Elmer Valentine (June 16, 1923 – December 3, 2008) was the co-founder of three famous nightclubs on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California: the Whisky a Go Go, The Roxy Theatre and the Rainbow Bar & Grill.
Elmer Valentine was born in Chicago on June 16, 1923. After serving as an Army Air Forces mechanic stationed in England during World War II, he returned to Chicago and joined Chicago police force. He moved to Los Angeles in 1960.
In 1960 he moved to Los Angeles, where he became co-owner of P.J.'s, a successful West Hollywood restaurant-nightclub. He sold his interest in P.J.’s three years later and took a trip to Europe. While he was in Paris, he visited a discotheque called Le Whiskey a Go Go that was packed nightly with crowds of young dancers. Impressed by the club’s success, Valentine returned to Los Angeles and opened his own Whiskey a Go Go in January 1964 with three partners, Phil Tanzini, Shelly Davis, and attorney Theodore Flier. In 1965, he launched the Trip, a small, short-lived rock club on the Sunset Strip. In 1972, along with Lou Adler, Mario Maglieri and others started the Rainbow Bar & Grill on the Sunset Strip. In 1966, Valentine, Adler and others founded the Roxy Theatre.
Lou Adler bought into the Whisky in the late '70s. Valentine sold his interest in the Whisky a Go Go in the '90s but retained an ownership in the Rainbow Bar & Grill and the Roxy Theatre until his death.
During the 1960s and 1970s the Whisky was one of the most important rock clubs in Los Angeles, hosting acts such as The Byrds, the Doors, the Kinks, the Who, and Buffalo Springfield. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Whisky was known as a stepping stone for bands such as Guns N' Roses and Mötley Crüe. Both the Whisky a Go Go and The Roxy Theatre remain staples of the Sunset Boulevard club scene.
Valentine was apparently referred to on the Uncle Meat album by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. The album includes a spoken dialogue between Zappa and Pamela Zarubica (in character as the mythical Suzy Creamcheese), in which the latter says: "I remember Elmer telling me that you really had a lot of talent, but he didn't see how anyone could ever make it who insisted on saying 'fuck' onstage. And he used to drive by in his gold Cadillac and peer in the window. 'Cause he could never get over the amount of groupie status that you had and he didn't have, possibly because he's fifty years old and wretched."
- McLellan, Dennis (December 7, 2008), "Elmer Valentine, co-founder of Whisky a Go Go, dies at 85", Los Angeles Times: B11
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