What is Pandora Box? It was a nightclub & Coffee Shop for the underage crowd to hang out and listen to music. A group of businesses got together to have a 10 pm curfew for the under-twenty-one crowd because they felt it was disrupting their business.
It was located at 8111 Sunset Strip, where many celebrities such as Caesar & Cleo, now known as Sonny & Cher, got started as a popular place to perform. Other acts who performed here ranged from the Beach Boys, the Byrds, and Stephen Sills.
In 1967, the hit single by Buffalo Springfield’s 1967, “For What It’s Worth (Stop, Hey, What’s That Sound)” was written by group member Stephen Stills in response to the riots around Pandora’s Box said, “Riot is a ridiculous name, it was a funeral for Pandora’s Box, but it looks like a revolution.”
Residents and business owners in the district had encouraged the passage of a strict 10:00 pm curfew and loitering law to reduce the traffic congestion and disturbances resulting from crowds of young club patrons. It is perceived by the young, local rock music fans as an infringement on their civil rights, and for weeks tensions and protests swelled. It happened on a Saturday, November 12, 1966, fliers were distributed along the Strip inviting people to demonstrate later that day.
One of L.A.’s rock n roll radio stations announced that there would be a rally at Pandora’s Box later that evening, and as many as 1,000 youthful demonstrators including celebrities such as Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda who were handcuffed by police. It erupted in a protest that was repressive of these recently invoked curfew laws which caused the closure of Pandora’s Box.
The unrest continued the next night and off and on throughout November and December, while Pandora’s Box had already been forced to close its doors. Sonny & Cher who got their start on the Strip as Caesar and Cleo, made an appearance in front of Pandora’s Box in December, while on Christmas Day, it reopened for one night only.
The first time Stephen Stills first publicly performed “For What It’s Worth a song was written in response to the riot, according to Domenic Priore.
For more on the Pandora’s Box, and the site where it was located today, watch the following victory.