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Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon Hardcover – Oct 6 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling; 1 edition (Oct. 6 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402765894
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402765896
  • Product Dimensions: 31 x 23.4 x 4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #848,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"He doesn't live amongst the rest of us who have to juggle normal lives and responsibilities with our passion for music and the printed word. Harvey's entire life IS his passion for music and the printed word. He is the consummate historian, the cosmic chronicler, a divine human train wreck of Lester Bangs and Carlos Castaneda. He is the yacking warrior of archetypal anecdotes who has authored many excellent tomes but without a doubt, 'Canyon of Dreams:  The Magic and Music of Laurel Canyon,' is his most formidable, dare I say, breathtaking literary work. You don't just read this book, you smell it, hear it and feel it. As a native of L.A. who grew up in the San Fernando Valley and made the trek to Hollywood through the canyon a thousand times, I now traverse that sacred asphalt with a quiet reverence.  And instead of turning the music up in the car, I throttle it down now with hopes I just might -- if i really try -- touch the  spirits of the artists who made the magic and the music.  Bravo, Harvey. Bravo."  --Lonn Friend, author, Life on Planet Rock

About the Author

Harvey Kubernik, a lifelong resident of the Canyon area, is a veteran music journalist whose work has been published nationally in Melody Maker, The Los Angeles Free Press, Crawdaddy, Musician, Goldmine, MIX, The Los Angeles Times, and MOJO, among others. He has been a record producer since 1979 and was a former West Coast Director of A&R for MCA Records. As a West Hollywood and Laurel Canyon insider, he has unparalleled access to the sources, personalities, and even those who lurk in the shadows of the Canyon.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9a83d9b4) out of 5 stars 70 reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9aa71714) out of 5 stars FINE LOOK AT LAUREL CANYON'S IMPORTANCE TO MUSIC Sept. 30 2009
By Stuart Jefferson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
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.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b15f0a4) out of 5 stars Sex, Drugs, & Wild Times, Even Before Rock 'n' Roll Got There Oct. 9 2009
By Jym Cherry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Canyon of Dreams, the Magic and Music of Laurel Canyon is an amazing history of Laurel Canyon that sits in the Hollywood Hills right above Sunset Boulevard and since the beginning of Hollywood, starting with The Garden of Allah, a hotel opened by one of the wives of Rudolph Valentino, it quickly garnered a reputation as a place for a hideaway for movie stars, musicians, and artists. Errol Flynn had trysts there, jazz musicians came there to score opium, big band leaders Tommy Dorsey and Kay Kyser had an argument there as to which was the more popular, Dorsey won the argument by producing two naked women (who in the Rock `n' Roll era would be groupies), one of whom had a `T' shaved in her pubic hair and the other a `D'. Proving that sex and drugs and wild times existed before Rock `n' Roll and the farther into the future we go, the easier it is to touch the past.

The book is formatted like a scrapbook full of pictures, quotes, and paraphernalia, such as, matchbook covers of famous night clubs, record jackets, restaurant menu's, one from a Chinese restaurant owned by Benson Fong's father, and another that lists a combination pizza at $[...]! The chapters are easy to read and filled with amazing stories of residents and the adventures, misadventures, artistic pursuits, parties, trysts, or some combination of all of the above. The chapters cover different eras usually from the viewpoint of a Laurel Canyon resident who was present, and are divided into relevant tangents that give you a broader feel for everything that was going on at the time. For instance rock photographer Henry Diltz leads off the chapter that recounts the invasion of the Rock `n' Roll industry. Diltz recounts his own days as folk singer and how his career morphed into that of an iconic rock photographer. His most famous album cover probably being The Doors, Morrison Hotel. The section after Diltz's story tells of Robby Krieger and John Densmore moving into the canyon, followed by Jim Morrison and they recount their stories of the canyon, such as dinners at John Densmore's house, or Robby Krieger hanging out at Frank Zappa's house and Zappa's interest in producing The Doors.

