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Hotel California

3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  872 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
This book is a remarkable look at one of the most dramatic, creative, and revolutionary settings in American popular culture: the Los Angeles popular music scene from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. Drawing on extraordinarily candid firsthand interviews Barney Hoskyns has conducted over more than three decades, Hotel California takes you on an intimate tour—from the Suns ...more
Published November 7th 2005 by Fourth Estate
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(showing 1-30 of 1,843)
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Aug 31, 2008 Melody rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Certainly full of interesting facts, but suffers from too many of them. The cast of characters is huge and unwieldy, with many people doing what I felt were unnecessary walk-ons. The writing was magazine-like with extra trivia shoehorned in. I enjoyed parts of it very much, especially how songs came to be written. On the whole, though, I can't recommend it to anyone but the stone Laurel Canyon junkie.
Aug 25, 2013 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To quote the author, this book is "an epic tale of songs and sunshine, drugs and denim, genius and greed". Barney Hoskyns takes us on the "rise and fall" trip of the Southern California singer-songwriter movement in pop music in the late 60's to the mid 70's when stadium rock, big money and coke destroyed the music I loved. Very detailed and readable history of this unique musical journey from the pioneering Byrds, Mama's & Pappa's to CSNY, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Jackso ...more
Jason Coleman
I understand why it frustrates some people, but this is a decent book. The author has done a ton of research: if you were in Laurel Canyon in 1968-71 and Hoskyns didn't interview you, it probably means you are dead. He has digested the music itself and, in addition to all the milestones, champions several obscure works. His quick portraits are instinctive and convincing. And I like the trajectory he depicts: beginning with a truly vital scene that included the Byrds, Burritos, and Buffalo Spring ...more
Feb 15, 2010 Rory rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Um, this was not good. No real insight OR fun gossip, and no real sense of why these artists mattered. I love me some classic rock, and I'm interested in how folk music fed into pop to truly help define what "rock" became in the 1970s...but this was just an unfocused, boring mess.
Joab Jackson
Sep 06, 2015 Joab Jackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One curious thing I've noticed about cultural history is how many celebrities of an era tend to come from very closely interlocked social circles. This book shows this to be the case with an obscene number of famous and semi-famous counter-cultural west coast music makers of the late 1960s and early 1970s, who collectively dominated radio, FM radio in particular, of the day.

This books draws an amazingly coherent continuum straight through The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Frank Zappa, Turtles, Jo
Dan Pike
Apr 18, 2015 Dan Pike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, biography
I was disappointed with Barney Hoskyns' account of the lives of the primary musicians credited with establishing the Country Rock sound that was so popular in the late 1960's and throughout the 1970's...The author relies far too much on old interviews of the central characters, making Neil Young, Don Henley, Glen Frey, Jackson Browne, and many others seem flat and one-dimensional...Too much space is devoted to entertainment mogul David Geffen and his rise to power, which in Hoskyns' hands is abo ...more
Ethan Miller
Not the deeply satisfying and more sensational reads of "Shakey" or "Long time Gone" but still an interesting read and a broader scope. For those of us who did not live through the late 60's and 70's and did not experience the music happening out of the LA area in a linear way this book puts that in perspective nicely. History has kind of judged and divided these troubadours into our sacred cow artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, the soft rock stadium sell outs like The Eagles and Linda R ...more
Apr 24, 2010 Suzie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Hoskyn's book, in the edition that I have is subtitled "Singer Songwriters and Cocaine Cowboys in the L.A. Canyons, 1967-1976." This book covers the intersection of both subtitles. It centers on the Laurel Canyon scene in L.A. in the 60s and early 70s. There is a lot on CSNY and the Eagles, and Jackson Browne, and lesser but still fairly decent chunks on Joni Mitchell, David Geffen/Elliot Roberts/Asylum, the Troubador, The Roxy, Buffalo Springfield, and Gene Clark. Honestly, I am still not sure ...more
PennsyLady (Bev)
Jan 16, 2016 PennsyLady (Bev) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rock-n-roll
The time: mid 60's to late 70's
The place: Los Angeles, California, specifically the Laurel Canyon (and beyond) music scene.

