Thursday, October 11, 2012
Flashback to the Sunset Strip's Rock 'n' Roll Billboards
Growing up off Sunset Boulevard (above Tower Records, RIP) in the 1960s and 1970s, a young Robert Landau was taken by the amazing rock 'n' roll billboards stationed up and down the Sunset Strip. They were monuments to rock star egos and homages to the explosion of rock as a modern social and cultural movement -- starting with The Doors.
A photography hobbyist, Landau grabbed his camera and chronicled these billboards. Landau eventually became a pro photographer -- but decades later dusted off his Kodachromes and hosted a slide show of his Sunset Strip pics. Countless people suggested he turn it into a book -- and after conducting interviews with artists, record producers and the designers who constructed the billboards, he has put together Rock 'n' Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip, a new coffee table book out on our fave imprint, Angel City Press.
What's fascinating about the book is the wild art work of these billboards -- all hand painted, by the way -- but also the snapshot of a bygone era on the Sunset Strip. The pics include long-gone businesses, signs and autos.
I got a chance to meet Landau (above) at a party for the book release a few weeks ago, and it was clear that this was truly a labor of love. The book is beautifully designed by Frans Evenhuis, who previously worked with Landau on another Angel City Press book, "Hollywood Poolside."
Landau has produced several L.A.-centric books, including 1984's "Outrageous L.A." (I also have a copy of that in my L.A. book collection). Watch this promotional trailer about the book. Priced at $50, it's a great holiday gift, and on sale now.