The Whisky a Go Go's 55th Anniversary
The world famous Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip celebrates its 55th anniversary this year. And to celebrate this milestone, I had the pleasure of interviewing Philip Tanzini Jr., son of Philip Tanzini, Sr., who was one of the original owners of the Whisky along with Elmer Valentine, Shelly Davis, and attorney Theodore Flier. Tanzini shares some inside stories I had never heard before and I'm thrilled to share these personal stories with Vintage Los Angeles readers.
How did go-go dancing take off at the Whisky a Go-Go? It all happened by accident.
Jayne Mansfield at the Whisky a Go-Go
The world famous Whisky A Go-Go is considered the first rock ‘n’ roll venue on the Sunset Strip to take chances by booking new and sometimes notorious artists during the 1960s, they gave future superstars a stage to develop their signature sounds. Johnny Rivers was the first to play live music at the Whisky in 1964. Two years later, the Doors became the house band after Arthur Lee, front man of local L.A. band, LOVE (who were already headlining the joint) encouraged Elektra Records owner Jac Holzman to sign them. “Up-and-coming” artists like Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Janis Joplin, and The Byrds played there too, their names placed in large letters on the marquee at the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Clark.
Otis Redding live at the Whisky a Go Go
The Whisky a Go Go in 1964. Photo: Julian Wasser