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The Rolling Stones in Los Angeles: A Rock 'n' Roll Love Affair

For over half a century, The Rolling Stones have epitomized the raw power and rebellious spirit of rock 'n' roll. As they embarked on numerous tours and recorded iconic albums, Los Angeles became a significant backdrop and creative hub for the band.Let’s delve into the captivating history of The Rolling Stones in Los Angeles, exploring their enduring connection to the city, legendary performances, recording milestones, and the indelible mark they left on the cultural fabric of L.A.

The Rolling Stones burst onto the international music scene during the British Invasion of the 1960s, captivating audiences around the world. As their fame grew, Los Angeles beckoned, becoming a second home for the band. L.A.'s vibrant music scene, Hollywood glamour, and countercultural movements provided fertile ground for The Rolling Stones to establish their presence and push the boundaries of rock 'n' roll.

The Rolling Stones' electrifying live performances in Los Angeles are the stuff of rock 'n' roll legend. In 1965, they played their first major concert at the Hollywood Bowl, igniting a frenzy among fans. The Stones' subsequent performances at venues like the Shrine Auditorium and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum became iconic moments in the city's musical history. The band's larger-than-life stage presence and explosive energy left an indelible mark on audiences fortunate enough to witness their legendary shows.

Los Angeles served as a creative oasis for The Rolling Stones during their recording sessions. In 1968, they decamped to Los Angeles to record their landmark album "Beggars Banquet" at the renowned RCA Studios. The album, featuring timeless tracks like "Sympathy for the Devil" and "Street Fighting Man," showcased the band's evolving sound and marked a pivotal moment in their discography. The Stones continued to utilize L.A. studios for subsequent albums, including "Exile on Main St." (1972) and "Sticky Fingers" (1971), further cementing their association with the city.

As The Rolling Stones carved their place in Los Angeles' cultural tapestry, they became influential figures within the city's counterculture. Their hedonistic lifestyle, rebellious attitudes, and rock 'n' roll swagger resonated with the free-spirited ethos of L.A.'s creative scene. The band's presence in Los Angeles contributed to shaping the city's identity as a center of rock music and rebellion, leaving an enduring impact that still reverberates today.

Throughout their career, The Rolling Stones embraced iconic L.A. landmarks, forever linking their music to the city. The famous photo shoot for their 1971 album "Sticky Fingers" took place at the Hollywood Palladium, capturing the essence of the band's gritty rock aesthetic. The band also filmed music videos in L.A., including the memorable "Start Me Up" video, featuring the Stones cruising down Sunset Boulevard in a convertible. These visual representations further solidified the band's connection to the city.

The Rolling Stones' relationship with Los Angeles continues to reverberate through the city's cultural landscape. Their impact on subsequent generations of musicians, fashion, and rock 'n' roll culture remains undeniable. From the Sunset Strip to iconic venues like The Roxy and The Troubadour, their influence can still be felt in the city's thriving music scene. The Rolling Stones' timeless music and their deep-rooted connection to Los Angeles ensure their legacy will endure for generations to come.

The Rolling Stones' journey through Los Angeles stands as a testament to their status as rock 'n' roll icons. From legendary performances to groundbreaking recordings, their love affair with the city left an indelible mark on its cultural fabric. The Rolling Stones and Los Angeles continue to be forever intertwined, their influence woven into the city's rich musical history. As the band's enduring legacy persists, their rock 'n' roll spirit and rebellious energy will forever resonate in the heart of L.A.'s rock scene.


The Rolling Stones at Franklin Canyon -

1965. Images from this shoot were used for the artwork for the US release of their Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) album.

At first I couldn't place the ones that involved water as the only accessible lake today is the upper reservoir - these pics must have been taken around the lower reservoir before it was covered and made inaccessible to the public.

All photos by Guy Webster @guywebsterphotography.

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