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Music billboards on the Sunset Strip from 1974-75. (SLFlickr, but oh what a Flickr!)
February 25, 2012 4:31 PM   Subscribe

Music billboards on the Sunset Strip from 1974-75. (SLFlickr, but oh what a Flickr!) An amazing series of photos scanned from 35mm slides and negatives of music-related billboards on the fabled Sunset Strip from 75-75. A beautiful collection of artwork incorporating more than just promotional flats and album blow-ups. I believe some of these are even painted by hand. Enjoy!
posted by Senor Cardgage (38 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, nice find. Those are amazing. And cigarette billboards! I'd almost forgotten about those.
posted by sleepy pete at 4:37 PM on February 25, 2012


"Stuck in the star-making machinery. . ."

-Joni Mitchell
posted by Danf at 4:38 PM on February 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


These were incredible to see. Brought back some great memories of some splashy, old ad campaigns too. Thanks for a great post.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 4:43 PM on February 25, 2012


As a graphic designer myself, this set makes me wish I could go back in time and get a job working in the industry at the height of this kind of lavishness
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:47 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great find and thanks for my new desktop background:
posted by Blue Meanie at 4:54 PM on February 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't wanna go to Sunset Strip
I don't wanna feel the emptiness
Old marquees with stupid band names
I don't wanna go to Sunset Strip
Cake, "Sheep Go to Heaven"
posted by lumensimus at 5:07 PM on February 25, 2012


Damn, this is great. Thanks!
posted by blucevalo at 5:14 PM on February 25, 2012


NEIL SEDAKA IS BACK?! AWESOMee... oh waitaminit
posted by not_on_display at 5:15 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, fabulous. Big thanks for the post.

Slideshow viewing recommended!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:26 PM on February 25, 2012


Can anyone tell what's going on in this image? I can see one dude in a vest... then there's like, what seems at first to be another person, but like no face... and there's this random hand comming out of the bottom of the image, and something that looks like weird band across it... I thought maybe it was a sword or maybe a crease in a reflective surface?

Anyway, it's confusing as hell.
posted by delmoi at 5:43 PM on February 25, 2012


Johnny Mathis really got around, back in the day.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:03 PM on February 25, 2012


Can anyone tell what's going on in this image?

Well, it's clearly a picture from the photo shoot for Donovan's 7-Tease album that's been heavily distorted, but that's all I've got.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:05 PM on February 25, 2012


Mac Davis, Foghat, Helen Reddy, Nazareth... the golden age of music.
posted by stargell at 6:06 PM on February 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Awesome. I was hoping (against hope, I suppose) that there would have been a shot of a billboard promoting Genesis's "Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" show at the Shrine in January 1975.

Boy, is there any form of art history (or really any history) better than the collection of ephemera? Tells a truth about a time and a place better than just about anything.

My guess is that the ad agencies have slides in their archives of literally every billboard ever erected in key "opinion maker" locales in New York and LA ... would be an great thing to see.
posted by MattD at 6:10 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


My guess is that the ad agencies have slides in their archives of literally every billboard ever erected in key "opinion maker" locales in New York and LA ... would be an great thing to see.

Well, future generations will certainly be made aware that 50% of all marriages end in sweatpants, that's for sure.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:19 PM on February 25, 2012


I wonder if the point of these billboards wasn't (isn't? I assume the practice continues) to impress the acts themselves and make an industry statement. In terms of bang for the buck—album and ticket sales—you probably would have captured more eyeballs on the Long Beach Freeway or the 405. Or the Jersey Turnpike for that matter.
posted by stargell at 6:23 PM on February 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Mac Davis, Foghat, Helen Reddy, Nazareth... the golden age of music."

Hair of the Dog by Nazareth really is pretty great.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:50 PM on February 25, 2012


That Billy Preston billboard looks really bad in retrospect.
posted by euphorb at 6:58 PM on February 25, 2012


I love looking at the things surrounding the billboards. I just like to see snapshots in time, what used to be. Especially the cars.
posted by narcoleptic at 7:25 PM on February 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not the most interesting billboard in the bunch, but oh, to catch a glimpse of Schwab's Pharmacy and Googie's (apparently "The Gold Coin Restaurant" by 1974-75)! I spent most of my time in L.A. feeling like I had gotten there at least 20-50 years too late.
posted by usonian at 7:40 PM on February 25, 2012


Hair of the Dog by Nazareth really is pretty great.

