LEGENDS OF THE CANYON delivers the story of the advent of rock music spawned in the garden of the Hollywood Hills, Laurel Canyon. Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Mamas and the Papas, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt and many other great artists of the era were all inhabitants of Laurel Canyon and brought to life the anthems of a generation from the hills of this idyllic, commune-like setting in the late 1960s. Their songs continue to inspire and LEGENDS OF THE CANYON takes you there. Adding depth, color and authenticity to the film, famed rock photographer Henry Diltz (CSNY’s official photographer) contributes a variety of original photographs, some never before exhibited as well as rare footage shot amongst the musicians that were the tribe of the Canyon. This CLASSIC ARTISTS film recalls that innocent time in intimate interviews with many of the great artists themselves, revealing the true tales of when dreams of peace, harmony and history-changing music echoed through the hills of Laurel Canyon and around the world.


“Legends of the Canyon” uses interviews with a variety of artists, rare footage and a collection of original photographs – some that have never before been exhibited – to capture the essence of the folk-rock era and the people who were responsible for it. When director Jon Brewer allows the rare footage and photographs to do the storytelling, “Legends of the Canyon” becomes quite the intimate musical journey. Many of Diltz’s pictures are enormously telling in and of themselves, providing us a glimpse into an extraordinary world that may never again exist.

The music scene of Laurel Canyon has been well documented through a variety books and movies. Laurel Canyon was where Miss Pamala found her super-groupie training wheels trying to shag Byrd Chris Hillman. Every LA music history has a chapter devoted to the goings on in this ‘Eden above Sunset.” This now almost-mythic place was where Frank Zappa was regualarly providing a place to crash and David Geffen was getting knotted up with business before becoming a Free Man in Paris.

These elder statesmen of Southern California rock were funny, candid and genuinely nostalgic for the times when they were making their most well known music. But, if this is truly about the “Legends of the Canyon” why didn’t we hear from more people? The Eagles and Jackson Browne aren’t even mentioned. Joni Mitchell is talked about many times and quite lovingly but… where is she? We see photos of her — but it would have been great to get a woman’s view of living in the canyon.


The DVD comes with original 8mm film footage taken from the original performances. There’s extended interviews and you get some bonus footage from the “Stills Tour”. There’s a few featurettes that are Buffalo Springfield heavy, but it continues the streak of ignoring the artists named throughout the film. You even get to see more of Henry Diltz’s photos and his acid trip. The A/V Quality is good enough for standard definition, but it lacks anything that screams impressive home theater bow. I’d recommend a rental.


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