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Congrats! Whisky A Go-Go Celebrates 50 Years Of Rock ‘n’ Roll

on 14/01/14 at 11:19 am

Booze News

67105b7845025cdb565767882557b7b8January 11th was the 50th anniversary of the opening of The Whisky a go-go.

While Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek were making their way to the UCLA film school, on January 11, 1964, the Whisky a-Go-Go opened its doors and plunged into rock history. The Whisky, as it came to be known, very quickly rose in prominence on the Sunset Strip, and within the music industry, and was a model and influence for discotheques across the USA.

Founded by Elmer Valentine, Mario Maglieri, and Phil Tanzini – The Whisky had to spell its name without the ‘e’ in whiskey because Los Angeles city zoning laws didn’t allow clubs to be named after alcohol (The Whisky constantly had problems with the city and for a while had the name “The Whisk?”). The Whisky quickly gained a reputation for having high profile acts such as Johnny Rivers whose breakthrough hit was Secret Agent Man (the theme song for the TV series Secret Agent). In between Rivers’ sets, a DJ named Joanie Labine, the first DJ at The Whisky, played records in a booth that was suspended to the right of the stage. During one of Rivers’ sets, Labine was moved to dancing and the concept of the go-go dancer was born. Soon a ‘uniform’ of the go-go dancer also evolved: a girl wearing a short, fringed skirt and high, white boots. Go-go dancers began appearing in nightclubs and discotheques across the country. During his tenure at The Whisky (a one year contract), Rivers recorded the album, “Johnny Rivers Live at The Whisky a Go-Go,” and The Miracles’ song “Going to a Go-Go” soon gave the nightclub a national reputation.