LAUREL CANYON DAZE | CSN, JONI MITCHELL, JACKSON BROWNE, MAMA CASS, THE EAGLES

The epic tales of Laurel Canyon’s heyday continues to linger like the warm smell of colitas rising up through the air… It’s here that the SoCal sound was born out of an era of relaxed morals (fucking sex), folks expanding their mental horizons (drugs), and a wave of eclectic misfits coming from all over to launch, reinvent, or escape their musical careers (rock ‘n’ roll) in this sleepy, smoky, winding hippy enclave. And the women, Mama Cass & Joni Mitchell, were the (wise and worldly beyond their years) matriarchs watching over over this peaceful, easy-feeling, community headquartered on Lookout Mountain. Henry Diltz was a friend and photographer to many in the scene those days, and his visual record and memories of these times is priceless.

“When I first came out to L.A. [in 1968], my friend Joel Bernstein found an old book in a flea market that said, ‘Ask anyone in America where the craziest people live and they’ll tell you California. Ask anyone in California where the craziest people live and they’ll say Los Angeles. Ask anyone in Los Angeles where the craziest people live and they’ll tell you Hollywood. Ask anyone in Hollywood where the craziest people live and they’ll say Laurel Canyon. And ask anyone in Laurel Canyon where the craziest people live and they’ll say Lookout Mountain.’ So I bought a house on Lookout Mountain.” —Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell home Lookout Mountain Avenue Laurel Canyon 1970 © Henry Dilitz

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NEIL YOUNG AND THE DAMAGE DONE | The Godfather of Grunge’s Early Years

December 1969, San Diego, California, USA --- Neil Young plays his vintage Gretsch White Falcon during a sound check at Balboa Stadium just before a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert. --- Image by © Henry Diltz

December 1969, San Diego-- Neil Young plays his Gretsch White Falcon during a sound check at Balboa Stadium before a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert. -- Image by © Henry Diltz

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Over his long and storied career, Neil Young has explored and influenced a wide range of musical styles– but it’s his early days that I love the most.  There’s an ache and an angst in Young’s voice that resonates, and his guitar playing feels bare, matter of fact, and honest.  Neil Young is often referred to as “The Godfather of Grunge” for the impact and influence he had on the grunge scene– Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain in particular.  Cobain even went as far to quote Neil Young in his suicide note– using the line “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away” from Young’s song “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”.

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