Los Angeles is often overlooked when it comes to cities with reputations for producing musical talent. However Los Angeles has a rich musical history and the the environment has produced many iconic musicians.
Throughout the thirties and forties Los Angeles has a roaring music scene with talent such as legendary jazz bassist Charles Mingus, big band leader Gerald Wilson, and jazz saxophonist Buddy Collette. L. A. was gearing to be a big music town as well as the the only west-coast hub for other creative talent but the in the fifties the scene died out.
The Sunset Strip was the place to be in California in the sixties and many successful bands got their start in this small area. The Doors, Dusty Springfield, Spirit, Love, and The Byrds all came up on the Sunset Strip, and The Beach Boys came up near by. During the sixties bands from around the country found refuge on the strip. Led Zeppelin, and Frank Zappa would perform at clubs along the strip.The area was the place to be in for musicians in the sixties and seventies. Clubs such as Whiskey a Go Go, the Roxy, London Fog, and Pandora’s Box were hotspots for established and up and coming musical talent. Many of these clubs still stand today and new and established talent performs weekly.
As music evolved, so did the scene in L.A. There was a Punk Rock emergence to rival England’s with bands like Black Flag and Wasted Youth making names for themselves around town.
A genre of alternative rock that was unique to Las Angeles emerged in the eighties. Paisley Underground may have been inspired by the Velvet Underground and bands such as the Bangles, Dream Syndicate, and Mazy Star would tour together after they all found each other in LA.
In L.A. in the eighties, west coast rap emerged and the idea of coastal differences in this style of music emerged. West Coast Rap labels featured bands such as DJ Flash, Ice T, Eazy E, and Too Short.
Hard Rock bands such as Motley Crue, Van Helen, Gun N Roses, Ratt, Metallica, Slayer gained worldwide fame after getting their start in L.A. in the 1980s.
Perhaps the credit for the worldwide fame many L.A. bands found in the eighties goes to MTV. The music television channel was headquartered in Las Angeles and launched in 1981. Many bands who would have strong local influence became idols during this time.
In the nineties acts such as Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Beck, Weezer, Sublime Tool, Rage Against the Machine Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg emerged in L.A. and became famous across the country.
The music scene in LA has only continued to grow in the last decade. There are many music venues that are now considered historic, while the music scene is still evolving within these places.
Musical voices emerging right now from the area include Moving Units, Rilo Kiley, Earlimart, Autolux, Scarling.Giant Drag, Best Coast, Abe Vigoda, Anavan, Ancestors, BARR, Foot Village, Carla Bozulich, Captain Ahab, David Scott Stone, Health, Laco$te, Lavender Diamond, The Mae Shi, Mika Miko, Nite Jewel, Mellowdrone, No Age, Silver Daggers, Thrones, and Hollywood Undead. These artist have already reached varying degrees of success, only time will tell how they go down in the history of the LA music scene.