They may come to live cheaply but they live for the creative atmosphere of “Laurel Canyon.”
Screened consecutively on Sundays starting May 31, a two-part EPIX documentary called using archive and recording interviews to find out how the rural enclaves of Hollywood Hills outside Los Angeles are home to a laundry list of some of the most influential and famous names of 1960s and 70s music, including Eagles, the Doors, Mamas & the Papas, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, Bonnie Raitt, The Monkees, Little Feat and Jackson Browne.
It’s easy to understand attractions. In addition to being a cheap place to stay (at the time), the area had a rural atmosphere and a lot of the beauty of the bucolic land that gave their imagination but was a quick trip to the clubs on the Sunset Strip, where many of them gathered. The more musicians move, the more people want to join the party.
“Artists from the New York scene just came out west for a change of pace,” said Alison Ellwood (“Story of the Eagles”), film director, “and then they all started to arrive and they all started to gather there. And they would say “Where do you live?” And then you know, people just – you know, I think David Crosby said that first: ‘There are only a few of us. The next thing you know, there are about 30 or 50 and it becomes real scene at that time. ‘… Artists are around and support each other so that the environment is very conducive to creativity. “
The stories in the documentary are pure meat and potatoes for any music fan. Yes, there are parties, drugs, hook-ups and break-ups but there are also stories of decisive events, such as how the success of the Doors surpassed the love of the band Cinta stood on Electra Records, what inspired John and Michelle Phillips to write “California Dreamin ‘”and how Eagles Glenn Frey and Don Henley first met at the legendary club Troubadour.
“Clearly, Troubadour is a very large Grand Central place for all these artists,” Ellwood said. “You know, Glenn will go there just to meet people and learn about business. … And he was not only a great musician and singer / songwriter but he was a very smart businessman, many of whom were not at that time. … But you know, Glenn had a vision and dream and started to make it happen and he did it. He connects with Don and Don registers and goes they go and really takes him to the next level. “
And then there are stories about the coupling and release that took place, including John and Michelle Phillips, Graham Nash and Joni Mitchell and even Steve Martin and Linda Ronstadt, one of Ellwood’s favorite inventions when making films.
“It’s amazing how interconnected everyone is,” he said, “and how they share and grow with each other and take from each other and develop. And that is a very nurturing environment.”
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