I’ve just finished ‘Hotel California’ by Barney Hoskyns, a book about the music scene of USA’s West Coast, from the mid 60’s ’til the mid 70’s. It was very interesting to learn about L.A.’s best years, about the two most important clubs (the Troubadour and the Roxy), about this big record label man called David Geffen, and about so many talented people who got a record deal and therefore a chance at trial and error, to learn from this and get better, and ultimately become successful! The book concludes how this was such a unique time and all who were present are very lucky to have been a part of it, but if there’s one important thing I’ve learned, it’s that it wasn’t all glitter and glamour. Ego and drugs and money have destroyed a lot. Sometimes it was a very lonely existence, to be a rock star. Everything seemed so empty, relationships and money and possessions, everything but the music.
Though the main characters in the book were Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joni Mitchell and The Eagles, I also got to know a lot of new old artists. Here are my two favorite discoveries:
Of course I’d heard For what it’s worth before (“Stop hey what’s that sound”) but I never knew this was a band containing Stephen Stills and Neil Young! Will definitely look more into the work of Buffalo Springfield.
Loving this version by Gram Parsons! (Though some say he actually co-wrote it, Keith Richards was a friend of his.) You can definitely feel the sadness in the voice of this tragic figure, who died age 26.
But yes, let’s end this post with an amazing live version of the song that represents the West Coast’s golden era the best, the rise and decay.