about topanga

video

The video above shows many of the creative personalities that have lived, worked or hung out in the Canyon Community of Topanga.
Topanga State Park is one of the largest urban preserves in the world, boasting beautiful cliffs overhanging the canyon and the Pacific ocean. Topanga is known as a bohemian enclave attracting artists, musicians, and others.Topanga is the name given to the area by the Native American indigenous Tongva tribe, and may mean "a place above." It was the western border of their territory, abutting the Chumash tribe that occupied the coast from Malibu northwards.

During the 1960s, Topanga Canyon became a magnet to many new artists. Neil Young lived in Topanga where he recorded "After the Gold Rush" album in his basement studio in 1970. Charles Manson live in Topanga, where he had briefly befriended both Neil Young and Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys.

The Topanga Corral was a nightclub that featured an eclectic mix of performers, including then Topanga locals Canned Heat, Spirit, Little Feat, Spanky and Our Gang, Taj Mahal, Emmylou Harris, Etta James, Neil Young, and Crazy Horse, Geronimo Black,John Lee Hooker and many others. It is rumored that Jim Morrison was inspired to write "Roadhouse Blues" about the drive up Topanga Canyon Blvd to The Corral and Jim Morrison's advice is still good "keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel". Jim Morrison bought a house near the Coral for his wife Pamela while she was pregnant with their son, Cliff Morrison. Cliff was two years old when his father died.The Corral was located on Horseshoe Bend at 2034 Topanga Canyon Blvd. There are pictures of George Harrison and the Rolling Stones hanging out at the Corral, then the Corral burned in 1988, and it was the end of the road house history in the Canyon.

In the 1950s blacklisted actor Will Geer had to sell his large Santa Monica home and move his family to a small plot in the canyon where they could grow their own produce. Geer's friend Woody Guthrie had a small shack on the property. They founded what became an artists' colony. In the music field, Woody Guthrie was one of the first musicians who found a home there.

As nearby Los Angeles grew into a major music capital, Topanga became a preferred residence for many performers, including Taylor Hawkins, Neil Young, Billy Preston, Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Stephen Stills, Ed Cassidy and Randy California of Spirit (band), Bernie Leadon and the Don Felder of the Eagles, Jim Morrison and John Densmore of the Doors, Mick Fleetwood, Lowell George, Crowley, Toni Basil, Julia Fordham, Richie Hayward and Fred Tackett of Little Feat, Taj Mahal, Pee Wee Crayton, Big Joe Turner, Alice Cooper, Van Morrison, Tim Booth, Ryan Bingham, Mark Andes, Jay Ferguson and John Locke of Spirit (band), Bob Hite and Alan Wilson of blues band Canned Heat. Jimi Hendrix was a regular visitor. While living in the canyon Vince Furnier became Alice Cooper. On Steven Stills ranch in the canyon Eric Clapton, Jim Messina to Neil Young made music.

Actors who have lived in Topanga include Dennis Hopper, Keith Carradine, Robin Williams, Lynn Redgrave.Carole Lombard, Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogard and Peter Lorre had holiday houses in the Topanga Rodeo area in lower Topanga Canyon.




Some of the many creative people who lived, worked or just spent a lot of time in the mountain community of Topanga in Southern California.Topanga was a Mecca for musicians, directors and actors in the late 1960s.It is still today a special place of refuge for some of the world's most creative people.