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Picture yourself lounging on Joni Mitchell’s couch, surrounded by the likes of Mama Cass and Don Henley, listening to the melodious voices of Stephen Stills, David Crosby, and Graham Nash harmonizing with one another for the first time. Picture yourself in a place that is undeveloped, making it seem like you’re far from the city, but in reality, you are quite close in proximity to major venues in Los Angeles such as the Roxy and the Troubadour. Welcome to Laurel Canyon, a place that I am absolutely fascinated with.
Therefore, I was very excited when GRAMMY Camp took a field trip to explore the famous Laurel Canyon through the “California Dreamin’: The Sounds of Laurel Canyon, 1965-1977” exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum in downtown Los Angeles.
When you first enter the exhibit, you notice photos all along the wall. These photos, taken by Henry Diltz, include candid shots of many artists who were a huge part of the Laurel Canyon scene, artists such as Frank Zappa, the Byrds and Joni Mitchell. I actually recognized some of these photos, as one of my favorite books that we have in my house is California Dreaming: Visions of LA 1966-75, a collection of Diltz’s photographs of the California music scene.
Another part of the exhibit is memorabilia that includes outfits worn by members of Buffalo Springfield, notes that Linda Ronstadt wrote down, and even the chair that Jim Morrison (from the Doors) would sit in to write down song ideas.
My favorite part of the exhibit was the giant timeline of various artists’ careers ranging between the years 1958-1978. The timeline included when Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young released their first album Déjà Vu as a quartet in March of 1970, when Joni Mitchell released her debut album Song to a Seagull in August of 1968, when Buffalo Springfield made their debut at the Troubadour in September of 1965, and many other monumental moments in music during those years.
Through timelines, photographs and memorabilia, this exhibit did a fantastic job of allowing campers to experience a unique music scene that we weren’t fortunate enough to live through.
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