Doug Dragon, (brother of Daryl Dragon of Captain and Tennille fame), tells of their living in the canyon in the 50's. His father was a famous symphony conductor, Carmen Dragon and tells of his father playing at The Hollywood Bowl, and how the house they lived in was later bought by TV star Wally Cox, Peter Tork, Stephen Stills and was later used by the Rolling Stones to rehearse for a tour.

So many famous and infamous people have lived in Laurel Canyon, H.B. Barnum, Harry Houdini, Frank Zappa, Tom Mix, Tex Ritter, Jackie DeShannon, Joni Mitchell, Van Dyke Parks, Robert Heinlein, Tim Buckley, Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz, Billy James, Paul Rothchild, Dick Bock, Jackson Browne, and so many others I could list names for the entire length of the review and it would be a compelling reason to buy this book!

There are other books about Laurel Canyon and it's residents, but they pale in comparison. This is a handsome coffee table book that you'll love to show people, and I think you'll be surprised by the new stories that are here. You'll meet new people, and read of events that only happen in L.A., there are stories here you haven't read before and you won't forget.

The book itself is gorgeous, the pages are a creamy high quality paper that gives the book a luxurious feel, is probably the closest to vellum you can get. The book is a bargain with the wall to wall anecdotes, all the pictures, this is a book you'll want to read from front to back in one sitting, but I think it's best to enjoy the sections and breath the atmosphere. However you choose to read it, it will be a satisfying experience.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b437dd4) out of 5 stars dreams of the canyon Oct. 6 2010
By mike hunt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this is a beautiful book for the price, nicely bound, GREAT pictures; (some never before seen!) etc. reviews i have read were crying that the book hops around a bit...there is a bit of truth to that, but i didn't have any problem with it. i truly enjoyed reading about the metamorphosis of the canyon from the very beginning until the 70's, where the magic of the canyon began to crumble, AND; it had gotten 'discovered'. naturally, all the real estate people got a "whiff of money" and prices zoomed to the moon, making living there out of sight for the ordinary struggling hobgoblin! -this is the point where the book gets a bit depressing...

i, however; had heard of this legendary place for years and always longed for more 'dope' on it. the book doesn't disappoint, mr kubernik has done his research, quite staggeringly thorough!! i LOVE 'fly on the wall' accounts, and that is very much what one gets here, and the information is fascinating! -for one who has spent his life in the east, this apparently was one of the 'happening' places' in California. California always had hold of me as some kind of wonderland (i know better now!) nevertheless, i've been a 'scholar' of the san francisco 'school' of culture and music for years and always wondered how they operated in L.A., -Now i know!!

-thanks to all the people who gave lengthy interviews, told stories, etc. i read the book inside of 18 hours, i couldn't put it down! it is a big book but goes fast! many pages are only half a page or so, because of pictures! -get this book!! you won't be sorry!! its' a 'coffee table' special!!
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a682738) out of 5 stars this book tells the truth about Laurel Canyon Sept. 24 2009
By time traveler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book, enjoying the photos taken by the poly-talented Henry Diltz and appreciated the well written and researched text. Congratulations to Harvey Kubernik, et al, for producing such an authentic book that really captures the true vibe of those years in the canyon. The book really tells it just as it was, and includes many of the important personalities and talents who were omitted from previous Laurel Canyon tomes.Yup.This book even smells good. Many Thanks.
33 of 43 people found the following review helpful
By Lard Helmet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Some nice photos, but the book as a whole is nearly unreadable.I found myself scanning passages multiple times to try to decipher the disjointed,confusing text. Where was the editor in this mess?
There's no mention on the jacket or in the forward that the author employed William S. Burroughs infamous "cut-up" technique in writing the book, but that's exactly what it feels like when you try to wade through this incoherent collection of excerpts from assorted interviews and remembrances.
Thankfully, I borrowed a copy from my local library, as I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone buying this book.