Elton John: 50th Anniversary of Troubadour Gig Today 8/25; Special Gold Vinyl Reissue of Self-Titled Album Due in October (Pre-Order)

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Rock Cellar Magazine

It was 50 years ago today — on Aug. 25, 1970 — that a scrappy young musician named Elton John took the stage at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, Calif. for what would turn out to be a career-launching performance. 2020 is also the 50th anniversary of his acclaimed 1970 self-titled album, which will receive a special vinyl reissue in October.

(Click here to pre-order the limited-edition gold Elton John vinyl from our Rock Cellar Store, while supplies last).

The intimate confines of the Troubadour (a 300-capacity venue at the time) made this a truly special show for all in attendance … and in attendance that night were Quincy Jones, Peggy Lipton, Linda Ronstandt, Brian Wilson and Mike Love of the Beach Boys, Van Dyke Parks, Don Henley, Randy Newman, David Crosby, Leon Russell, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, to name a few.

A huge retrospective look back at the Troubadour show is up on Elton’s official site to mark the occasion.

The Troubadour also celebrated:

This landmark moment in the career of Elton John was recreated in the acclaimed 2019 biopic Rocketman, to great effect:

Also celebrating its 50th anniversary is the self-titled 1970 album Elton John. Technically his second album (Empty Sky was released in the U.K. a year before but wouldn’t turn up in the United States until 1975), it’s widely considered his “debut album,” and a special reissue is on tap to celebrate its anniversary.

In addition to a limited-edition Record Store Day vinyl edition being released on Aug. 29, the album will also be made available as a limited-edition gatefold gold 180-gram vinyl, which is set to be released on Oct. 30. Click here to pre-order it now from our Rock Cellar Store.

Sir Elton recently :

That was half a century ago. Sometimes it seems like a different world. Small clubs such as the Troubadour are struggling, talking about having to close permanently because of Covid-19. That’s a tragedy. Those places, venues where you could touch the audience, you could smell the audience, are where I learned my craft, and if they go, where are artists going to play? But sometimes it seems like nothing has changed. I still get that surge of adrenaline before shows and in the studio. I still play gigs where I know I have to step up, where I absolutely have to deliver, the same way I felt before the Troubadour. Madison Square Gardens is like that. It was the first big step on a journey that’s still going on today.

Speaking of the Troubadour, the historic venue is one of the many in the #SaveOurStages campaign concerned about its long-term existence. Ravaged by the effects of the pandemic, it is part of the National Independent Venues Association, or NIVA. Click here to chip in and help the Troubadour by buying some merch. 


  • martyh says:

    I wasn’t at Elton John’s Troubadour appearance on opening night (a week night, Tuesday, I believe), but I did make it to the Friday evening show! In those days, you could purchase one entrance to the Troubadour and stay for all three shows; the only requirement was to purchase a drink during each show. I stayed for all three shows! By 1:00 in the morning, for the third show, there were probably only about a dozen people remaining in the audience. My date and I moved up to a table right in front of the stage; we were so close that I could reach up and touch the leg of EJ’s piano! I knew of EJ prior to his appearance, already had a copy of the British release of his first album EMPTY SKY — so I knew he was going to be huge, and I was determined not to miss his U.S. premiere.

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