Barney Hoskyns is a writer, editor and British music critic, who ushers us through a rise and fall era in the California musical scene.

Behind the songs we loved, we're given an informative look at a myriad of relationships (both professional and personal).
We're given snapshots of the singer/songwriters with their backgrounds, their personalities, their genius, their quirks.

R.S. Gompertz
Nov 23, 2014 R.S. Gompertz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-sixties

After the gold rush, before the deluge ...

Hotel California documents the cultural shifts in the music business from the time when the New York City folk scene of the early sixties moved west to the dominance of arena rock in the late seventies. The migration from the early singer-songwriters to the mega-groups is a fascinating and wide-ranging story that is well told in this book.

Hotel California the book, like the song by The Eagles, one of the groups in the story, is also a story of loss of in
Jul 10, 2012 Marty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Gossipy and fully deserving of a summer "beach read" even though I read it in my office on lunch hours. It kept my interest because this is the soundtrack of my high school and college years, but unfortunately the book needed some serious editing. The handful of typos I saw were distracting. On the other hand, when people talk about all the artists Joni Mitchell slept with, at least now I'll know who they were. I didn't pick it up because I knew it'd be fine literature.
This has thorough research and does capture the time and place in that part of L.A. to a T.
Jan C
Feb 04, 2015 Jan C rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: show-biz, california, 2015
Interesting story of the beginnings of the music of the singer-songwriters and the downfall when it became a Business. Times changed and they were deemed passe. But it goes into the heyday of The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, JD Souther, Jackson Browne, etc. Admittedly, drugs played a big part in the downfall. And people either came out the other side or, like Gram Parsons and Lowell George, they died
JC Moretta
Meh... I enjoyed it, but it focused a lot on the business side of things. I could give a rats ass about David Geffen - I would've liked more musicians and less music biz. Still a good read for fans of the era.
Mar 30, 2016 Marc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Marc by: Deric Boileau
For consummate consumers of the tales of those days, this would be a must read. I guess that would include me but I was a bit underwhelmed by Hoskyns work. I have been a consummate consumer of the music, as poetry of that time. My interest waned and moved on when the Eagles and the pop iteration of Fleetwood Mac exploded. By this time the music as industry had lost its way from my perspective. I never knew who David Geffen was until many years later and his narrative adds nothing of interest to ...more
Jan 15, 2009 Tanya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-of-life
I opened this book looking for information about the late singer, Judee Sill, and was drawn into Hoskyns' narrative about how many of these idealistic folkies of the 60's became big, bloated, spoiled, and egotistical cokeheads in the 70's and 80's.
Jim Colbert
While I enjoyed reading the content, I was annoyed that the iBook version includes neither a functional index nor photographs. Well researched, just a ripoff that a full price book purchased for my iPad didn't have content other versions do.
Aug 09, 2009 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't explain why I'm always drawn to this era of music, and am always reading about it. I think it's neat to learn the stories behind the songs. There was lots of boring stuff in there also.
Oct 04, 2013 Kahn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The late 60s and early 70s were the halcyon days for the singer-songwriter in LA.
David Geffen hadn't revealed himself to be the money grabbing businessman we know and love today, drugs were fresh and exciting and record labels allowed their artists time to develop and grow (for our younger readers, this was known as a 'career' - something that was meant to last longer than one series of X Factor).
It should be a fascinating time in music history, making for a fascinating read.
But it doesn't.
May 13, 2009 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It began in the late 1960s in a bohemian, artistic enclave in the canyons near Los Angeles. It spawned the singer-songwriter era of rock music and produced what would be called "the Southern California sound" and "country rock." It essentially ended in the 1970s as commercial success and millionaire lifestyles led to the disintegration of an edifice symbolized by "Hotel California."[return][return]That song title also serves befittingly as the title of Barney Hoskyns' exploration of that era. Wh ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Hotel California: The True Life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Mitchell, Taylor, Brown, Ronstad, Dessen, The Eagles, and their Many Friends, by Barney Hoskyns, Borrowed from the Library of Congress National Library for the Blind, Talking Book.

