A VERY BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WHISKY A GO GO

 

8901 Sunset Blvd.

on the Strip in the Hills of Hollywood

(310) 652-4202

 

The Whisky A go go played an important role in many musical careers, especially for bands based in

Southern California. After a big bang opening of the club with Johnny Rivers, when The Byrds began

a run of gigs there the Sunset Strip music scene and the Flower Children in Hollywood had its birth.

 

The Doors were the house band for a while. Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention got their record

contract based on their show at the Whisky. Jimi Hendrix came by to jam when Sam & Dave headlined. 

Otis Redding recorded there during 1966, and years following saw groups like the Grateful Dead, Fleet-

wood Mac, Chicago, The Animals, Big Brother and the Holding Company and rock stars like Janis Joplin,

David Bowie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Miles and other Legends graced the stage.

 

Just hanging in the audience were folks like: Steve McQueen, Ann Margret, Sandra Dee, Rita Hayworth,

Tuesday Weld, Johnny Carson, Richard Chamberlain, Troy Donahue and on and on and on...

 

The stories and the bands that played there goes on and on through the history of American rock and

roll.  And the British Invasion also made the west coast with headlining performances at the Whisky A

Go Go by Led Zeppelin, The Who, Cream, The Kinks and others...then hear came the punk sound of

Blondie, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, X, The Runaways and others...

 

We think it is obvious and historically interesting the wide range of music that has played there over

the years...but along the "country" and "country rock" line of music with groups like the Byrds

the Buffalo Springfeild, Pure Prairie League, Arlo Guthrie, The Allman Brothers, Rita Coolidge, Lynard Skynard,

Ronnie Millsap and other acts down these country roads have played the famous club.

 

 

A SHORT LIST OF NAMES THAT GRACED THE STAGE OF

 THE MOST FAMOUS CLUB IN THE WORLD...

Pure Prairie League

Bob Seger

Steely Dan

Savoy Brown

Steppenwolf

Santana

Sly Stone

Robin Trower

the Temptations

Three Dog Night

Uriah Heep

Vinilla Fudge

the Ventures

Jefferson Airplane

Jan and Dean

Journey

Jerry lee Lewis

Janis Joplin

Doug Kershaw

King Crimson

The Kinks

Carol King

Patty Labelle

Led Zeppelin

Lynard Skynard

Lovin' Spoonful

Little Richard

Little Feat

Ronnie Milsap

Marshall Tucker

Buddy Miles

Mamas and the Papas

Ta Mahal

Dave Mason

Frank Zappa and the

        Mothers of Invention

Iggy Pop

Pacific Gaw & Electric

Procol Harem

Sir Douglas Quintet

Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show

Dr. John

Bo Diddley

Delaney and Bonnie

Jesse Ed Davis

Earth, Wind and Fire

Jose Feliciano

Fleetwood Mac

Four Tops

Fire Fall

Flying Burrito Brothers

Dobie Gray

Arlo Guthrie

Greateful Dead

Grand Funk Railroad

Guns n' Roses

Alex Harvey ("Delta Dawn")

Quick Silver Messenger Service

Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks

The Allman Brothers

Iron Butterfly

Incredible String Band

Johnny Winter

X (The Band)

Young Rascals

ZZ Top

Blood Swear and Tears

Blondie

Jeff Beck

Erick Burdon

Van Morrison

The Fifth Dimension

Black Sabbath

Badfinger

Blue Cheer

Paul Butterfield

Blue Oyster Cult

The Band

Chicago

Cream

Cheap Trick

Elvis Costello

Joe Cocker

Rita Coolidge

Alice Cooper

Commander Cody

Credence Clearwater

Country Joe and the Fish

The Doors

Steve Millier

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

New Riders of Purple Sage

Ozark Mountain Dare Devils

Herbie Hancock

Tom Petty

Billy Preston

Aerosmith

AC/DC

Animals

Elvin Bishop

Big Brothers and Holding Co.

B.B. King

the Byrds

Buffalo Springfield

Chuck Berry

Canned Heat

Black Oak Arkansas

 

 

 

 

 

At 8901 Sunset Blvd. The Whisky-A-Go-Go opened in 1964 on the site of an old bank building

that had been remodeled into a short-lived club called The Party.  Though billed as a "discotheque"

--meaning no bands, just records--The Whisky opened with a live band led by Johnny Rivers and a

short-skirted deejay spinning records between sets from a suspended cage at the right of the stage. 

When the girl danced during Rivers' set, the audience thought it was part of the act and the concept

 of "go-go" girls was born.  Rivers rode The Whisky-born "go-go" craze to national fame with

records recorded (partly) Live at the Whisky...In 1966 the Whisky was one of the centers of the

Sunset Strip riots.  It was hassled repeatedly by the city, which once ordered the club to change its

name, claiming "Whisky" was a bad influence (does anyone remember when it was The Whisk?)

 

from The L.A. MUSICAL HISTORY TOUR
by ART FEIN

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