40 Years Ago: LA’s Roxy Theatre Opened Its Doors

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Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

kearthevents Britt Bickel
Web Producer |
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On this day in 1973, famed rock club that sits right in all the action of West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, the Roxy Theatre (or simply known as The Roxy by frequent patrons) celebrates its 40th anniversary since opening its doors to the public.

The history of this music club is significant and enduring, having hosted countless of notable acts on stage over its 40-year span and continues to support the local music scene as much as ever.

The club opened on Sept. 23, 1973 by The Roxy’s original owners music producer Lou Adler and Elmer Valentine, along with original partners David Geffen, Elliot Roberts and Peter Asher.

The Roxy kicked off its opening week with multi-night performances by Neil Young and his then-band the Santa Monica Flyers. The Roxy’s Facebook page even shared a photo of the original tickets from that concert to celebrate its anniversary today.

The club kept the music flowing with heavy-hitting acts coming through weekly including Richie Havens, Cheech & Chong, Poco, Jackson Browne, B.B.King, Miles Davis and the Temptations.

The original lineup of Genesis with Peter Gabriel performed multiple nights in the intimate venue in December of 1973 with what loyal fans consider the group’s best live sets. Their show can even be heard in its entirety on YouTube:

Gabriel later returned to The Roxy for his first solo world tour, playing two shows a day on April 9-10, 1977, which were broadcast on local FM stations.

Because of The Roxy’s intimate setting and ideal acoustics, it’s not surprising that dozens of acts recorded live albums at the venue. Most notably, nine songs from Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s Live/1975-85 album were recorded at the Roxy including “Thunder Road,” “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” and “Backstreets.”

Van Morrison, Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, Bob Marley & The Wailers and Warren Zevon also recorded live albums during the early years of the venue.

Not just for music, The Roxy was host to numerous up-and-coming comedians in the past. Paul Reuben most famously debuted his classic character Pee-wee Herman on stage there in 1981, which also featured Saturday Night live great Phil Hartman.

Also, the cult classic musical The Rocky Horror Show debuted its live shows at The Roxy in 1974, before being made into the film version The Rocky Horror Picture Show the following year.

To this day, The Roxy remains the place to catch local shows or grab a drink in the heart of the Sunset Strip. Its long legacy is one to rival and will surely continue to make history for years to come.

More on iconic L.A. music venues:

Classic Artists Who Got Their Start At LA’s Historic Troubadour

Ten Legendary Groups Who Emerged On The Whisky A Go-Go Stage

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