Bookreview: “Hotel California” (Singer-Songwriters in the LA Canyons) by Barney Hoskyns

For this article a short brief on this wonderful book called “Hotel California” by British musiccritic and writer Barney Hoskyns.

The book outlines the upstart of the Singer/Songwriter scene in LA during the late 60s until the mid 70s. Hoskyns describes in fluent detail why this scene started in LA, what were the particular circumstances which gave birth to this scene, the recordcompanies and venues who were backing these artists to make the scene become successful worldwide and why the scene died off.
In the Coda Hoskyns gives an update of the some of the artists who used to live in Laurel Canyon, what the Canyon is like now and how the musicscene anno today operates in comparison to the scene of the early 70s.

Laurel Canyon gave birth to artists such as: Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the supergroup CrosbyStillsNashYoung, The Mamas and the Papas,The Birds, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Gene Clark, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, The Eagles, Jimmy Webb, Warron Zevon, Randy Newman, James Taylor, Carole King, Crazy Horse, Tom Waits, Little Feat, Lowell George, Judee Sill, J.D Souther, Chris Hillman, Richie Furay, Bonnie Raitt, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Ry Cooder, Jack Nitzsche and Ricki Lee Jones.

Anyone who does have an interest in any of the artists mentioned above will have noticed that a lot of these people used to play on each other’s songs and recordings. Something which is unique for that period in time, something which created a very organic style of playing. Most of these artists have influenced other artists from outside the LA scene, I am thinking in particular of the Rolling Stones and the country influences they adopted for their music between the period of Beggars Banquet up and till Exhile on Main Street.
Another example is Fleetwood Mac during their mid 70s period with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Both of them used to live at some point in Laurel Canyon.

The crosspolination of particular styles of music related to country, folk, blues and other traditional froms of music started during the heyday of the late 60s. What we call today Americana is a direct influence of what started then. Some of the well-known artists of the late 70s like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen carried the tradition forward to the scene of today.

The book comes complete with a extensive discograhpy of artists covered in the book including a list for further reading on the subject and a detailed list of references used for the content of the book.

The book is published by

here a direct link to the book and author:

I will leave you with a song of one of the most unknown sing/songwriters from that particular period

Enjoy and hope to see you soon again!