Legends of the Canyon: Classic Artists
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LEGENDS OF THE CANYON delivers the story of the advent of rock music spawned in the garden of the Hollywood Hills, Laurel Canyon. Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Mamas and the Papas, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt and many other great artists of the era were all inhabitants of Laurel Canyon and brought to life the anthems of a generation from the hills of this idyllic, commune-like setting in the late 1960s. Their songs continue to inspire and LEGENDS OF THE CANYON takes you there. Adding depth, color and authenticity to the film, famed rock photographer Henry Diltz (CSNY's official photographer) contributes a variety of original photographs, some never before exhibited as well as rare footage shot amongst the musicians that were the tribe of the Canyon. This CLASSIC ARTISTS film recalls that innocent time in intimate interviews with many of the great artists themselves, revealing the true tales of when dreams of peace, harmony and history-changing music echoed through the hills of Laurel Canyon and around the world.
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Another reviewer hit the nail on the head regarding the latter portion of the video, however--it being all CSN-centric. That said, I learned some things, and appreciated both Graham Nash's sensitivity and intelligence. He's quite a spokesperson!
There were MANY more individual stars and groups to emerge from Laurel Canyon than is presented herein, however, and that's the only place where this production comes up short.
To help complete the story, I recommend viewing Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built, about Ahmet Ertegen and his Atlantic Records. There is also a The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun that was just released last year. The other production that helps with this story is PBS' American Masters installment regarding David Geffen (the subject of Joni Mitchell's Free Man In Paris). You can stream the latter for free from PBS.
In fact I'd say it was more about the latter. The story mostly talks about the CSN story with their rise through the Byrds/Buffalo Springfield/Hollies
Not sure why America gets a nod. I guess it was Henry Diltz's way of trying to squeeze his former clients into the picture and I didn't get the impression they were residents of LC. Likewise with the Doors and I had the sense they were only mentioned because Diltz photographed the cover for Morrison Hotel and not because they were part of the LC scene (Jim Morrison lived there apparently).
Overall, some interesting moments but this story fails to capture the life and times in Laurel Canyon, and could be better considered as an introduction to some of its famous denizens in the mid-to-late 60s. If you are interested in the history of LC then Harvey Kubernik's book "Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon" is recommended. As a record of the rise of CSN, then it is much more successful.
The Extras were only for the dedicated fan and I couldn't sit through the entire silent movie catalogue
The video, "Legends of Laurel Canyon" is a wonderful documentary of the the music of that era coming out of Southern California and its impact on the rock music scene of which I was fairly involved at that time. The documentary is well put together and follows a logical path that provides an overview and history of the great music that came out of Southern California including such groups as Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, Crosby/Stills and Nash, the Mommas and Popas, the Turtles, the Monkees and more. The program includes some wonderful home movies, some video clips of the various groups performing during that time and the events of the time that resulted in this great music. Much of it is based on interviews recorded in 2009 with various members of those groups including: David Crosby, Steven Stills, Graham Nash, Michelle Phillips, Van Dyke Parks and others who were movers and shakers in that music scene. These interviews add much interest and meaningful content to the documentary.
For lovers of this music and music historians, I would highly recommend this video. To get a more in depth history of this music and what was happening on Sunset Strip in the mid to late Sixties, I would highly recommend the above mentioned book, "The Canyon of Dreams" as well as "Riot on Sunset Strip" by Dominec Priore. Both available on amazon.com.
Once more, for the video, "Legends of Laurel Canyon", well documented, well filmed, superb content and entertaining without the typical boredom of an historical documentary. Five stars!