Exploring the Bohemian Oasis: Vintage Snapshots of Rockstars in Laurel Canyon

May 21, 2024

Laurel Canyon wasn't a place, it was a time

In the 1960s and '70s, folk musicians, psychedelic rockers, country rockers, and pop groups tried to get a little edge flocked to Laurel Canyon. Rock stars, it seemed, had found their Shangri-La, an idyllic world where a group of disparate friends all grew together to become some of the best-known artists of the 20th century. Artists like Joni Mitchell, The Eagles, The Monkees, and Crosby, Stills & Nash all lived within walking distance of one another and would routinely hang out and jam together into the wee hours of the morning. The Laurel Canyon rock star scene was, like the California sound many of them made famous, a mellow affair.

The canyon's twisted, humpbacked roads, dense eucalyptus, and neighborhoods of hidden homes feel like a woodland, country town that's a world away from Los Angeles, but it's somehow only five minutes away from the Sunset Strip. That's what made the area so charming to the Bohemian artists of the Woodstock generation.

source: pinterest

Jackson Brown puts it best with this simple quote:

Places become a focal point for breaking out of convention. What was happening in Laurel Canyon was the universe cracking open and revealing its secrets. It was just about a time, a creative awakening.

It was all about hanging with like-minded individuals

source: getty images

For Jackson Browne, the draw of living in Laurel Canyon wasn't the nature or the parties, it was being around other songwriters all working on their craft. He said:

I was writing songs and playing open mic night at the Troubadour. That was a fun hang too because you’d wind up waiting around for about four hours with a bunch of songwriters on the street, waiting for this window to open. I made a lot of friends there.