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Hotel California: The True-Life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Mitchell, Taylor, Browne, Ronstadt, Geffen, the Eagles, and Their Many Friends
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Hotel California: The True-Life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Mitchell, Taylor, Browne, Ronstadt, Geffen, the Eagles, and Their Many Friends

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,405 ratings  ·  132 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
Paperback, 324 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Wiley (first published 2006)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,405 ratings  ·  132 reviews


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Jason Coleman
Aug 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Melody
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was ok
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.
Ed
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Suvi
In my quests to become more educated about music (I know what I like, but I don't listen to music everyday and it's not my lifeblood, let alone that I would know albums by heart or be able to talk about music in detail and with conviction) and to find some good books about L.A. or other tropical palm tree-ish places for this incredible period of unusual heatwave, I thought Hotel California would combine these two in perfect union.

Turns out I might have made a poor choice, because I'm none the wi
...more
Rory
Feb 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Jeanette
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
This has thorough research and does capture the time and place in that part of L.A. to a T.
Alan Taylor
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It's not easy when you take someone who's basically right out of puberty and who becomes a millionaire responsible to no one."

Barney Hoskyns's 'Hotel California' is the story of the late '60s rise of country rock and its descent into late '70s AOR; idealism into hedonism; dope smoking, laid back hippies into cokehead, egotistical control freaks. Of course, there are those who were already halfway there even at the Laurel Canyon scene beginnings - Stephen Stills comes off particularly badly - an
...more
Deanna
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was so excited to read this book. I love this era and singer-songwriters are “my people”. However, after finishing the book, I am finding it hard to rate, since I really have mixed feelings about it.

On one hand, the writing is really bad. I almost gave up after the first chapter. Once you get through the whole book, you have no doubt of the author’s credibility, but he needed a real writer to help him create a story that flowed well. It’s full of highly detailed facts that sometimes seem incon
...more
Sluserfive
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 Sunset Strip to Laurel Canyon—of the creative and personal lives of the legendary songwriters, superstars, and producers who made ...more
Diane
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book but admittedly I'm pretty fanatical about this time period and the singer-songwriters of the period. This is a pretty comprehensive look at the rise (and sometimes the dramatic fall) of many of the artists that I grew up with. The brilliance of this group is hard to beat and I can't imagine what it must have been like to be surrounded by such a terrific cast of characters. If I have any gripe about the book it was a little lean on the songs themselves and a little heav ...more
Bruce Kirby
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was amazing! If you liked that whole scene and want to know more about the players then you should read this book. It read like butter (SNL pun).
Ethan Miller
Dec 11, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Joab Jackson
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
...more
PennsyLady (Bev)
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.

I
...more
Dan Pike
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Jan C
Oct 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: california, 2015, show-biz
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
Martin
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Jim Colbert
May 11, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Tanya
Jan 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Nikki
Aug 09, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
John
Oct 14, 2017 rated it liked it
About three months ago I read a group biography of Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and and Carly Simon, Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller, and really enjoyed it -- enough that I got very curious about the whole California scene, from folk/hippie rock to Warren Zevon. I started listening to music in earnest during the late 70s in the heyday of punk, and one was pretty much brainwashed into hating singer/songwriters and 70s corporate rock without distinction or nuance -- now I have enough distance that g ...more
Malcolm Frawley
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it
The generally closely-related group of bands & artists discussed in these pages were not high on my list of musical favourites. The late 60s/early 70s West Coast sound didn't appeal to me much, until Steely Dan. Interestingly Steely Dan are the least closely-related (to the dozens of others) band mentioned in this book. But it was a fascinating time & place, as the creation of heartfelt music slowly gave way to the business of making everyone money. There's a lot of money made, & the ...more
Dave Thomas
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A revealing, fascinating and in-depth account of the drug-fuelled rise and fall of the music scene in Los Angeles, California from the end of the 1960s into the 70s and beyond. All the familiar names are there - The Mamas and The Papas, The Byrds, The Eagles, Crosby Stills & Nash, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell. But the lesser known artists like JD Souther or Jackson Browne also have a pivotal role in the whole L
But for me, the tragedy of the life and death of Judee Sill affected me most as I rea
...more
Tony
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
For anyone with a liking for, or even an interest in, the West Coast sound as exemplified by artists such as The Mamas and The Papas, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Eagles of Tom Waits this is is a compelling look at the artists, managers, agents and record labels that created the genre.

Hoskyns has created a well researched history that, while not covering every aspect of what was a massive scene, is still compelling enough to keep you interested.

While your own personal favourite
...more
AustinT
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
The era covered in this book featured the music of my coming-of-age. I was a wanna-be singer-songwriter toiling away down here in San Antone at that time - sucked into that "Just as easy as fishin you can be a musician" nonsense. Never made it out of the woodshed. tho. I really liked the stories about the artists and their music. The in-fighting and drama concerning the record execs and others related to the business end was a bit boring. But the story can't be told without them, I guess. I reco ...more
Bill Saltarelli
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised how these mega music stars all shared humble beginnings in LA. Everyone knew about how crazy CSN was, adding Nash to the mix was great musically but the egos clashing was inevitable. Henley and Frey fighting? Wow. I was left with a new found appreciation for Joni Mitchell. Extremely talented and multiple relationships with various musicians makes the read more entertaining. I wish there were pictures!
Paul
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An account of the rise of the California singer-songwriter, the birth of country rock (tbh not a favourite genre), the Mephistofeles that was David Geffen, how to deal with egos the size of Jumbo Jets (CSNY), the devastation that heroin, cocaine and booze dealt to the scene (in memoriam Tim Buckley, Gene Clarke, Harry Nilsson, Judee Sill etc etc) and culminating in one of my nemesis bands The Eagles (shudder!). A great read all in all!
Wolf Hul
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking

A great story about the singer songwriters we grew up with. Heartbreaking because it chronicles the decline from a vibrant creative supportive community to a series of spoiled rich prima donnas. A great read that will have you looking up all those albums you haven't listened to in years.
James Doughty
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absorbing but ultimately superficial

Hoskyns does a good job of weaving between the stories of the various artists and other power brokers who created the LA country rock scene of the 1970s. Unfortunately he has chosen such a large cast of characters to cover that he is unable to delve deep enough with any of them.
Tim Trewartha
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyable read, but really one for fans of this type of laid-back, L.A. countrified rock and roll. I like some of it (Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Gene Clarke), some I loathe (Crosby, Stills, Nash, Eagles). David Geffen comes out of this book very badly. An easy read, and sometimes you really do have to just 'Take it Easy'. (see what i did there?)
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