Echo in the Canyon

2018; 1 h 22 m; PG-13 for drug references and some suggestive content

This documentary celebrates the popular music that came out of L.A.’s Laurel Canyon neighborhood in the mid-60s as folk went electric and the Byrds, the Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, and the Mamas and the Papas cemented the California Sound. It was a moment (1965 – 1967) when bands came to L.A. to emulate the Beatles and Laurel Canyon emerged as a hotbed of creativity and collaboration for a new generation of musicians who would soon put an indelible stamp on the history of American popular music. Hosted by Jakob Dylan, this film explores the Laurel Canyon scene via never-before-heard personal details behind the bands and their songs and how that music continues to inspire today.

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From FLICC:

Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds. Sloop John B by the Beach Boys. Monday, Monday by theMamas & the Papas. Who doesn’t have these songs in their iTunes collection? They blasted from transistor radios and cruising cars in the mid-60s and were the result of a mash-up between traditional rock and roll and folk music. The creators of this new genre helped move the music industry up a few rungs on the evolutionary ladder from Little Richard and Elvis. Home for most of the action was the Laurel Canyon neighborhood outside L.A.

This documentary celebrates these tumultuous times through interviews with big-name artists like Lou Adler, David Crosby, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne, Eric Clapton, Ringo Star, Michelle Phillips, Brian Wilson, and others. Jakob Dylan’s interviews are also interspersed with live performances of contemporary renditions of many of the era’s key songs with a little help from his friends: Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, Neil Young, Regina Spektor, Eric Clapton, and Beck. I inhaled it all, and The Beach Boys’ In My Room, which I’ve always found too juvenile, will never sound the same to me.” – Frank Batavick

Where to Watch:

Available on Netflix and for rent on Amazon Prime, Google Play, and YouTube.

Further Reading:

Guardian interview with Jakob Dylan
In this interview with The Guardian, Jakob Dylan (Echo in the Canyon‘s host) offers his take on how music collaboration has changed since the 60s and how the current pandemic might change the music industry as we know it.

Tom Petty’s final on-camera interview
Jakob Dylan reflects on his interview in the doc with the late Tom Petty, an interview that would end up being his last on-camera chat before he passed in October 2017.

Laurel Canyon docu-series on Epix
Read more about this other documentary special focusing on the Laurel Canyon music scene that aired last summer.

Listen to the soundtrack on YouTube
Hear the full album of classic covers featured in the film!