“Let the sun shine, let the sun shine, the sun shine in!”
Anyone of a certain age remembers this mantra from “Hair” one of the must-see musicals from the late ‘60s. In fact, I lied to my boss at Du-Par’s just so I could get out of working and see it with my twin sister Teresa.
Teresa tells me I was dressed up in a bathrobe for the event, and I’m sure she was correct with this wardrobe recollection. We used to wear a variety of creative outfits to NHHS, and to many concerts, all in the name of being hippies. The more wild the outfit, the better.
Many of my peers got to see the Beatles when they were young, but we didn’t have enough money for that, so we had to be content with seeing them perform on the Ed Sullivan Show. Remember Ed? His face was as sour as a green apple, yet he introduced some of the best groups on Sunday nights.
Teresa and I were eleven at the time we discovered the Beatles, and we even emulated them with our Beatle haircuts. Yeah, yeah, yeah! We’d play our air guitars and sing their songs incessantly, much to the chagrin of my mother who probably wished we preferred Lawrence Welk.
Besides the Beatles, some of the popular groups during our era included The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, The Turtles, and many others, who initially got their start at some of the smaller clubs around town. Most of them were on the Sunset Strip.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Strip became a haven for many music groups like Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Byrds The Seeds, Frank Zappa, at places like the Whisky a Go Go, Roxy, Pandora's Box and The London Fog.
On Cahuenga in Hollywood was Shelly’s Manhole, a tiny jazz club where I enjoyed the riffs of a very talented flautist named Yusef Lateef in the early ‘70s.
In Studio City, there was the Bla-Bla Café on Ventura Boulevard that was located near the Queen Mary (now Serra), when it was in operation. The Bla-Bla Café was originally located on Ventura Boulevard and Fruitland Drive, until it relocated near the corner of Whitsett in 1978. The cafe was owned and managed by brothers Sebastian and Eddie Massa, originally from New York City. They envisioned the Bla-Bla as "a training ground for young entertainers.” It survived until 1982.
Those early musical memories are still with me today, but when I was embroiled in corporate life, I was lucky enough to finally see the Rolling Stones and eventually Barbra Streisand in concert. Now that was a rush, but nothing can replace those early days, of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll.
What groups did you go to see, and where did you go to see them?