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Standing in the crowd on any given night at LA's Troubadour, one has a fairly decent shot at witnessing music history. Since the place opened in 1957, yet-to-be-known cultural icons have done their thing inside the basement of an unassuming coffee shop. Here's a quick synopsis of the underground events that would shape American music.
Police arrested Lenny Bruce for obscenity. Bob Dylan strummed his still-acoustic guitar. The Byrds came together at an open mic night. Joni Mitchell made her LA debut. Richard Pryor recorded his first album.
Neil Diamond asked a young, unknown Brit named Elton John to take the stage. Cheech and Chong are discovered in the audience. Janis Joplin partied all night, and was later found dead in her hotel room from a heroine overdose. Carly Simon met her future husband, James Taylor.
Both Guns 'N Roses and Pearl Jam have their debut shows.
Cool bands on the rise continue to play, and rockers still meet and mingle here. But without time-induced nostalgia, noting that Franz Ferdinand and Coldplay have performed at Troubadour seems less exciting than witnessing an unknown Elton shock a stateside audience for the first time with huge sunglasses, platforms, and a rousing rendition of "Bennie and the Jets."