Netflix is full of classic music documentaries. This Is Spinal Tap, a comedy film released in 1984, set the standard for all the uproarious mockumentaries that followed. In a packed movie theatre filled with laughter, an unflinching Ozzy Osbourne sat, the humour eluding him. Ozzy found the unfolding rock ‘n’ roll madness so authentic that the ‘mock’ aspect simply didn’t register.
Any life thrust into the spotlight carries an air of intrigue, especially when it comes to music. Whether it’s the tales of pioneers battling against societal injustice, rock ‘n’ roll icons ensnared in their self-created chaos, or the capture of a fleeting moment of musical magic, music documentaries offer captivating glimpses into our cultural tapestry.
While there are countless music documentaries on the streaming platform, Netflix holds within its mits perhaps the greatest music documentary of all time, Echo in the Canyon. It’s a documentary which is sure to warm your bones.
Laurel Canyon in the late 1960s was where everything came together, and everything fell apart: bands, relationships, the Earth’s crust, you name it—everything was coalescing, and that led to fractures. The fractures, in truth, were inevitable, considering everyone was playing music, taking drugs and having sex with each other in a creative, liberated frenzy. How very Californian.
Bob Dylan’s son Jakob weaves his way through the history of this reverberating scene with the top-down in the old timeless neighbourhoods. It was loved by artists during that reverberating boom for the same reason it is loved by artists now: “To be that close to the Sunset Strip and yet you had a feel that you were in the country was beautiful.”
That might be so, but it’s not all that often when you’re out hiking in the rolling hills that you bump into Jim Morrison, Brian Wilson and Michelle Phillips within five minutes of each other. That was the reality in Laurel Canyon. And the only issue with the documentary is that it’ll leave you pining to time travel.
Watch the trailer for Echo in the Canyon below.