30 Vintage Candid Photos of Rockstars Living in Laurel Canyon

By | September 16, 2022

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'The Hollywood Vampires' (L-R -- John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Alice Cooper and Micky Dolenz) and Anne Murray celebrate an early Thanksgiving at the Troubadour on November 21, 1973 in Los Angeles (Photo by Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

In the 1960s and ‘70s, folk musicians, psychedelic rockers, country rockers, and pop groups trying 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 feels 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.

What is the Laurel Canyon sound?

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source: reddit

To be quite literal, the Laurel Canyon sound is basically just The Beatles run through the prism of Americans living in the beautiful climate of southern California while trying to replicate their heroes. Director Andrew Slater surmised:

I think [it was] the California musicians trying to grab hold of the sound of the Beatles. It's like light goes through a prism and comes out something else. And I think that was what was happening here with California. I think Roger [McGuinn] sees ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’ He sees George Harrison playing the 12-string guitar. He electrifies folk music. He does a version of ‘Bells of Rhymney.’ George Harrison hears ‘Bells of Rhymney.’ He writes ‘If I Needed Someone.’ That goes on Rubber Soul. Brian Wilson hears Rubber Soul and he writes Pet Sounds and The Beatles hear Pet Sounds and they write Sgt. Pepper and that really is the echo of people's creativity bouncing between each other and then across to England.