulevard and Fruitland Drive, until it relocated near the corner of Whitsett in 1978. The cafe was owned and managed by brothers Sebastian and Eddie Massa, originally from New York City. They envisioned the Bla-Bla as "a training ground for young entertainers.”  It survived until 1982.

Those early musical memories are still with me today, but when I was embroiled in corporate life, I was lucky enough to finally see the Rolling Stones and eventually Barbra Streisand in concert. Now that was a rush, but nothing can replace those early days, of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll.

What groups did you go to see, and where did you go to see them?

Barbara Krause December 04, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Aaaah memories...I had not thought in eons about the time my uncle bought tickets for my favorite cousin for a Beatles Chicago concert and she included me with her friends. Oh what a night. Saw Hair in London several years later but right now it seems like yesterday. I wanted to move to California even then because everything from the Beach Boys on seemed so cool.
Mary McGrath December 04, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Thanks Barbara. Hope you finally made it to California, and enjoyed our "Good Vibrations."
Art Schaak December 04, 2012 at 05:20 PM
We used to go to the Troubadour on Santa Monica just east of Doheny, which is still open. Lots of great memories from there. And, of course, the Ash Grove. Saw some good shows at the old Palomino on Lankershim. Saw Doc Watson once at Hags Place, which was supposed to have Merle Haggard somehow involved and has been a Latin live music hall for many years (Lankershim and Victory). Oh, and McCabes, which still hosts a vibrant music scene every weekend, as does Boulevard Music in Culver City. Great clubs and great music!!!
Betsy Cutter December 04, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I tried to get in to the Whisky to see Johnny Rivers when he first lit up the Strip. I wasn't quite old enough, and they were pretty stringent about who got in the door. My sister had a freebie to the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl; she got sick so I got to go. The seats were waaaay in the back, but we could still see and hear. another positive - we were high enough up that we weren't deafened by the screaming girls.
Betsy Cutter December 04, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Merle lives here. We see him once in awhile at Waffle House.
teresa mcgrath December 04, 2012 at 09:40 PM
nice mary...yes we wore the bathrobes to hair, and who knows what was underneath! also, lynn took us to see the beatles at dodger stadium in '65 or so....we had nosebleed seats, and couldn't hear them amidst the screams, but it was so exciting...lynn wanted to treat us as our family was in an upheaval....very sweet of her to do so...yes, the bla bla, troubadour, shelley's manhole, and other venues...saw joni mitchell a few times, 3 dog night at nhhs, maria muldaur, traffic, blind faith, miles davis, al jarreau, oscar peterson, blondie, ub40 several times, crosby, stills, and nash, david bowie a couple of times, prince, tina turner, and frank zappa(private rehersal with a friend), amongst others...the greek theater was always a plus...would have loved to seen many, many more groups...
John J. Nazarian December 04, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Paradise Disco, Sylvester in the Brass Rail........the 70's was not a bad time! John
Mary McGrath December 04, 2012 at 11:14 PM
You guys are amazing! It was so much fun attending all these venues...What a great time to grow up! I don't remember going to the Beatles Teresa...Maybe I've consumed too much wine over the years.
Mike Szymanski December 05, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Did anyone locally attend the club where the Beatles played in Studio City??? I'd love to hear about that! It's the place that is still standing near Tujunga on Ventura. I never knew anyone who was there on that momentous occasion when they first came to the U.S.
Mary McGrath December 05, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Hard Rock Cafe when I was in my 40's, a variety of comedy clubs as well, and of course many smaller clubs when I was in college. I actually prefer smaller venues now, where you can hear...We saw Michael Buble and Jane Moneheit at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood about 12 years ago....both of these jazz artists were in top form, and it was nice seeing them there before they started packing larger venues.
teresa mcgrath December 05, 2012 at 02:41 PM
saw the kinks too in the '70's....Mike Szymanski, what building was/is that? i don't have all the intersections memorized like i used to! that's incredible...maybe betsy, arthur, or jack know....hahaha... mary, just ask lynn, she'll fill you in...
teresa mcgrath December 05, 2012 at 02:53 PM
more...u2 too!
Art Schaak December 07, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Place near Tujunga on Ventura? Do you mean the Magic Mushroom, also run under the name Cinnamon Cinder? I heard a rumor about the Beatles gig, but have never been able to find any information other than the rumor. (And the fact that by the time the Beatles were in Los Angeles, they were much too big to play a club in Studio City.) The Brass Rail was one of a number of little clubs in the Valley that nourished developing musics before the bands made it over the hill in Hollywood. Acts like Delaney and Bonnie, Leon Russell and Gram Parsons/Flying Burrito Brothers come to mind.
Art Schaak December 07, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Gotta agree about smaller venues. I've seen more shows at McCabe's in the last ten years than anywhere else!
Art Schaak December 07, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I remember the Three Dog Night show at North Hollywood, but I'm confused. Were there two acts? That would be unusual for a high school gig. But I have a stronger memory of the Standells than 3 Dog Night.
Betsy Cutter December 07, 2012 at 06:02 PM
I believe it was the Cinnamon Cinder.

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