Hardcover,368 pages,including index. This is a beautifully made,well thought out,well put together book. From the very substantial cover,to the end paper photographs and map,to the well written text,and the wonderfully evocative photographs-this is a book like "they used to make". Even the paper used is very thick,with a beautiful dull,satin finish,which only enhances the overall look and feel of this book. Ray Manzarek wrote the forward,with insight into Laurel Canyon and,of course,THE DOORS.
This book is primarily concerned with Laurel Canyon-it's history and the many people (almost all musicians of some form) who called it home. Starting in the era of Gene Autry and Tex Ritter in the early 1930's,this begins a time line of the Canyon and how it changed,through the sixties,with artists like Sonny and Cher,THE BYRDS,Joni Mitchell,Steve Stills,David Crosby,Neil Young,and many more,into the early 21st century,with GUNS AND ROSES and other groups/people who inhabited the surrounding area,most notably,the close-by Sunset Strip. Along the way jazz artists of the fifties and sixties,who also lived in the area,are given some recognition by Gene Norman,who was famous for promoting the Sunset Strip and the many clubs up and down "the strip". As the decades change,so,too,did the people who came into this area. There is a good overview of musical legends,and how the clubs and radio,which were just beginning to play this "new" music,were so important to Laurel Canyon and the surrounding area. Where this book begins a more in depth look at this area,is the early sixties. People like Andrew Loog Oldham,Mark Volman (THE TURTLES),Henry Diltz,and many others from the music world,tell what is was like during this era. Every aspect of the Laurel Canyon/Sunset Strip area is given it's due-from clubs and the bands playing in them,to the record companies so important in releasing the music,to the many radio stations that concentrated on local artists,to the exponential growth of the area in the sixties,to the areas demise and rebirth in the late seventies/early eighties.
The photographs are fully half of the story here. They are very evocative of the time,and their visual impact can't be emphasized enough. Many of the photographs (most in color) have not been seen,either in the near past,or not at all. The images captured here,both of bands on and off the stage,sometimes posed,sometimes candid,give an inside look at this area and the many important musicians who called the canyon home. Towards the end of the book,the reader will have a good overview of the area and all the great musicians who call/called it home. Many of the people who lived in Laurel Canyon in the sixties,have moved on,either because of family obligations or having the realization that no one can stay young forever,locked into a certain time. In their place new people have started to call the area home,and are carving out their own history in Laurel Canyon.
For those who liked Domenic Priore's "Riot On Sunset Strip (Rock and roll's last stand in Hollywood)",or Barney Hoskyn's "Waiting For The Sun,The Sound of Los Angeles",this is a book that can sit alongside both as a great companion piece. The insightful writing,the coverage of all musical topics related to the area,and the fine photography,make this a book to own by anyone interested in this time/area/music.