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Whisky A Go-Go
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Whisky A Go-Go

The Whisky A Go-Go is a nightclub in West Hollywood, California, at 8901 Sunset Boulevard on the Sunset Strip.

It was opened January 11, 1963 at the site of an old bank building that had been remodeled into a short-lived club called the Party, by a former Chicago policeman, Elmer Valentine. Though it was billed as a discothèque, meaning only recordings with no bands, the Whisky A Go-Go opened with a live band led by Johnny Rivers and a short skirted DJ spinning records between sets from a suspended cage at the right of the stage. Thus, it has been called the first real American disco.

When the girl DJ danced during Rivers' set, the audience thought it was part of the act and the concept of Go-Go dancers in cages was born. Rivers rode the Whisky-born "go-go" craze to national fame with records recorded partly "live at the Whisky." The Miracles recorded the song Going to a Go-Go in 1966, which was covered in 1982 by The Rolling Stones, and Whisky A Go-Go franchises sprang up all over the country.

In 1966, the Whisky was one of the centers of the Sunset Strip police riots. The club was harassed repeatedly by the City of Los Angeles, which once ordered that the name be changed, claiming "whisky" was a bad influence. It was the "Whisk?" for a while.

Arguably, the rock and roll scene in Los Angeles was born when the Whisky started operation. From rock to punk to heavy metal, the club previewed many of the trends in music to come.

In the late 1970s, live music venues fell on hard times. The Whisky closed in 1982 and reopened in 1986 as a "four-wall," where promoters and bands could rent it.

The long list of performers who have played the club includes The Byrds, The Doors, Otis Redding, who recorded his album Live at the Whisky there in 1967, Cream, The Kinks, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Talking Heads, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin.

The Whisky A Go-Go is now primarily used by hard rock bands.

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