Sunday, October 1, 2023

The Roxy turns 50: This is how the legendary Sunset Strip venue is celebrating

Fifty years ago, Neil Young and the Santa Monica Flyers took the stage at a new nightclub on the Sunset Strip and the Roxy Theater was born.

On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, 50 years later, Young returns to the West Hollywood Theater to celebrate an anniversary few music venues achieve.

In the half-century since, the club co-founded by Lou Adler and the late Elmer Valentine, and still owned by the now 89-year-old Adler along with his son Nic Adler, has held an unlikely place in pop culture history and history captured dreams of artists and fans alike.

The Roxy Theater Was Co-Founded By Music And Film Producer...

The Roxy Theater was co-founded by music and film producer Lou Adler and club owner Elmer Valentine, who also owned Whiskey A Go Go and Rainbow Bar & Grill. Adler, here second from left, who still owns the club with his son Nic Alder, also had a handful of investors, here with him in front of the club when it opened. From left to right are concert promoter Bill Graham, Adler, Chuck Landis, the owner of the Largo burlesque club that preceded the Roxy to its Sunset Strip location, Asylum Records founder and music manager Elliot Roberts, and music manager David Geffen . (Photo courtesy of the Roxy Theater and Lou Adler)

Exene Cervenka, Left, And John Doe From The Band

Exene Cervenka, left, and John Doe from the band

Maneskin Performs At The Roxy On Monday November 1St 2021...

Maneskin performs at the Roxy Theater in West Hollywood on Monday, November 1, 2021. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

John Lydon Of The Sex Pistols Performs With Closed Tickets...

John Lydon of the Sex Pistols performs to a sold-out crowd at the Roxy in West Hollywood, California on Thursday, October 25, 2007. The concert marked the legendary British punk rock band’s first appearance at a club in Southern California. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Billy Zoom From The Band X Performs At Sunset...

Billy Zoom from the band

Maneskin Performs At The Roxy On Monday November 1St 2021...

Maneskin performs at the Roxy Theater in West Hollywood on Monday, November 1, 2021. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

A Neon Sign Is Pictured Above The Roxy Theater On Monday,...

A neon sign is displayed above the Roxy Theater on Monday, May 11, 2020 in West Hollywood. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

A Photo Of The Roxy Theater Circa 1970. (Photo By...

A photo of the Roxy Theater circa 1970. (Photo by Robert Landau, courtesy of The Roxy)

Dogstar'S Keanu Reeves Performs On Stage At The Roxy Theater...

Keanu Reeves of Dogstar performs onstage at the Roxy Theater on July 18, 2023 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter, Getty Images for Dogstar)

Foo Fighters Gave A Nocap Live Concert On November 14Th...

Foo Fighters performed a live NoCap concert at the Roxy Theater in West Hollywood on November 14, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of NoCap)

Among Young’s six shows during the Roxy’s first three nights and late 1973, the Roxy featured multi-night performances by Cheech and Chong, Linda Ronstadt, Franco Zapa and Genesis.

And throughout the ’70s and ’80s, it continued to be Southern California’s premier small venue, particularly for newer artists who found themselves on the precipice between the unknown and the famous.

In 1975, the Roxy hosted major shows with Billy Joel, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Bruce Springsteen and Patricia Smith. A year later, Jimmy Buffett played at least three different multi-day shows and the Ramones made their California debut. (Several years later, the Ramones filmed their concert scenes for “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” at the Roxy.)

Many of these and others that came later were recorded and released as live albums, including Springsteen’s performances in 1975 and 1978, a Marley show in 1976, Zappa’s shows in 1973 and Young’s club opening.

Young’s album “Roxy: Tonight’s the Night Live” contains not only the first music ever played on the Roxy stage, but also a nod to the building’s former life as Largo, a chic striptease and burlesque club in the Young’s ironic jokes.

“The first topless girl we meet here gets one of these boots,” he says at the start, referring to the cowboy boots that, along with hubcaps and fake palm trees, adorned the stage that night. (At several points in the live album, he also notes that famous stripper Candy Barr performed in the same room.)

Lou Adler, a film and record producer, also used the venue from time to time for theater productions. “The Rocky Horror Show” had its American premiere on March 24, 1974 at the Roxy and ran for nine months. (The following year, Adler produced the film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”)

Not all subsequent years were as successful or innovative for Roxy. The Sunset Strip scene declined in the ’90s and early ’90s. But the name and reputation have never lost their appeal. Adele played in a 500-seat hall on her first US tour in 2008.

In the last decade, acts that have long since made it onto the stage, such as Foo Fighters and Arcade Fire, have occasionally booked small special shows there. As actor Keanu Reeves and his band Dogstar. After two decades, they decided to get back together. They gave their first show at the Roxy in July.

Yes, there’s a lot of history within the black-clad walls of the Roxy, and there are plenty of reasons and ways to celebrate its living legacy, with its 50th anniversary coming up this week.

A tribute to the Grammy Museum

A new exhibition titled “The Roxy: 50 Years on the Sunset Strip” opens September 18 at the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles and runs through early 2024.

The exhibition, which draws heavily on Lou Adler’s personal archives, includes photos of famous artists on the Roxy stage as well as photos of celebrities partying at On The Rox, the private club that Adler founded above the Roxy and features such famous people how Jack attracted Nicholson. , John Lennon, Keith Moon and Bernie Taupin.

On display are the white piano once played by stars like Elton John, Springsteen and Lennon, as well as artifacts from “The Rocky Horror Show,” and a short film about the Roxy will be shown.

For full details, visit

50th anniversary shows

Neil Young and Crazy Horse open a series of special 50th anniversary shows at the Roxy on Wednesday and Thursday, September 20th and 21st. Good luck trying to get one of the 1,000 or so tickets for it. The shows are sold-out fundraisers for The Bridge School and The Painted Turtle, organizations that help children with special needs and have long been supported by Young, Lou and Page Adler.

However, there are other programs in the Roxy 50 series that may be easier, or at least not so impossible, to access. They include:

September 23rd: wallow

September 24th: Stephen Marley revisits his late father Bob Marley’s 1976 album Live at the Roxy with an early and late show.

4th of October: Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul

12th of October: Metric, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of “Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?”

October 14th: MAE celebrates its 20th anniversary or “Destino Hermoso”.

October 18th: Rickie Lee Jones plays an early and a late show.

October 24th: Marty Stuart and his legendary superlatives

October 27th: STRFKR

28th of October: language nation

November 6th: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

30th of November: Francisco Dillon

For details about these programs and other 50th anniversary programs, visit

Sunset and vinyl market

The Roxy car park will be a record market on Sunday September 17th from 8am to 1pm. Vinyl vendors such as Record Safari, Deadly Was, Boogie Maru Sounds, AudioPhileUSA, Shattered Music, Galaxy Music, Str33t Records and more will be on hand.

If you would like to attend, the Roxy is located at 9009 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. And if you get hungry after all that record shopping, there are also food vendors, including the nearby Rainbow Bar & Grill and Holey Donuts.

The West Hollywood Library exhibit

The city of West Hollywood has its own exhibit about the legendary live music venue, with a primarily photographic exhibit titled “The Roxy: 50 and Still Rockin’.”

The exhibition, which opened earlier this month, was organized by the Roxy Theater and curated by Jason Emmons of the Grammy Museum.

It runs through May 2024 at the West Hollywood Library, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. For more information, visit

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