Learning from Rock’n’Roll on Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip

  • Image
    Elevation of the Sunset Strip.
    Elevation of the Sunset Strip.
    Kelsey Malott
  • Image
    Elevation of the Sunset Strip.
    Elevation of the Sunset Strip.
    Kelsey Malott
  • Image
    Elevation of the Sunset Strip.
    Elevation of the Sunset Strip.
    Kelsey Malott
Author(s)
Kelsey Malott
Project Date

This thesis begins in 1964, as Jac Holzman, head of Elektra Records, sat in his West Hollywood office, considering Los Angeles’ unique car culture.  He noticed that the hand-painted billboards of the Sunset Strip were advertising “everything but records” and focused primarily on everyday products. The band The Doors led the way, in January of 1967, as a new billboard appeared on the Sunset Strip near the Chateau Marmont.  This billboard displayed a band born in Los Angeles, and it promoted their debut record album. It signalled a new direction for a whole generation. When considered alone, these tributes to Rock ’n’ Roll can be described as an economic form of art, but, when placed in such a dynamic urban landscape, they speak for the shock wave of their surroundings. This thesis investigates how the Rock ’n’ Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip, provided a foundation for the architectural/cultural revival of Sunset Boulevard through Rock ’n’ Roll music and capital flows.