30 Vintage Candid Photos of Rockstars Living in Laurel Canyon

By Sarah Norman | November 23, 2023

Alice Cooper Auditioned for Frank Zappa At 7AM

In the 1960s and ‘70s, folk musicians, psychedelic rockers, country rockers, and pop groups tried to get a little edge flocked to Laurel Canyon. Rock stars, it seemed, had found their Shangri-La, an idyllic world where a group of disparate friends all grew together to become some of the best-known artists of the 20th century. Artists like Joni Mitchell, The Eagles, The Monkees, and Crosby, Stills & Nash all lived within walking distance of one another and would routinely hang out and jam together into the wee hours of the morning. The Laurel Canyon rock star scene was, like the California sound many of them made famous, a mellow affair.

The canyon’s twisted, humpbacked roads, dense eucalyptus, and neighborhoods of hidden homes feel like a woodland, country town that’s a world away from Los Angeles, but it’s somehow only five minutes away from the Sunset Strip. That’s what made the area so charming to the Bohemian artists of the Woodstock generation.

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Frank Zappa in 1973. Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Mother of Invention himself lived high up in Laurel Canyon, and while he was there he ran his label, Straight, and worked on his own freaky music while producing acts like Captain Beefheart and GTO. It was at this home where he would catch an Alice Cooper performance before he even had his coffee.

Vincent Furnier and his band Alice Cooper had been in LA since 1967 and they weren’t gaining any traction. But in 1969, future manager Shep Gordon saw the band clear a room within their first song and he knew there was something there. Gordon set up an audition for the band with Frank Zappa for seven o’clock - 7 P.M.

The Country Store was where Laurel Canyon came together.

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source: pinterest

Everybody's got to eat, including rock stars. For those folks who lived in Laurel Canyon the one place to pick up groceries, share ideas, or just grab a drink (or all three) was the Canyon Country store. The patio to the store was the site of many of a jam session for those living in the neighborhood, and it was also the unfortunate place where Jim Morrison and his girlfriend Pamela Courson's insane knock down drag out fights.