The GoGo's play the Stardust Ballroom on October 31, 1979
Orrin Tucker's Stardust Ballroom
5612 Sunset Boulevard
The Stardust Ballroom was located 5612 Sunset Boulevard - just east of Western Avenue. It operated as a ballroom for about 9 years (1975 - 1984).
Orrin Tucker was an American Bandleader. Born in 1911 in St. Louis, Mo., he had a hit in 1939 with the song, Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh! sung by vocalist Wee Bonnie Baker.
During the Big Band era, Tucker had one of the hottest bands in Chicago. He went on to played at many hotels and ballrooms all over America.
After a stint in WW2, he settled in Los Angeles and continued to play his orchestra, frequently at Myron's Ballroom in downtown. In 1955 he had his own weekly TV show broadcasted from the Hollywood Palladium.
In December 1975, Orrin Tucker converted an old Hollywood roller skating rink into a nightclub where guest could dance to big band music.
He called the ballroom Stardust after the 1974 TV movie Queen of the Stardust Ballroom which he appeared in.
The Stardust Ballroom in Hollywood opened in December of 1975.
In 1975 - 1978 there was a huge revival of social dancing all over America. Of course, the big interest with young people was disco dancing. Disco dance spots where sprouting up everywhere. However, there were few places for ballroom dancing.
Popular L.A. ballroom spots in the '70's included:
- Golden West Ballroom in Norwalk
- Balboa Pavilion
- Myron's Ballroom downtown L.A.
- Kelbo's Hawaiian Restaurant Club Coco Bowl in West L.A.
The Stardust Ballroom had one of the biggest dance floor in California. It could hold about 1,700 dancers. Orrin Tucker would feature his 9 piece orchestra here several nights a week. For the next seven years the Stardust Ballroom was the place to fox trot, samba, tango, waltz and Cha Cha Cha to the big band sound.
Ballroom dancing catered to mostly older people. Hollywood, at this time, had a large senior population. Ballroom dancing attracted dancers of the '30's and '40's wanting to dance to music of the '30's and '40's. Dancing was the life for many of these people. Tucker felt that without dancing, these people would not know what to do or where to go.
However, dancing alone could not financially keep the ballroom afloat. By the end of 1979, the Stardust offered punk concerts, ballroom dancing, disco dancing, women boxing, and roller skating nights.
The Stardust was not a fancy showroom like previous ballrooms had been. The floor was all scuffed up with roller skate marks, there was a old neon bowling sign still hanging on the wall.
In mid 1978, Orrin Tucker made the Stardust Ballroom available for New Wave/ punk music concerts. The first such concert here was called Summer Party, which featured the Screamers, the Weirdos and Crime.
In September 1979 Avalon Attractions took over booking punk shows at the Stardust Ballroom.
Unfortunately, the stage was move to one end of the long, narrow room, which made in almost impossible for anyone to see the band except those in the front line.
As a music venue, the Stardust was claustrophobic. There was no incline to the floor and no room on the sides for the audience to fan out. The stage was too low to see the band. The ceiling was low. People would stand on chairs in an effort to see. The sound system inadequate to reach the back half of the room.
Some of the bands that played the Stardust include:
- September 3, 1979 Weirdo's, DOA. the Dils, the Alleycats, and X
- September 24th 1979 -the Talking Heads
- November 30, 1979 Iggy Pop
- December 12, 1979 The Buzzcocks, Squeeze and the Alleycats
- February 11, 1981 - Black Flag, Fear, Circle Jerks, China White
- April 15, 1981 - the Adolescents, 45 Grave, tsol, Social Distortion
- April 22, 1981 - Fear, Agent Orange, the Chefs
Stardust goes down FightingIn December 1979, the Stardust Ballroom hosted amateur boxing night. It continued as hosting boxing matches until 1981.