The Troubadour is a nightclub located in West Hollywood, California, United States, at 9081 Santa Monica Boulevard just east of Doheny Drive and the border of Beverly Hills. It was opened in 1957 by Doug Weston as a coffee house on La Cienega Boulevard, then moved to its current location shortly after opening and has remained open continuously since. It was a major center for folk music in the 1960s, and subsequently for singer-songwriters and rock.
The Troubadour played an important role in the careers of Elton John, Guns N' Roses, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, the Eagles, The Byrds, Love, Joni Mitchell, Hoyt Axton, Carole King, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Jackson Browne, Van Morrison, Buffalo Springfield, Kelly Clarkson and other prominent and successful performers, who played performances there establishing their future fame. In October 1962, comedian Lenny Bruce was arrested on obscenity charges for using the word "schmuck" on stage; one of the arresting officers was Sherman Block, who would later become Los Angeles County Sheriff. On August 25, 1970, Neil Diamond (who had just recorded his first live album at the Troubadour) introduced Elton John, who performed his first show in the United States at the Troubadour. In 1974, John Lennon and his friend Harry Nilsson were ejected from the club for drunkenly heckling the Smothers Brothers. Randy Newman started out at the club and comics Cheech & Chong and Steve Martin were discovered there. In 1975, Elton John returned to do a series of special anniversary concerts. In November 2007, James Taylor and Carole King played a series of concerts commemorating the nightclub's 50th anniversary and reuniting the two from their 1970 performance.
Other alumni include The New Christy Minstrels, Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, Don McLean, Carly Simon, George Carlin, Michael Nesmith, Rickie Lee Jones, Paramore, The Tragically Hip, Sloan, Lenny Bruce, Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, The Homeless Drifters, Bette Midler, Leo Kottke, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Warren Zevon the Pointer Sisters, Liza Minnelli, Half Way Home, Sheryl Crow, Natalie Maines, The Everly Brothers, Karla Bonoff, MAGIC GIANT, Al Stewart, Kyle Vincent, Waylon Jennings, Tom Waits, Pavement, The Knack, Rise Against, Leonard Cohen, Tommy Cody, Isbelle Razors, Roberta Flack, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Paul Sykes, Donny Hathaway, Arlo Guthrie, The Dollyrots, Darren Criss, The Spats, Nick Jonas, Weezer, Ray Campi and his Rockabilly Rebels, Neil Diamond, the Rising Sons, Republic of Loose, Bastille, and more recently Harry Styles.
The Troubadour featured new wave and punk in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and became virtually synonymous with heavy metal and glam bands like Mötley Crüe, Candy, L.A. Guns, Guns N' Roses, Poison, Warrant and W.A.S.P. in the 1980s. Guns N' Roses played their first show at the Troubadour, and were also discovered by a David Geffen A&R representative at the club. During the glam and metal years Gina Barsamian was the primary booking agent for the club. There is a variety of styles of music played at the Troubadour to the present day and it continues to be one of Hollywood's favorite and most respected places to see live music.
In 2011, a documentary about the club called Troubadours: Carole King / James Taylor & The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter was released.
Today the venue is well known for presenting emerging UK artists (Radiohead, Coldplay, Bastille, Franz Ferdinand, The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys, Lawson), punk/hardcore acts, such bands as Billy Talent, Papa Roach, Bad Religion and Rise Against, the latter filming five nights in a row for a DVD, Generation Lost. It is also still a popular venue to showcase singer-songwriters: Ray LaMontagne, Joanna Newsom, Fiona Apple, Kina Grannis. On April 1, 2016, it saw the first show of Guns N' Roses since Slash and Duff McKagan had rejoined the band. Busted's first show as a reformed band in America was performed at the Troubadour in June 2017. The first concert of Grace VanderWaal's first national tour was held at the Troubadour on November 5, 2017. Stone Temple Pilots' first live performance with their newest singer Jeff Gutt was held in November 2017.