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House of Anansi Press

Hollywood Eden

Electric Guitars, Fast Cars, and the Myth of the California Paradise

Written by Joel Selvin

Published April 06, 2021 | ISBN 9781487007225

Cover of Hollywood Eden

Regular price $39.95 CAD

320 pages
Digital Format

Also Available in Print

About this book

Hollywood Eden

Electric Guitars, Fast Cars, and the Myth of the California Paradise

Joel Selvin

From the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean to the Byrds and the Mamas & the Papas, acclaimed music journalist Joel Selvin tells the story of a group of young artists and musicians who came together at the dawn of the 1960s to create the lasting myth of the California dream.

From surf music to hot-rod records to the sunny pop of the Beach Boys and the Mamas & the Papas, Hollywood Eden captures the fresh blossom of a young generation who came together in the epic spring of the 1960s to invent the myth of the California Paradise. Central to the story is a group of sun-kissed teens from the University High School class of 1959 — a class that included Jan & Dean, Nancy Sinatra, and future members of the Beach Boys — who came of age in Los Angeles at the dawn of a new golden era when anything seemed possible. These were the people who created the idea of modern California for the rest of the world.

But their own private struggles belied the paradise portrayed in their music. What began as a light-hearted frolic under sunny skies ended up crashing down to earth just a few short but action-packed years later as, one by one, each met their destinies head-on. A rock ’n’ roll opera loaded with violence, deceit, intrigue, low comedy, and high drama, Hollywood Eden tells the story of a group of young artists and musicians who bumped heads, crashed cars, and ultimately flew too close to the sun.

About the Author

Joel Selvin

JOEL SELVIN is an award-winning journalist and music critic who covered pop music for the San Francisco Chronicle for over thirty-five years. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, Billboard, and Melody Maker, and he has contributed liner notes to dozens of recorded albums. Selvin is also the bestselling author of over a dozen books about pop music, including Fare Thee Well: The Final Chapter of the Grateful Dead’s Long, Strange Trip; Altamont: The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels, and the Inside Story of Rock’s Darkest Day; and Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues. He lives in San Francisco.

Awards and Praise

“A jukebox musical of a book … If Altamont marked the premature end of the 1960s, Hollywood Eden is the decade’s origin story, capturing the lingering 1950s and the transition in Southern California music from surfing and hot rods to the singer-songwriters of the canyons.”