This is a wonderfully gossipy book by a British music journalist who takes us on a tour of some of the music of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, in particular, from the groups and people named in the title, and spanning the years from about 1965 to 1980. Wi
Aug 11, 2012 Daisy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who really know the songs of this era
from the preface: As Tom Waits ... puts it: "The trouble with history is that the people who really know what happened aren't talking and the people who don't ... well, you can't shut 'em up."

complementary--going through this and Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk at the same time

Nostalgic. This was never my favorite kind of music, but it is interesting when a certain place calls kindred souls to gather. I wish there were a Laurel Canyon map-of-the-stars although many of the ori
Aug 18, 2015 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and enlightening. For a musician like myself who grew up listening to the music of the 60s and 70s, putting many of those artists on somewhat of a "songwriter's pedestal," it was very enlightening to look at their lives and lifestyles from the inside rather than their publicity-outside, and see that not only were these young people regular, everyday humans like myself, unlike me, their lifestyles appear to have been very flawed.
A great read for any lover of rock and roll.
Kathleen Kelley
Feb 06, 2016 Kathleen Kelley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Person w/a deep knowledge of this time in music and ABSOLUTELY nothing else to do.
Really, between a 2 and 3 star. Nothing earth-shattering. Basically, just a re-hash of quotes and information pulled from other articles. It comes off as gossipy to me...who Joni Mitchell slept with, a lot about drugs, not too much about the actual groups or singers themselves and what they were thinking during this important time. A lot of people even I, as a person familiar with this music, had never heard of. And really, I didn't care that David Crosby had "a small mountain of cocaine" that h ...more
Mar 11, 2016 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up primarily because I was interested in a bit of the life of musician named Gene Clark, of the Byrds. He was born in the same small Missouri town as my mother. And apparently before he moved away my Grandmother a little simple country farm wife knew the family. It was just fun to put some pieces together about the story she told about him. Especially since Grandma and 1960's rock music most definitely did not mix.
Mar 03, 2016 Henk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since the was "my era" I enjoyed the book and the history it represents. I learned some interesting things both good and bad about the bands and music industry. It may not suit the current generation and maybe it won't be as interesting to you but honestly, you may be intrigued of what the music industry used to be about and the sad state it has become.
Bob Chupick
You need a road map for this book. Numerous names of singers/groups and songwriters from the late 60's and the early 70's plus their managers,producers,etc. Stories about sex and drugs and why groups broke up. I finally got to the point where I started to skim the pages to get it finished.
Jeff Tucker
Aug 08, 2009 Jeff Tucker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started me on a quest to read as many books as I could find on the singer/songwriters of the 60's and 70's. The book cronicles a time when the musical icons of this era were living in Laurel canyon in LA. They were hanging out together, dating each other and writing songs about it all. They spent their nights playing and listening to each other at the Troubadour. I loved the book and I was sorry when it ended. After you read the book, you should go to a web-site called " ...more
Matthew Purvis
Dec 16, 2014 Matthew Purvis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this well written, fact-packed account of the singer-song writers of the Laurel Canyon. It's an almanac of references to follow-up, helping me to check out some bands/artists I hadn't worked my way through to before. The paperback is surprisingly short considering how thoroughly researched it is. The narrative from hippy-ish community, to drug fuelled debauched creativity, to AOR success, to bloated self-indulgent commercialism all unfolds rather like a tragic novel. The lin ...more
Mar 10, 2014 Mia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love the gossipy bits about the canyon, the artists, etc. but there is so much to wade through to get there!
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