...it's "Day Tripper" (as is "Wind Me Up" by Ghost Hounds), but yes, it is pretty great. "Day Tripper" is an archetype, same as "Sweet Home Alabama" is (viz Soundgarden's "Burden in My Hand" and Madonna's "Don't Tell Me", both of which are also pretty great).
posted by biscotti at 8:34 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nazareth's version of Morning Dew is pretty heavy too.
posted by stargell at 9:17 PM on February 25, 2012


Oh yeah, that was a trip down memory lane. I used to live off Sunset around 1982 to 84. It brought back the same reaction I always had, "who in the hell would buy this crap?" Although I do admit to having a soft spot for the billboards someone bought for their mistress's vanity album.

It was quite nostalgic for me, seeing all the local landmarks. Hey there's Liquor Locker. Hey there's the Marlboro Man. Hey there's Chateau Marmont. You know, when I moved away from Sunset, my new place wasn't quite ready yet so I thought, hey I'll see if Chateau Marmont has any rooms available for a week or so, that might be fun even if it was expensive. I called them up, the conversation went like this:

Me: I'd like to inquire about room availability and rates.
CM: AHAHAHAHAHA ..click
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:25 PM on February 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


And if California slides into the ocean
Like the mystics and statistics say it will
I predict this motel will be standing
Until I pay my bill
posted by Meatbomb at 11:22 PM on February 25, 2012


Licorice FUCKING Pizza!

Oh my.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:39 AM on February 26, 2012


Lena Zavaroni!! holy cow!

Awesome post.
posted by marienbad at 2:55 AM on February 26, 2012


I believe some of these are even painted by hand.

Being pretty-much vanity one-offs, it's a safe bet all of them are hand-painted.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:48 AM on February 26, 2012


Personally, I'm enjoying the period typography. This is the era when I began training in graphic design. This is all very familiar stuff.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:50 AM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lena Zavaroni!! holy cow!

Marienbad, this Mefi post from last year introduced me to her, actually. Just in case you missed it...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:54 AM on February 26, 2012


Great post - thanks.
posted by davebush at 5:17 AM on February 26, 2012


The billboards themselves are great, but I really enjoy looking at everything that's around them.
posted by freakazoid at 6:27 AM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Joan Rivers ad is the best part of this whole thing.
posted by basicchannel at 7:16 AM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the point of these billboards wasn't (isn't? I assume the practice continues) to impress the acts themselves and make an industry statement.

Something. Hollywood is often covered with ads that you never see anywhere else. Target audience.
posted by bongo_x at 10:26 AM on February 26, 2012


The thing that struck me most, is how classy most of the design is.
If you accept the hazy That 70's Show nostalgic view of that era, you'd expect everything to be covered in swirls and blobby fonts and lava lamp-esque imagery when in reality it seems most of that stuff was over by the mid-70s in favor of a cleaner aesthetic.
And the variety of styles is really impressive too.

I was surprised to see that the neo-Art Deco style had already started becoming a thing in a lot of these. I had always imagined that that was much more of a late 70s Xanadu-era look.

I could sit here staring and trying to decode these all day long.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:18 PM on February 26, 2012


I realize that I probably have a different view of the 70’s, having grown up in that time, that younger people who get their impression from TV and movies. Now I know how my parents felt when I tried to get them to explain why Happy Days was not really like their lives growing up, but not totally wrong either.
posted by bongo_x at 5:14 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always forget there was a time when Burt Reynolds was considered a sex symbol.
posted by crossoverman at 6:14 PM on February 26, 2012


But this is my favourite - with the even more classic cars in the front. And, yeah, the billboard itself!
posted by crossoverman at 6:17 PM on February 26, 2012


I was born in 1974, and didn't really become aware of pop music until Reagan was already president. So what really strikes me in these billboards is how *old* the pop stars are. By the time I was listening to the radio, any visible signs of aging had been ruthlessly removed from the industry, so all these singers with their beards, children, crows feet... It feels like it's coming from an alternate universe.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:06 PM on February 26, 2012


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