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Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-And-Roll's Legendary Neighborhood Hardcover – 19 Feb 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Melia Publishing Services Ltd; annotated edition edition (19 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571211496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571211494
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.9 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 237,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Laurel Canyon is hilarious and true and bittersweet. Michael Walker catches the mood in the air, and gets it right... the interviews are wonderful... it's a beautifully-written document of that time and place when the personalities were as big as those stony dreams that fueled some of the greatest masterpieces in rock." --Cameron Crowe "Laurel Canyon captures all the magic and lyricism of an almost mythological geographical spot in the history of pop music. The book lovingly limns the story of a more melodious time in rock and roll where the great talents of the 60s and 70s cloistered together in a sort of enchanted valley populated by an all-star cast of characters, including Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison, Mama Cass and Brian Wilson."--Stephen Gaines, author of Philistines at the Hedgerow "In Laurel Canyon, rock and roll history is urban history, California history, American history, global history through the songs and scandals coming from a canyon on the coast of dreams running through the labyrinthine center of our times." --Kevin Starr, Professor of History, University of Southern California and author of Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge

About the Author

Michael Walker has written extensively about popular culture for "The New York Times," "Los Angeles Times," "The Washington Post," "Rolling Stone," and other publications. He lives in Laurel Canyon.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. E. Dixon on 30 July 2006
Format: Hardcover
I recently bought this book after watching the film 'Almost Famous' and became interested in the culture of the 60's and 70's. I thought this book would be perfect as it not only talks about the music that was made during this time but about the lifestyles of the musicans, producers and of course the groupies. It starts with the musical movement in the early 60's and how musicicans in their droves flocked to the trendy neighbourhood of Laural Canyon. It starts with how Beatlemania swept through America and made the young musicians wake up and take note.

The book only discusses in length the musicians who lived in Laurel Canyon, The Byrds, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Frank Zappa and The Mama'a and The Papa's to name but a few. If your interested in reading about Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison you'd best buy another book as the author only touches on them as they either didn't live on Laurel Canyon or only did for a brief period. This book is as much about the musicians as it is about the neighbourhood, and what a cool neighbourhood it was.

The book talks about how during the 60's the baby boomers, as they were called, started making beautiful folk-rock music and started writing their own songs, something which was unheard off at that time. And how everybody was all peace love and understanding and how it soon changed when Charles Manson and is family committed the murders of Sharon Tate and friends. How hysteria swept over the neighbourhood when the musicians thought their was some sort of vendetta against the music folk. And different peoples accounts when they realised that many of them had jammed with Manson himself.

It discusses the different festivals Woodstock and the disaster that was Altamont.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. T. P. Goode on 20 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book because I have an interest in the music that arose from West Coast California in the late Sixties/Seventies.

I was born in '70, and have lived in England for most of my life, so the area covered in this book is technically 'foreign territory' for me, but as an artist and a musician I have always loved the golden glow of pastoral idyllic life that seems to permeate through the albums of Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young, the Eagles and a host of others from those 'hippy' decades.

Discovering, as I did a while ago, that these figures lived and worked in close proximity to one another was a revelation for me, so too when I heard Graham Nash describe the Laurel Canyon scene in its heyday as being like 'Paris in the 20's', a rich fervent ground of bohemian creativity, artists buzzing, changing the face of contemporary culture worldwide.

Against this backdrop, this book appealed.

It describes, in painstakingly factual detail, the Canyon, its history, the rise of the Sixties scene in the wake of the Beatles, the place of drugs in that scene, the rise of the folk/rock/country music L.A. sound, some of the complex relationships between Zappa, The Mamas and Papas, The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, CSN, The Doors, The Eagles, Elliot Roberts, David Geffen and a host of interconnected others who lived in and frequented the Canyon; the massive wealth and international stardom that came to many of its residents; the money, the cocaine, the parties, the fun, the L.A. venues, and ultimately the demise of the Canyon's artistic brilliance into drug abuse (rather than use), debauchery, sex, sleaze, crime, culminating in the Manson and Wonderland murders which signaled the end of this era.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Licorice on 14 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback
I lived in Laurel Canyon during the eighties and developed a fascination with its architecture and history. A very quirky canyon enclave of eucalyptus trees, sage and wooden bungalows, complete with canyon wildlife of deer and coyotes, this unique fairytale place is smack-dab in the middle of congested, smoggy Los Angeles. Michael Walker clearly describes this backdrop to the music scene, giving a real feel of Laurel Canyon. Very informative on how these musicians came together, shaping the canyon and also music history: Zappa, Joni Mitchell, Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Mama Cass.. Full of fascinating details and insight about how the neighborhood (and indeed the late sixties themselves) merged from a feel-good folk, family-style psychedelic scene to one ravaged by the seedy effects of cocaine, the Manson murders, greed and broken trust. This book is a necessary read if you are interested in Los Angeles' history, if you're a fan of sixties/seventies music, or if you just like social history/culture. I had 3 out of 3 going for me, so I found this a perfect read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richie on 25 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great read , Great research, well writen book about a very important and interesting chapter in modern musical history when people had a social responsibility and were not afraid to express it.
there are many other books out there telling the same story and this is only one of them but i really enjoyed it from start to finish.
Michael Walker tells it without any rose tinted glasses for sure...the good....the bad....and the ugly..
Great storys throughout and gives the reader a view of Los Angeles (mostly Laurel Canyon) during the mid 60s/70s (which was the period that was the most creative Musically speaking)
check it out.
for a more indepth look at the history of the Canyon itself buy Harvey Kuberniks book "the magic and the music of Laurel Canyon" which goes back even further to the 1920s.
Both books have a lot to give so why not buy then both?
Michael Walkers book has a few photos.
Harvey Kuberniks has lots of colour and b+w thoughout.

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