Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hollywood Palladium

The Hollywood Palladium opened in 1940, with vocalist Frank Sinatra playing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. A few weeks later, they recorded an album at the Palladium.

The building was designed by Gordon B. Kaufman (who also designed Santa Anita Racetrack and the Greystone Estate), and it supposedly cost a cool million to build. It sits, according to the LA Times, on a lot formerly occupied by Paramount Studios.

On Saturday nights, from 1961 to 1976, Lawrence Welk and his orchestra played the Palladium. The Emmys and Grammys have been handed out on its stage.

Even though the acoustics are. . . poorly regarded, lots of groups followed Tommy Dorsey's lead and recorded live albums at the Palladium. Gene Krupa and his orchestra did so in 1945. Also: Keith Richards in 1988, Bill Elliot's Swing Band in 2000. Recordings of a 1971 Grateful Dead concert can be heard here.

Movies? The Palladium was the site of the Sci-Fi convention in Galaxy Quest. The Blues Brothers first concert (in the movie) was filmed here. The Bodyguard, F.I.S.T, Mr. Saturday Night and a bunch of other movies all list the site on imdb.

Besides two blog entries, though, precious little is written on the Palladium online or in books. It's got to be the most overlooked and under documented historic venue in Hollywood.

In April, LiveNation announced it would lease the Palladium (capacity 4000 guests) for twenty years. LiveNation will refurbish the huge theater, closing it after a Morrissey concert on October 13, and reopening (hopefully) in one year.


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