Another batch of musicians with the hi-pro glow. Since most of these are from the late 70's and early 80's, I think it's safe to say that in many cases the "power" may have been fueled by cocaine. Check out my original gallery in 2009 here. Amazingly, back covers from Night Ranger LPs appear in both of my posts.
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Hollywood, showing the approximate location of Laurel Canyon
This blog entry is about Laurel Canyon. To vote for other Los Angeles neighborhoods, click here. To vote for Los Angeles County communities, click here. To vote for Orange County neighborhoods, vote here.
The woodsy area in the Hollywood Hills now known as Laurel Canyon was originally inhabited by the Tongva. A spring-fed stream attracted Mexican shepherds in the 18th century. After the region became part of the US, Anglos arrived. About 100 years ago, the area was divided up, cabins were erected and the area was marketed to vacationing tourists. The first movie made in Hollywood was shot in Yucca Corridor in 1910. Though the film industry remained centered in Edendale for a few years, it gradually shifted to Hollywood and Laurel Canyon became the home of some of the burgeoning industry's photo-players.
Famed cowboy star Tom Mix bought the Laurel Tavern and converted it into his residence. Mary Astor had a love nest on Appian Way. Gay Mexican "Latin Lover" Ramón Novarro lived there until his murder in 1968.
Last night I was mugged at gunpoint. The perpetrator not only made off with the $560.00 in cash that I was carrying (which I had intended to deposit today) but he knocked me down to the ground and kicked me hard enough that he left a nasty bruise in my ribs before he made his getaway on a magic, chocolate-colored Pegasus.
None of which is true, but it is a rather exciting way to begin this week’s blog entry, isn’t it? Except that, by lying to you, I have now risked alienating you emotionally, because you will now think twice about trusting what I tell you, even if it’s about how much I like that top you’re wearing and how to sets off the flecks of color in your shimmering eyes.
Speaking of violence and the romantic visage of your enduring beauty, I know some of you haven’t yet heeded my advice and investigated one of my most favorite balladeers of all time: Judee Sill.
Judee Sill conducts herself well.
Judee’s story is one of tragic darkness, from which sprung gorgeous and sage songwriting. She was the Billie Holiday of the “Laurel Canyon sound.”
Influenced more by Johann Sebastian Bach than her 1970’s rock ‘n’ blow contemporaries, methodical composition such as fugue-structure, and over-dubbing of her own voice into chorale-style, inform her heart-wrenched post-hymns.
Her father and brother both died when she was a child, and her mother re-married to Kenneth Muse, an animator for one of my least favorite cartoons of all time, Tom & Jerry. (I mean really, the way that mouse antagonizes that poor cat, who very naturally fights back – both by his nature as a felis catus and in defense of Jerry’s cruelty – only to be downtrodden every time. What kind of message does that send to children? BE A BULLY. That’s what it tells ‘em. And then poor, sensitive, fat kids like me get the brunt of it. And all I ever wanted was to love and be loved. Is that so wrong?!)
[Insert sound of Job sobbing here]
Judee left her dysfunctional home (I imagine her stepfather probably lured her head into a mouse-hole and bopped her face with a mallet) and hit the road for a life of free-wheeling druggery and armed robbery. She developed an addiction to that precocious li’l drug we call heroin. In order to pay for the habit, she prostituted herself (which almost certainly prepared her for a life as a professional musician).
Not sure if short lived subsidiary "American International Records" is the same as the "A.I.R." from the late 60's, but it's very likely. The studio 54 comp had this custom jobber and the final image is a great example of the classic early Casablanca blue label design...
When studying the classic desert scene design, one will begin to notice many variations. Here's an interesting trio...A later period label, with mention of Polygram at the bottom. Middle label bears the Fauves-Puma Records imprint, a pairing that was reported to have moved some 15 million units on this Santa Esmeralda hit!! Finally, the classic desert scene from the Village People's heyday, before "Can't Stop the Music" nearly did...
1980 saw the Casablanca release of Tony Joe White's The Real Thang album, which contained the amazing track "I Get Off On It", in which he discusses various individuals and their predilections-- junk food, trannys, trenchcoat flashers, bondage. Combine with a couple of other album highlights "Disco Blues" & the disco-ized version of "Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll", add copious amounts of cocaine and you've pretty much 'crystallized' the Casablanca Records story. 1980 was also the year that Polygram final squeezed Casablanca's founder out of the picture. Neil Bogart went on to put together Boardwalk Entertainment, signing Joan Jett. He also signed Get Wet -- if anyone out there knows what the Lou Reed connection is with them, please chime in. Anyhow, Mr. Bogart's body gave out on him 2 years later.