Turn Up the Radio! : Rock, Pop, and Roll in Los Angeles 1956-1972

Turn Up the Radio! : Rock, Pop, and Roll in Los Angeles 1956-1972
by Harvey Kubernik Foreword by Tom Petty and Afterword by Roger Steffens
April 2014
Hundreds of Color and Black-and-White Photographs
California, Music
10 x 12

Combining oral and illustrated history with a connective narrative, Turn Up the Radio! captures the zeitgeist of the Los Angeles rock and pop music world between the years of 1956 and 1972.

Featuring hundreds of rare and previously unpublished photographs and images of memorabilia, this collection highlights dozens of iconic bands and musicians, including the Doors, the Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, CSN, the Monkees, the Rolling Stones, Ike and Tina Turner, Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, Ritchie Valens, Sam Cooke, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, Thee Midniters, Barry White, Sonny and Cher, and many others.

But recording artists heard on the AM and FM dial are only one part of the rich history of music in Los Angeles. Turn Up the Radio! digs deep to uncover the studio musicians, background vocalists, songwriters, producers, and engineers who helped propel the Los Angeles rock and pop music scene to such a legendary status. Bones Howe, Barney Kessel, Hal Blaine, B. J. Baker, Merry Clayton, Jack Nitzsche, Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Jim Keltner, Bobby Womack, Kim Fowley, Bruce Botnick, Dave Gold, and Stan Ross are just a few of the names recognized for their crucial contributions to the music created and produced in the recording studios of Los Angeles.

Finally, Turn Up the Radio! pays tribute to the DJs who brought the music of Los Angeles to fans throughout Southern California—and, ultimately, the world—including Art Laboe, Dave Hull, Robert W. Morgan, the Real Don Steele, Jim Ladd, Dave Diamond, Elliot Mintz, and Dick Clark. Their dedication to the music they played at such iconic radio stations as KHJ, KFWB, KRLA, KMET, and KLOS was critical to the development of popular music.

Packed with exclusive interviews, this one-of-a-kind keepsake of rock, pop, and roll in the City of Angels is a must-have for any music fan.


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Author Information

Harvey Kubernik

has been a noted popular music journalist and record producer for over 30 years. A former West Coast director of A&R for MCA Records, Kubernik is the author of four books, including Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon (Sterling). Kubernik’s writings on popular music have been published nationally and internationally in the Los Angeles Times, MOJO, Goldmine, Musician, Melody Maker, Crawdaddy!, the Los Angeles Free Press, and many others. His work has also been included in several book anthologies, including The Rolling Stone Book of the Beats (Hyperion) and Drinking with Bukowski (Thunder’s Mouth). Kubernik has penned liner notes on dozens of albums by a diverse group of artists including Elvis Presley, Allen Ginsberg, Carole King, and the Ramones. He lives in Los Angeles.


“Music journalist Kubernik (A Perfect Haze) takes readers on a nostalgic tour of the L.A. music scene at a pivotal period in pop music history. Compiling over 200 interviews (both original and borrowed) with musicians and behind-the-scenes personnel, Kubernik constructs the narrative as an oral history, sewing together anecdotal snippets by radio DJs like Art Laboe, songwriters like Mike Stoller, Jerry Leiber, and Lou Adler, and producers like Phil Spector. There are behind the scene tales of up and coming artists at work, who went on to become icons, such as Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher, The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, and more, including lesser known but highly respected players like singer Betty Jane Baker. Illustrated with candid photos, concert posters, newspaper clippings, ticket stubs, the book projects the enthusiasm of a personal scrapbook. Less of an authoritative history in scope, Kubernik hones the creative energy of the era and successfully presents the era’s atmosphere—an era where music transcended race, the summer of love and iconic festivals were in full swing, and music pioneers on the stage or behind the radio and labels were facing the ups and downs of the business. Color Photos.”
     —Publishers Weekly

“Music journalist Kubernik, building upon his excellent Canyon of Dreams (2012), captures the excitement of rock in Los Angeles from its inception to the early 1970s. Using more than 200 interviews, some previously published, which he conducted over the past 38 years, he pieces together an intriguing oral history of the musicians, songwriters, managers, producers, and DJs who dominated and shaped the L.A. scene….A lavishly illustrated and comprehensive view of rock and roll in Los Angeles by the people who created it that will interest all types of readers.”
     —Library Journal

