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The Troubadour was founded in 1954 by Michael and Sheila van Bloemen; making it one of London’s oldest independent music venues. Originally opening its doors as a coffee house: intended as a cultural meeting place for artists and mavericks alike, the Troubadour quickly became accredited as a West London institution; beckoning artists, poets, writers, musicians and advocates from all over the world, and was a cornerstone venue in the British folk revival. After an inspired visit to the Troubadour in it’s early years, a young Doug Weston would ret n to West Hollywood from his trip to England and open his own Troubadour in 1957 – which would see its own role of importance in the Laurel Canyon scene and subsequently the American pop-culture of the 60’s and 70’s. Like us, the Troubadour West Hollywood would go on to influence the rest of the world. It played a formidable role in the launching of the careers of: Jackson Brown, Neil Diamond, Elton John, the Eagles, the Byrds, Carole King, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and Tom Waits.
The Troubadour became host to London’s intellects and free-thinkers and in the late 50’s, it was an early meeting place for the Ban The Bomb organisation – later becoming the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). Gerald Holtom, a member of the movement, designed the world famous “Peace Symbol” for the campaign.
In the rising sun of a new decade: the 1960’s brought about great change in the London political and social scene. And as Chelsea’s King’s Road was leading in pop-culture and the Mod movement, British Jazz was also rising in popularity once again, and the Troubadour became a regular gig and hangout for London’s finest Jazz musicians; most notable of players being Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, who played in 1961 – where he was “found” by Alexis Andrew Nicholas Koerner and was quickly recruited to join Blues Incorporated. Along with Mr. Watts, other greats of the British Jazz scene such as: Lionel Grigson, Michael “Spike” Wells, Mick Pyne, Dave Gelly MBE, Daryl Runswick and David “Happy” Williams all took the stage throughout the 1960’s.
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