Just published is Hollywood Eden: Electric Guitars, Fast Cars, And The Myth Of The California Paradise, arguably the most important book ever written on the birth of California rock by legendary writer Joel Selvin. Selvin traces the early days of the L.A. rock scene, which in the late-1950's slowly transformed from being Manhattan's lowly industry stepsister to the defining the sound of American music. Hollywood Eden charts the course of key L.A. players — Phil Spector, Lou Adler, Jan Berry, Brian Wilson, and beyond — and sheds new and important light on how the city, renowned for its visuals, came to capture a new generation's heart and imagination through sound.

Selvin told us the icons of the era all shared common traits and emotional complexities — starting with the Bronx, New York transplant, Phil Spector: ["Y'know, this is a 17-year-old pretty dramatically stressed out from a personality point of view. Driven — so was Jan Berry. And that's the sort of thing that transforms, y'know, adolescents into phenomenons, is those kind of personality issues. Brian Wilson was certainly loaded with them, too."] SOUNDCUE (:17 OC: . . . with them too)

The aura around the L.A. stars and hitmakers played a huge part in the backstory to the records they produced. Selvin underscored how Jan Berry's 1966 car crash, which left him brain damaged and forever hobbled, only added to the Jan & Dean legend — and in some ways solidified their place in California rock: ["The whole timing of the accident and the 'Deadman's Curve' thing about it — all that — y'know, really, it's right away, it's a rock n' roll myth — and was recognized as such. The (1978) TV movie (on Jan & Dean) was the highest rated TV movie in history."] SOUNDCUE (:13 OC: . . . movie in history)

The core of Hollywood Eden brings the reader up close and intimate with the 1959 graduating class of West L.A.'s affluent public University High, which included Jan Berry, Dean Torrence, Nancy Sinatra, along with classmates Kim Fowley, and future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, and others: ["I don't think my books are about music; I think they're about musicians. And I see musicians as heroes, and that journey that they take, and that quest to slay the dragon, and all that archetypal stuff, is part of what I'm trying to tap. And these kids out of University High are kind of like a perfect storm to me. I couldn't shake that out of my head."] SOUNDCUE (:21 OC: . . . of my head)

To order Hollywood Eden: Electric Guitars, Fast Cars, And The Myth Of The California Paradise, log on to: Hollywood Eden – Amazon

For more info on Joel Selvin, check out his official website: JoelSelvin.com

Joel Selvin On ‘Hollywood Eden’ :

Joel Selvin On Jan Berry Car Accident :

Joel Selvin On Phil Spector, Jan Berry, and Brian Wilson :