“Gargantuan and sprawling, just like the City of Angels. . . . Kubernik is like the music super fan who saved all his Top 40 surveys and concert tickets, posters and celebrity photos, and found a perfect repository: this book. A bonus: The guy can write, and he includes interviews, of both stars and behind-the-scenesters—record producers, engineers and songwriters, as well as his beloved pop stars and DJs.”
     —Ben Fong-Torres, San Francisco Chronicle

“A golden-age coffee table book, and memorable for all sorts of left-field comment.”
     —Greil Marcus

“The book is filled with stories and photos of home-grown L.A. legends such as the Beach Boys, the Doors, the Byrds and the Mamas and the Papas. But it also includes acts such as Arthur Lee and Love, East Los Angeles legends Thee Midniters, the Little Richard-esque duo Don and Dewey and dozens more. And, in the area that most distinguishes it from nearly every other book on the L.A. scene, Kubernik focuses attention on the behind-the-scenes maestros, producers such as Phil Spector, Sonny Bono, and Kim Fowley, influential radio DJs such as Dave Hull, Art Laboe, and B. Mitchell Reed, as well as studio owners, recording engineers and music publishers and promoters.”
     —Orange County Register

“A love song to L.A.’s rock ‘n roll history, Turn Up The Radio! is a must-have book for any music-loving Angeleno.”
     —Los Angeles magazine

Turn Up the Radio! takes a trip back in time to the roots of rock in Los Angeles. Veteran music journalist and local native Harvey Kubernik’s coffee table tome is a treasure trove of vintage pics and historical anecdotes.”
     —Hollywood Reporter

“A massive, and massively cool collection of L.A. rock ephemera and recollections from classic acts of the 50s-70s, with an emphasis on the importance of local radio in the development of the groundbreaking music of that era. It’s one of those books where, right when you think every rare photo and nutty story has been unearthed, you open it and are blown away. Especially noteworthy are the loads of backstage and studio images. The book itself is doorstop big and heart-stop packed.”

“The Doors, The Beach Boys, Phil Spector and The Monkees helped establish L.A. as America’s rock and roll capitol. Harvey Kubernik’s book Turn Up the Radio! doesn’t just look at the songs and the frontmen, but the talent throughout the recording and radio industries that created and promoted this enduring era of music. Drawn from over 200 interviews blending music industry figures with the radio personalities that brought this music to the public and adding first-rate photography makes this coffee-table-sized book a comprehensive chronicle of the center of the American rock and roll universe.”
     —Hot Wax Daily, Premiere Radio Network

“This fine tribute to the musicians, DJs, movers and shakers who filled the Hills and Canyons with rock’n’roll noise between 1956 and 1972 is a fine addition to the West Coast canon. Containing stacks of rare and unpublished photographs and memorabilia, Turn Up The Radio! justifies the screamer, as it brings characters such as Dave Diamond, Art Laboe and The Real Don Steele to life just as they’re about to unleash new sounds on an unsuspecting audience. Kubernik’s knowledge of the scene is vast and he shares it with a generous passion and vivid eye for detail as his snapshots cajole Frank Zappa, The Doors and The Byrds — to name but three of the thousands cavorting inside these pages — into focus, providing an embellished oral history en route. There are also memorable recollections of The Beach Boys, with Brian Wilson “surfacing like a great white whale from some unfathomable depth” as he rejoins the group at Long Beach Arena in 1971. Because he hung out and dug the scene, Kubernik makes you feel like you’re sharing a hot dog with The Monkees or waving at Jack Nitzsche outside RCA Studios. Brilliant. 5 stars.”
     —Record Collector magazine

“Fans of classic rock will flip over this treasure trove of photos, interviews and other insider info about how the sizzling sounds of Southern California spread to the rest of America—and the rest of the world. This lovingly detailed illustrated narrative shines the spotlight on the Doors, the Beach Boys, the Byrds, the Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, Sonny & Cher, The Monkees, Elvis Presley and other acts that made the L.A. scene such a hotbed for performers of the era, plus the producers, recording engineers, studio musicians, DJs and others pivotal to the popular music’s formative West Coast years.”
     —Neil Pond, American Profile magazine

“Once again, music historian Kubernik puts an intense focus on his hometown’s contribution to rock history, resulting in an attractive cloth-bound book that spotlights the city’s radio DJs, producers, engineers and musicians, both famous and obscure. The book is a revelatory anecdote-filled ride.”
     —Music Connection