Hotel California: Singer-songwriters and Cocaine Cowboys in the L.A. Canyons 1967–1976

Barney Hoskyns

The story of a remarkable time and place: Los Angeles from the dawn of the singer-songwriter era in the mid-Sixties to the peak of The Eagles’ success in the late Seventies.

Hotel California is the first in-depth account of the scene – ‘the mythically tangled genealogy’, in the words of writer John Rockwell – that swirled around the brilliant singer-songwriters and powerful millionaires of the LA Canyons in the closing years of the 1960s and throughout the following decade.

Barney Hoskyns’ history of this vital period in the development of today’s great musical influences spans the rise of Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, The Eagles, James Taylor and Jackson Browne, and focuses on the brilliance and determination of the man who linked them all. David Geffen had set out to establish a ‘very small’ record label, Asylum Records, in 1971- twenty years later he sold his second label for a cool $550 million.

Drawing on extensive interviews with the stars, writers, managers, executives and scenesters who lived through the period, Hoskyns looks behind the sun-drenched, denim-clad image of the time, covering everything from the flighty genius of Mitchell and Janus-like volte face of Neil Young to the drug-crazed disintegration of David Crosby and others. He explores the myriad relationships – both professional and personal – between these artists and the songs that issued from them – classics like The Eagles’ ‘Desperado’, Jackson Browne’s ‘Take It Easy’ and Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’.

An epic tale of songs and sunshine, genius and greed, Hotel California has all the makings of a pop-culture classic.

Reviews of Hotel California: Singer-songwriters and Cocaine Cowboys in the L.A. Canyons 1967–1976

    • ‘if you are looking for the ingredients traditionally required of a good rock’n’roll story, then “Hotel California” has got the lot… An ambitious and authoritative account which makes overdue sense of a spectacularly decadent period of pop history’ David Sinclair, Guardian
    • ‘Hoskyns impresses with the sheer weight of testimony he has amassed and the skill with which he has woven it into a tightly coiled and elegiac narrative.’ Christopher Silvester, Sunday Times
    • ‘A terrific account of the interface between idealism and squalor, art and commerce.’ Guardian
    • ‘The author skillfully teases out the complex web of relationships between the artists, managers, and record executives who made up the West Coast’s self-styled bohemian elite.’ Ben Thompson, Independent