If you’re looking for a place to escape from the home you’ve been stuck in for two-plus months on lockdown, then “Laurel Canyon” just might be it.
The two-part docuseries, airing May 31 and June 7 on Epix, transports you back to a magical time in the ’60s, when the Laurel Canyon area in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles was a musical utopia for everyone from Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell to David Crosby and Neil Young.
Yup, this was back when there was free love instead of social distancing.
Directed by Alison Elwood (“American Jihad”), the series captures the free spirt of the times just when we need to remember most how people used to connect.
“It wasn’t a scene then. It was just a better place to live — above the smog,” recalls Crosby of moving there as a member of The Byrds.
“It was like living in the country, but you were in the big city,” The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn says of the idyllic setting.
Henry Diltz of the Modern Folk Quartet recalls moving into a studio in Laurel Canyon. At night, he says, it was “very quiet, except for the owls.”
“We used to call it Oz,” says Love guitarist Johnny Echols, who tells a touching story about picking up his instrument for the first time: “The vibrations just kind of tickled my soul. That was a love affair that’s lasted to this day.”
And as for how his band got its name, Echols says simply, “We just loved music.”
But one of the most telling and timely moments comes when Echols recalls getting advice from Little Richard, the rock pioneer who passed away on May 9 and who once lived in the Laurel Canyon area. As Richard pounds away on the keys to “Lucille,” Echols recalls traveling with him to England.
“We met these four guys,” he says. “They used to follow Richard around … sycophants as far as I could see. Later on in Los Angeles, I was invited to see the Beatles. I didn’t believe it. These little guys that ran around chasing Richard are the biggest thing in the world.”
After the strains of The Eagles classic “Take It Easy” introduce the second episode, LA DJ Jim Ladd recounts how it was anything but easy as both the Vietnam War and the civil rights war at home raged on. “The entire social order of the country was in upheaval,” says Ladd, who at the time had “hair down to the middle of my back.”
Ladd says that the hippies of Laurel Canyon didn’t always receive the love that they spread in their peaceful place. “They were those who hated us,” he says. “They didn’t like hippies.”
But Browne lands on exactly why Laurel Canyon was a hippie haven. “ ‘Hippie’ was like a young person just burgeoning, just opening, just blossoming, somebody who’s getting hip,” he says. “There was a way of living your life life out in the open, being a freak and being unapologetic about who you were.”
Credit: Source link