In the wake of Beatlemania exploding across America in 1964, many aspiring musicians were inspired to start their own rock band.
Some settled in Laurel Canyon, a low-rent suburb of Los Angles that resonated with the hippy philosophy. Among those flocking to the region were future icons like Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Frank Zappa, Michelle Phillips and Cass Elliot. Some of these musicians forged great groups, like The Byrds, The Mamas and the Papas, and CSN&Y, while others became rock gods in their own right.
Now, thanks to producer Lou Adler and Dylan's son Jakob Dylan, we have a sensational rockumentary revisiting that era. The film, “Echo in the Canyon,” features both archival concert footage and interviews with most of the artists mentioned. What a treat it is to see Ringo Starr reveal how close he and David Crosby were back in the day. And how about Dylan's discussing what it was like growing up in such a rich cultural environment? So, this makes for a magical walk down Memory Lane offering a fun ride for young and old alike.
The film's only flaw rests with performances by several next generation artists like Beck, Jade, and Jakob Dylan, who prove to be talented, but inappropriate for a movie focused on that time period. Furthermore, Jakob Dylan serves as interviewer of his fellow celebs, a task for which he is woefully prepared.
Otherwise, what a wonderful trip to remind us all of a pivotal moment in U.S. history.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG-13 for suggestive content and drug references
Running time: 82 minutes