Waiting for the Sun: A Rock and Roll History of Los Angeles

Overview

(Book). A classic, finally back in print! British rock historian Barney Hoskyns (Hotel California, Across the Great Divide: The Band in America) examines the long and twisted rock 'n' roll history of Los Angeles in its glamorous and debauched glory. The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, Little Feat, the Eagles, Steely Dan, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, and others (from Charlie Parker right up to Black Flag, the Minutemen, Jane's Addiction, Ice Cube, and Guns N' Roses) populate the pages of this comprehensive and extensively illustrated ...

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Overview

(Book). A classic, finally back in print! British rock historian Barney Hoskyns (Hotel California, Across the Great Divide: The Band in America) examines the long and twisted rock 'n' roll history of Los Angeles in its glamorous and debauched glory. The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, Little Feat, the Eagles, Steely Dan, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, and others (from Charlie Parker right up to Black Flag, the Minutemen, Jane's Addiction, Ice Cube, and Guns N' Roses) populate the pages of this comprehensive and extensively illustrated book.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hoskyns (From a Whisper to a Scream) proposes that Los Angeles is a city embodying with particular clarity both the brightest and darkest parts of American culture. Yet this aura of "irresistible... disjuncture" has provided a fertile ground for musical creativity. Here, Hoskyns traces the evolution of L.A.'s popular music scene from the 1940s through the 1990s with the intent of demonstrating how the city's unique atmosphere has informed the work of artists ranging from Nat King Cole and Charlie Parker to Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to Jane's Addiction and NWA. The penetrating sociocultural analysis of Hoskyns's introductory chapter loses steam, however, as Hoskyns focuses on the relationships between various artists and music industry executives. Even so, the author constructs a comprehensive and critically astute history of the major developments and players in the Southern California music business. Hoskyns is particularly perceptive about the racial politics of music culture and those musical and cultural moments of dynamic transition when new genres of popular music emerge. The numerous photos and pithy quotes from other observers of the L.A. scene make for enjoyable and informative reading. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Los Angeles is often held up a perfect example of the American dream gone bada sprawling urban symbol of everything that is garish, shallow, and self-centered in our popular culture. While many Americans are loath to confess any interest in the city at all, it has proven mesmerizing to British writers. Here Hoskyns (Across the Great Divide, LJ 9/1/93) has produced an enjoyable overview of the city's musical history. Beginning with the R&B club scene that thrived on Central Avenue in the 1940s, Hoskyns chronicles the rise of such artists as the Beach Boys, Phil Spector, and the Doors, providing interesting (and often gossipy) details about the musicians and their record deals, recording sessions, and chart performances. He also covers the emergence of country rock and the Seventies punk scene, concluding with a brief overview of West Coast rap. Though the appendix listing popular songs with L.A. themes is unnecessary, the book, overall, includes a wealth of detailed information. Recommended for popular music collections. (Index not seen.)Rick Anderson, Penacook, N.H.
Kirkus Reviews
A caustic, gossipy, refreshingly idiosyncratic history of the music business in Los Angeles.

Having interviewed many of the major players, British author Hoskyns (Across the Great Divide: The Band and America, 1993) ambitiously aims to make sense of the careers of every notable musician ever to spend time in L.A., in the context of the city's ethnic and geographical cultures, the L.A.-based record companies' differing sensibilities, the cultural currents their records both spawned and reflected, and especially the pattern of monstrous self-indulgence that seemingly few L.A. musicians have evaded. The pre-rock era is covered fairly perfunctorily, but Hoskyns begins to shine with early '60s tales of hack songwriters, calculating record companies, and motley unaffiliated hustlers all angling to produce a Top 40 hit. Hoskyns notes that there's as much image manipulation in pop as in the movies. The Beach Boys created the myth of southern California as endless beach party, but, in Hoskyns's typically pithy characterization, leader Brian Wilson was "an all-American misfit . . . a gawky, introspective geek" who'd never surfed. The all-white Hollywood hit-makers could afford to be oblivious to the Watts riots, even as they came to represent the "counterculture." A countrified pop mafia (David Crosby, Cass Elliott, Neil Young, etc.) based in L.A.'s outer canyons grew up in the late '60s, but the hippie idealism of life away from Hollywood had a dark flip side, exemplified by the Manson Family and a series of self-destructions from drugs. Hoskyns acerbically registers the irony that the staggeringly successful mellow L.A. pop of the '70s—by such artists as the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Fleetwood Mac—was created in a milieu ruled by two supremely unmellow forces: cocaine and workaholic mogul David Geffen.

Though occasionally marred by mean spirits, this is an unusually lively, provocative study.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879309435
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
  • Publication date: 3/15/2009
  • Pages: 420
  • Sales rank: 788,632
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: Apocalypse Now! (We Love It!)
Acknowledgements
Map
Intro: After the Goldrush, or Los Angeles Without a Star Map 1
1 On the Avenue: West Coast Cool, California Crazy 5
2 Boys of Summer 37
3 Sunset Nights, Jingle-Jangle Mornings 69
4 Maybe the People Would be the Times, or Between Doheny and La Cienega 109
5 Strange Daze, Weird Sins 149
6 Ladies and Gentlemen of the Canyon 187
7 Crawling Down Cahuenga on a Broken Pair of Legs, or What Were Once Vices are Now Habits 241
8 The Decline of the West 283
9 Rituals of the Habitual 321
Epilogue: Slipping into Darkness 341
Appendix: Los Angeles in Songs 347
Bibliography 351
Index 357
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