Elton John said he was concerned for the future of the Troubadour, the scene of his breakthrough concert 50 years ago this week.

On Aug. 25, 1970, John played the Los Angeles landmark in front of an audience that included members of Eagles, the Beach Boys and Crosby, Stills & Nash. His first-ever U.S. performance is credited with making his name.

In an interview with BBC Radio 6 Music, John was asked about the future of the Troubadour, which, like most venues, has been forced to shut amid the coronavirus pandemic. “I’ve heard that it might be closing, but I think it’s going to be okay,” he said. “We have to preserve venues like this.”

He added that he has “made a few phone calls” and had “a few irons in the fire. “If venues like that disappear, then it’s really grim stuff because they are so important for new people to go, and I’ve seen so many new acts there that have come from Britain," he said. "It’s a great launch pad. It’s a great room, it has atmosphere, it has everything going for it. If you can’t play well at the Troubadour, you can’t play well anywhere.”

John insisted it was “absolutely vital” that venues like the Troubadour survived the pandemic. “The small venues are the life and soul of music, and they have to be kept afloat some way or another," he said.

Elsewhere in the interview, he criticized the state of the pop charts, saying too few songs were written by the people who perform them. “I like people who write songs,” John said. “And there’s plenty of people that do, but a lot of them don’t get played on the radio because they’re too sophisticated. … We get songs made by a computer all the time, and I’m not interested in that.”

He also revealed that he didn’t listen to his own albums. “I’m not one of these artists that sits there compiling stuff from all the vaults and stuff like that," he noted. "I’m more interested in what’s coming next than what went by.”

 

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