Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Legendary Neighborhood
A Book by Michael Walker
(Faber and Faber)
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2006, Volume 13, #6
Written by John Metzger
Given its proximity to Sunset Strip as well its prominence within Los Angelesí music scene, Laurel Canyon has more than a few stories to tell. Admirably, author Michael Walker attempts to bind them all together into a cohesive narrative for his recent book Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock and Rollís Legendary Neighborhood. Told not chronologically but rather via a series of vignettes, the tale ó which in winding fashion covers a 17-year span from 1964 until 1981 ó slowly assumes an air of cinematic importance as the lives of its central characters become entangled across Walkerís jumbled spectrum of time. Initially, however, his nonlinear layout appears to be a nearly fatal flaw as individual chapters about The Byrds, Frank Zappa, and Mama Cass provide little traction while offering merely cursory examinations of their subjectsí lives. Likewise, later segments on the drug trade, groupies, and the transformation of the music business into a corporately controlled monolith have been given more comprehensive examinations in other tomes.
Although the anecdotal details that Walker reveals donít necessarily enrich the individual stories contained in Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock and Rollís Legendary Neighborhood, over the course of the entire book, they do succeed in forming an overarching and extraordinarily insightful glimpse into the sometimes chaotic but no less magical existence that Laurel Canyon provided. He looks back upon the communityís formative moments with genuine affection, and he chronicles its decline with such a journalistic eye that he captures in bittersweet fashion the sad resignation of fate. In the end, he offers further proof that each microcosm of popular culture has its own distinctive characteristics that are shaped as much by time, place, and the personalities of its inhabitants as they are by the world at large. As they are born, so must they die, and try as it might, the music industry canít create or replicate them, though it surely can destroy them. Ĺ
Of Further Interest...
Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Legendary
Neighborhood is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box