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DOUG WESTON, OWNER OF FAMED TROUBADOUR, DIES AT HOSPITAL.

Byline: Sharline Chiang Daily News Staff Writer

Doug Weston, owner of the world-famous Troubadour rock club in West Hollywood since 1957, died Sunday morning, friends and associates said.

Weston died at a Los Angeles hospital, where he had been taken with pneumonia, friends said.

``He was one of a kind. I don't know of anyone else who has had the impact he has had here in Los Angeles, anyone who was connected to the success of so many artists,'' said Lance Hubp, general manager of the Troubadour. ``About 60 percent of the people we know as stars today grew up in the Troubadour. His batting average with artists was phenomenal.''

The Troubadour was one of the top clubs in the Los Angeles music scene in the '60s and early '70s, helping to launch the careers of Elton John, Linda Ronstadt and Bette Midler.

John gave his first American concert at the Troubadour, a performance that would help shoot him quickly to the top of the rock scene and into music history.

Other performers and regulars who frequented the cozy, dark club on Santa Monica Boulevard were Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Randy Newman and Neil Diamond.

``Weston made his club the unofficial capital of Southern Californian folk rock in the 1970s,'' said veteran Daily News music critic Fred Shuster.

``The bar itself was as famous and sometimes even more famous than the stage,'' Shuster said. ``It was at the bar where Glenn Frey of the Eagles and Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell and members of the Byrds would hang out, meet each other, along with record label industry people and talent scouts.''

In a 1992 interview with Shuster, Weston offered a simple answer for his success over four decades.

``The music at my club changed as the times changed,'' Weston said. ``We started as a jazz club on weekends, moved to folk and have booked different kinds of music according to what works ever since.''

Gene Vier, a West Hollywood writer, met Weston while playing tennis in 1969 and remained close friends ever since.

``One of the reasons that Doug's club was so successful is . . . I think it was taste,'' Vier said. ``He actually had a sense of who was good.''

Friends could not pinpoint Weston's exact age, but he was believed to be around 73.

Weston first opened the Troubadour as a small, folk music coffeehouse on La Cienega Boulevard in 1957, before moving it to the larger location on Santa Monica Boulevard in 1961.

He was known for the loyalty contracts he made his up-and-comers sign. The agreements stipulated if and when the performers hit the big time they had to return to the Troubadour for a few more gigs.

Many performers later paid to opt out of the deal.

In the 1980s the club fell out of favor for almost an entire decade when it began favoring heavy metal acts. For the most part, it turned into a regular stomping ground for the likes of Guns N' Roses and other Hollywood hard rockers, and was looked upon as a tourist hot spot.

But in the 1990s the club recaptured industry buzz as it began offering a more eclectic lineup. Once again the hip hangout, it drew such acts as the American Music Club, Shawn Colvin and the Breeders, among others. Special shows were offered up by arena headliners like Kiss, the Black Crowes and Anthrax.

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PHOTO Doug Weston opened the Troubadour in 1957. The West Hollywood club has played a key role in the Los Angeles music scene ever since.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Obituary
Date:Feb 15, 1999
Words:595
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