Moments in American Music from the Corbis Photographic Archive

The Doors at the Hard Rock Cafe,
Los Angeles, 1969
Henry Diltz Corbis

LondonMusic

Those Really Were the Days

Rewind to the music scenes of 1960s Laurel Canyon and '70s New York...

Crank up the rock’n’roll nostalgia klaxon and let it rip for Both Sides Now: Moments in American Music from the Corbis Photographic Archive. You can’t get a much more explanatory title than that, so assuming you’ve got the gist, I’ll fill in some details.

The sides in question are the coasts of America, and more precisely the creative hotbeds of Laurel Canyon in California and Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Laurel Canyon, a super-hip ‘burb in the Hollywood Hills, was perhaps at its creative peak in the 1960s, and it’s this era that the exhibition delves into. It comes across as a warm, bright, optimistic place and time, which has yet to suffer the full, horrific comedown from its extended peace and love trip. In one image, while the light glares down outside, The Doors kick back in remarkably restrained fashion, enjoying a beer in a shady neighbourhood bar just a couple of years before the death of the already peaky-looking Jim Morrison. The band were just one of the legion of famous musicians Henry Diltz shot around the Canyon in the late 1960s.

The times they were a-changin’ though, and the following decade saw the emergence of new wave acts in downtown New York, which provide the second side of the exhibition coin. Things go from full colour to moody black and white as Chuck Pulin takes over camera duties and the acts get angrier. This star-studded collection covering two of the most important periods in modern music is being exhibited in London at the National Theatre’s Lyttelton Exhibition Area from 7 April to 1 June.

@NationalTheatre

Moments in American Music from the Corbis Photographic Archive

David Crosby and Joni Mitchell in Car, 1969
Henry Diltz Corbis

Moments in American Music from the Corbis Photographic Archive

The Ramones,
CBGB’s NYC, 1976
Chuck Pulin/Corbis

Moments in American Music from the Corbis Photographic Archive

Mama Cass lying on blanket, 1968
Henry Diltz Corbis

Moments in American Music from the Corbis Photographic Archive

Talking Heads, NYC 1978
Chuck Pulin/Corbis

Moments in American Music from the Corbis Photographic Archive

Patti Smith in recording studio
recording her debut album, Horses 1975 NYC
Chuck Pulin/Corbis

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