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Publisher's Summary

The classic account of the LA Canyons scene between 1967 and 1976, featuring Joni Mitchell; Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; The Eagles; James Taylor; and Jackson Browne. Ambition, betrayal, drugs and genius all combine with great music making.

©2005 Barney Hoskyns (P)2012 Talking Music

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What listeners say about Hotel California

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    4 out of 5 stars

Solid Hollywood Music History.

Would you consider the audio edition of Hotel California to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version of this book. I suspect though that I would have been tempted to gloss over certain aspects of the book itself, and thus run the risk of missing out on some interesting observations and insights. There are some really nice nuggets of insight in this book that are more interesting than the, overall, thrust of the story.

What other book might you compare Hotel California to and why?

"Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon" should be the required companion piece for this book, though "Weird Scenes" is more tabloid and conspiracy driven in nature than "Hotel California." "Weird Scenes" also deals more with all of the happenings leading up to the late sixties and, ultimately, culminates with the Manson Family; while "Hotel California" documents the gradual take over of the music business by Corporate entities and Cocaine Cowboys, which goes well into the '70s.

What does Nick Landrum bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Nick Landrum does an amazing job of reading Hotel California. It seems like he really brings out the nuances of the book and the various characters involved that might otherwise be missed by a casual read of the written text.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The book does an effective job of documenting how drugs (Cocaine mostly) and the bottom line driven Corporate landscape began to suffocate and thus kill all that was creative about the early music scene in Hollywood. It also illuminates a number of interesting musical casaulties of that time that prompted me to go back and listen to their works.

Any additional comments?

This is a very serious and important look at the not particularly positive growth of the music industry in Hollywood, and how the bottom line first managers, agents, and distributors controlled what American and, to some degree, what the rest of the world would listen to. It also documents how drugs (mostly cocaine) eroded away many of the artists ability to effectively express themselves musically. Be warned that the book really slams the likes of David Geffen, David Crosby, and the "Eagles."

9 people found this helpful

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Born in the wrong decade

This is a great overview of the prevailing artistic genre of the late 60's and early 70's--a wistful listen. However, the downside is that it covers a great deal of information, so there's not the space to really dig deep in the gritty details.

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A really wonderful book.....

For anyone who grew up during this period of time, and was into music, this book a for you. If you're a fan of Linda Ronstadt, Gram Parsons, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Eagles, etc., you'll find it very interesting to see how all these people interacted to become who they are.... and for some still are.

3 people found this helpful

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Spoil assholes

Thought this was a great story about these spoiled POS. Never a fan of the Eagles, but still enjoy CSNY, Little Feet and FBB. Always heard Stills and Crosby were major asses, but these accounts seem to solidify these rumours. Neil has always been reported to have mental issues.
This was a great listen to find out the behind the scenes tragedy of Grahm Parson and Loyall George.
Enjoyed, too bad they could not continue their wonderful momentum into a new era, like some of the other great bands that started in the same years.

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A real tour de force

This was my generation and Hotel California has it all covered. Nick Landrum does an outstanding job. Absolutely recommended!

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New Meaning...

Behind the scenes of my favorite era of music. This book gives new meaning to the songs, concerts, and artists who served as the backdrop to my life.

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Very very very OK

After making my way thru this thing I felt more educated about this period and place in music history but less impassioned with the characters. The writing didn’t inspire me to care more. It made me want to care less. It dragged from the mid-point onward. Hoskyn’s Woodstock book was much more interesting because he uncovered the deeper motives, character, pain and underlying passions of the that time and place. Maybe his heart and connections for interviews rested on the East Coast. One other point, Nick’s female affected voice was... not very attractive. Sorry Joni

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What a time it was

Grew up listening to most of these guys and women. Great behind the scene stories. Well done.

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educational

Very wordy but educational. I was unaware that so many artist that are active today, were such an important part of the music scene in the 60s. I was disappointed because there was no music.

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Chronicle of 60's and 70's Calif. Rock Scene

Informative and insightful broad-spectrum chronicle, which touches on highlights of the emerging Southern California, largely laurel Canyon-dwelling artists of the 60's and 70's.Very similar to the "Laurel Canon" documentary. I found myself wanting more in-depth insights to the artists, but, I suppose, most now have their own published bios.

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  • Colin
  • 04-20-16

An excellent record of a Golden Era...

No matter what your personal musical tastes are, it’s hard to discount the massive changes that happened between 1967-1976 as the focus of the popular music world shifted from London to Los Angeles, and in particular, the singer/songwriter boom of Laurel Canyon. Over a period of just a few years a seemingly endless stream of fresh new sounds and new voices continued to pour out of the bohemian LA suburb to dominate the pop charts across the world. Names like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, America, Rickie Lee Jones and, of course, The Eagles, all of whom went on to have long, successful careers in the music industry.

This really is an excellent book and a real joy to listen to, and special mention must go to the narrator Nick Landrum, who does a first class job of keeping the listener engaged and interested. I would definitely listen to another title read by Nick.

From the early days at The Troubadour, where you could see Crosby, Ronstadt and Jackson Browne sharing a beer or three, to the cocaine-fuelled excesses their worldwide fame later provided, this book leaves no stone unturned (no pun intended) and follows the story right up to the beginning of the end, where younger, fresher acts like Springsteen and Steely Dan start to make inroads to the charts, and the old school can feel the end of their road is near.

But this is no ‘fluff’ piece; the book takes a long, hard look at the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing, especially involving the record producer David Geffen, and pulls no punches when discussing the inevitable tensions that can arise when large egos are placed in close confinement to each other.

Some time ago I wrote a less-than-positive review of a Neil Young book, astounded how he could write such a large tome and not mention Buffalo Springfield or CSN&Y, the two bands for which he is largely known. On reading ‘Hotel California’ I feel I owe Mr Young an apology, as it seems these years were far from happy ones for him, largely due to the incessant bullying, both mental and physical, by his band-mate Stephen Stills, who I have to say does not come out of this book very well.

It’s been said that every generation believe they had the best pop music, and this book really helps make the case for the acoustic strumming minstrels from the summer of ’69.

A must for any music lover

6 people found this helpful

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  • John o'neill
  • 09-11-19

great tales

another masterful composition from mr hoskyns.
the only negative would be the narrator constantly mispronouncing gram parsons as graham.

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  • Sniffy and Particular
  • 07-08-20

Sat next to a name dropping hippy 4 hours

I gave it two hours and forty five mins. Its nearly saved by Nick Landrum's excellent performance, but basically, it is a book that sorta rambles, with loads of "names". Perhaps I was expecting some analysis? Or some sort of ideas as to why the hippie movement started and what was really behind it? So far, its just a list of names and mild annecdotes and it all blends into one sort of a blur. I think this is a book for those who don't want to dig to deep into why this was all orchestrated, by who and for what purpose.

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  • Michele Aikin
  • 10-04-20

A look into the LA music scene of the 60’s and 70’s

A well written account of the music in LA of the sixties and seventies . It gives you an incite into the lives and relationships of these musicians , showing you the dysfunction and often accidental success they had and how it shaped that period in music history.