The Cellar Door
The Cellar Door was a music club at 34th and M Street NW in Washington, D.C. from 1965 through 1981. It emerged from The Shadows, Georgetown, Washington, D.C. It was one of the premier music spots in Washington and was the genesis as well as a tryout for larger markets. Many artists cut their professional teeth performing at the Cellar Door, while audiences delighted in being within a few feet of the stage at the tiny venue. Many great names in 1960s and 1970s music played there. If one browses Billboard magazine, the Washington Post, and other sources of concert listings, it appears that the real question is "Who didn't play at the Cellar Door?" Some of the performances at The Cellar Door were recorded and achieved critical acclaim when they were released. The club was the venue for the renowned The Cellar Door Sessions, a live album with Miles Davis. Richie Havens recorded most of the tracks on "Richie Havens Live at the Cellar Door" there in 1970 and the The Seldom Scene, a Bethesda, MD based bluegrass band, recorded their signature live album "Seldom Scene Recorded Live At the Cellar Door" in December 1974. Danny Gatton's famous The Redneck Jazz Explosion album was also recorded at The Cellar Door.
Some of the names that played there during their careers were:
- Artful Dodger
- Jackson Browne
- Jimmy Buffett
- JJ Cale
- George Carlin
- Harry Chapin
- Larry Coryell
- The Country Gentlemen
- Jim Croce
- Miles Davis (whose concerts there were released on the critically acclaimed box set "The Cellar Door Sessions")
- John Denver (He wrote and sang his "Leaving on a Jet Plane" there prior to being released by Peter, Paul and Mary.)
- Fat City (later to become the Starland Vocal Band)
- Steve Goodman
- Great Speckled Bird (Ian and Sylvvia)
- Happy The Man
- Richie Havens
- Pete Kennedy
- B.B. King
- Carole King
- Donal Leace
- Gordon Lightfoot
- Roger McGuinn
- Charlie Mingus
- Chad Mitchell Trio
- Joni Mitchell
- Modern Jazz Quartet
- Anne Murray
- Gram Parsons performed with a backing band at the Cellar Door, while looking for a female vocalist for duets. His bandmates had visited a small neighboring bar where Emmylou Harris was performing cover songs, and their introduction was the real start of Harris' career, and a boost for Parsons' act.
- The Flying Burrito Brothers
- Carly Simon
- Pointer Sisters
- Tom Principato
- John Prine
- Richard Pryor 
- Bonnie Raitt in 1969.
- Linda Ronstadt (her band was made up of later members of The Eagles)
- Buddy Rich
- Chris Rush
- Tom Rush
- John Sebastian
- Tommy Smothers
- David Steinberg
- Taj Mahal
- James Taylor 
- Nighthawks Jimmy Thackery 
- George Thorogood 
- Muddy Waters
- Tom Waits
- Glenn Yarbrough
- Neil Young
- Brand X
Some music was written on site. Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert (as Fat City) opened for John Denver in December 1970. Late one night, Denver helped finish writing a song that Bill & Taffy had started. Bill, Taffy and John debuted "Take Me Home, Country Roads" on December 30, 1970. Photographs and story at Bill Danoff website 
In a January 31, 1981 Washington Post newspaper article, Richard Harrington  wrote that the Georgetown club which helped promote the careers such stars as Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, John Denver, Richard Pryor, Neil Young and Jackson Browne, was sold the previous day for an undisclosed sum to Paul Kurtz and Howard Bomstein from Washington, D.C. Ultimately, the club was closed down by the DC fire marshall after numerous warnings. It had been licensed for 163 seats, but was found to have more than 200 people SRO at times. Also, the books for liquor sales were allegedly being done improperly, so instead of making money, a fair amount of money was being lost, unbeknownst to the club owners. This would have been around 1977 or 1978. The building now houses the "Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory," a popular venue with Georgetown University students.
Cellar Door Productions 
The Cellar Door Nightclub was a partnership between Jack Boyle and Sam L'Hommedieu, Jr. The pair also owned two other popular Georgetown nightspots, The Crazy Horse and The Bayou as well as The Stardust, a music club in Waldorf, MD. They went on to found Cellar Door Productions which became the largest concert promoter from Baltimore to Florida, with offices in Washington DC, Ft. Lauderdale FL, Myrtle Beach, SC as well as an office in Detroit for a period of time. Bill Reid was the President of Cellar Door Productions from 1983 until his firing in 1997. The Cellar Door Cos. were sold to SFX Entertainment in 1999. Cellar Door developed the Nissan Pavilion concert venue, now called the Jiffy Lube Live, west of Washington, DC. The mailing address of Jiffy Lube Live (now owned by Live Nation) is 7800 Cellar Door Drive.
Boyle continued with SFX after it was purchased by Clear Channel Entertainment and is now retired. L'Hommedieu managed the Warner Theatre (Washington, D.C.) DC during the 1980s. He died in 1999, and is buried in Arlington Cemetery. Bill Reid now owns and operates two venues in Norfolk, Virginia called The NorVa, and another in Richmond, Virginia called the The National.
- Weintraub, B. (1976, November 20). Concert market booming in D.C. Billboard Magazine, 88(47)
- The MetropoList (2008, July 24). The Washington Post. Retrieved from .
- Brace, E. (1998, December 4). Nightwatch - Live. The Washington Post. Retrieved from .
- Masters, G. (2005, December 20). Miles Davis. Cellar Door Sessions 1970 Retrieved from 
- Harrington, R. (2003, November 21). Recordings deliver taped measure of area clubs. The Washington Post, p. T.34.
- Harrington, R. (1981, January 31) 2 From D.C. Buy The Cellar Door, Style Section. Washington Post, p. G4.
- Staff (1973, July 14) Who/When/Where (concert listings). Billboard Magazine, p. 17. Accessed 2010-01-11.
- Staff (1973, July 14) From the Music Capitals of the World. Billboard Magazine, p. 57. Accessed 2012-09-15.
- Pointer Sisters. (1973, June 30) Pointer Sisters tour dates. Billboard Magazine, p.36.
- Harrington, R. (1989, June 13) Bonnie Raitt, Dry and High; The Singer's Long Road to Sobriety and a Hit Album. Washington Post, p. c.01.
- Alpert, B. (1993, May 15). M Street Shuffle. Washington Post, p. A23
- Staff (1970, November 21). From the music capitals of the world. Billboard Magazine, 82(47), p. 27
- Bill Danoff website *
- SFX Entertainment Completes Acquisition of Cellar Door And ISI, Feb. 22, 1999 
- Trejos, N. (2007, August 4). The dream home that never was. Concert promoter to auction mansion he built then gave up on. The Washington Post. Retrieved from 
- Deane, D. (2005, March 26). An $18 Million Dream in the Making, The Washington Post, p F01 Retrieved from 
- Obituary of Samuel L'Hommedieu, Jr