January 17, 2011


After reconnecting with a lot of my friends who are coming to the TROUBADOUR FAMILY REUNION Monday night January 17, 2011 I wanted to know a more about the club and the man who owned it, Doug Weston.

In a time of civil unrest in America, Doug Weston wasn’t afraid to present controversial acts who were protesting the status quo. He gave the “political puppeteers” the finger when he booked Lenny Bruce, even though his license could have revoked.He also regularly presented anti-establishment performers that other clubs were reluctant to hire, including Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lord Buckley, and Phil Ochs.

The Hollywood Reporter said in his obituary, “Weston prided himself on the acts and audiences he attracted for more than four decades, from singer Linda Ronstadt to comedians such as the Smothers Brothers and Cheech & Chong. Elton John, beginning to make a name in England, played the Troubadour for six nights in August 1970, introduced by Neil Diamond. He came to consider the booking the best move of his career.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Troubadour was considered the most consistently important showcase of contemporary folk and folk-rock talent in the country. Appearances there could guarantee major record sales for new and emerging artists.

Over the years, the club’s acts were consistently impressive: the Byrds, Judy Collins, Bill Cosby, the Committee, Bo Diddley, Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Gordon Lightfoot, Roger Miller, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Mort Sahl, Kris Kristofferson and Nina Simone.”

I asked Artist/ Photographer “Lezlie Sokol”, a former waitress at the club and one of the organizers of the REUNION, if she knew Doug.

“I Got to know him in several different capacities, not only at the club, but also in his home.  He had great parties and dinners.  He was also known for having a huge Thanksgiving party every year for employees and friends who had no family in the area.”

“Doug loved the troubadour…and he loved the fact that this was a place for all types of artists to try out new material or to just hang out.  The club was like a refuge for so many.  Doug took chances that others wouldn’t with talent.  He was fearless in that sense.  He’d hire artists that were blacklisted or banned.  Like Lenny Bruce who was arrested at one point for just walking up on a stage.  A lot of people thought that the club succeeded in spite of Doug not because of him. That was a mistake.  A lot of folk took a lot for granted in those days, or attributed things to luck.  Not so, when you look at the names and number of artists who started out at the troubadour and became A list stars, well, there ain’t no luck in that”

l to r- John Lennon, Anne Murray, Harry Niilson, Alice Cooper, and Mickey Dolenz



  • The Troubadour opens.
  • Lenny Bruce is arrested on obscenity charges.


  • After a gig by resident band The Men, Bob Dylan comes onstage for an impromptu “folk-twist” jam session – attended only by Troubadour staff. Shortly afterward, Dylan makes pop music history by switching from folk to folk-rock.


  • The Byrds, who met at a Monday open mic, perform their classic take on Dylan’s “Tambourine Man” for the first time.


  • Buffalo Springfield make their live debut.


June 4
  • Joni Mitchell makes her Los Angeles debut.
  • Comedian Richard Pryor records his live debut album.
  • Gordon Lightfoot US debut


  • Poco, late from a Denver gig, arrive to find unknown comic Steve Martin doing their songs on banjo to a rapturous crowd.
  • Neil Young plays his debut solo show in LA.
  • James Taylor makes his solo debut.
September 3
  • Tim Buckley records Live at the Troubadour 1969.


  • Cheech and Chong are discovered by Lou Adler at a Monday Hoot Night.
  • The Eagles’ Don Henley and Glenn Frey meet in the front bar.
  • Elton John makes his U.S. debut, introduced by Neil Diamond.
  • Neil Diamond releases Gold, an album recorded live at the Troubadour.
  • Kris Kristofferson makes his Los Angeles debut opening for Linda Rondstadt.
October 3
  • Janis Joplin parties at the Troubadour and the next day is found dead at the Landmark Hotel from a heroin overdose.
November 24-29
  • James Taylor plays “You’ve got a Friend” for the first time. He heard his piano player (as well as opening act) , Carole King, play it during during soundcheck and they decided to give it a try.


  • Lori Lieberman writes the song “Killing Me Softly with His Song” inspired by a performance by Don McLean at the Troubadour.
  • Waylon Jennings performs in the cult classic film Cisco Pike.
  • Tom Waits is discovered by rock manager Herb Cohen during an amateur night.
April 6
  • Carly Simon, opens for Cat Stevens.


  • Billy Joel makes his LA debut as the opening act for Ballin’ Jack
May 16-21
  • Randy Newman returns to the Troubadour for a six night run to perform his masterpiece album “Sail Away”.


  • Van Morrison records his live record “It’s Too Late to Stop Now…”
  • The Bryds reunite and launch tour with a Troubadour show.
  • Pointer Sisters make their debut performance.


January 30
  • Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band closed the hyped Columbia Records showcase week with a 90 minute set…that starts at 2 in the morning!
March 12
  • John Lennon (wearing a Kotex on his head) and Harry Nilsson are escorted out of the club for heckling the Smothers Brothers.
August 25
  • Elton John plays benefit show to raise money for UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute.
  • On the last night of a triumphant week of Average White Band shows, drummer Robbie McIntosh dies of a drug overdose.

DON’T FORGET….Tonight JANUARY 17, 2011 is the TROUBADOUR FAMILY REUNION! You might want to go, but you’re not going to get in unless you make reservations! For more info

To Reach “Lezlie Sokol”




  1. The Donny Hathaway Live album from the Troubadour/Bitter End is one of my all time favorite albums.

    Also, my son played his first gig at the Troubadour.

  2. As May Pang has noted, the Smothers Brothers heckling incident and the Kotex incident were two separate occurrences.

  3. david plenn Says:

    As far as Bruce Springsteen playing at the Troubadour in ’74, closing Columbia Records week with a set that started at 2am ….totally false. I saw Bruce at the Troub (w/ david sancious on piano) and my memory was that it was a Tuesday (maybe Wednesday) at 9 or 10. I’m sure it was one of the first days of Columbia Records week and it was at a normal hour (I wouldn’t have stayed until 2am for someone who I’d never heard). My friend, Jerry Riopelle, was dating Naomi, who was a Troub waitress. Naomi called him and said, “C’mon down tonight. There’s some guy who’s supposed to be the next Dylan.” We were ready to hate him, but we were sucker-punched into submission after the first half hour. I DO remember him playing a guitar lick that brought me out of my seat (Bruce was the only guitar player) and the set going long. It killed us both. And we really didn’t want to like it. I refuse to see him play again, after that. It will never be that good.

  4. david plenn Says:

    Side note: the aforementioned Naomi is the one who told John Lennon, when he asked her if she knew who he was, “Yeah, you’re some asshole with a kotex on his forehead.” Which he was.

  5. Tim Devine Says:

    As far as that Springsteen show, yes, it was during COlumbia Records week in L.A. but Bruce was not scheduled to play. I was at this show. It was opened by Cecelio & Kapono, followed by David Bromberg. Roger McGuinn and Thunderbyrd were supposed to play when Doug Weston came on the mic and announced that McGuinn was snowbound in Prescott Arizona (yes, it snows there) and a new act from New Jersey would be coming onstage shortly. Much of the crowd made their way to the exit door but Springsteen and band (pre E-Street band) took the stage and played their usual workout set (Dr. Zoom style). Bruce wore a while undershirt and big wrap around sunglasses. I still have a photo I took that night with my Kodak Instamatic camera.

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