‘Rockin’ the City of Angels’: Inside Douglas Harr’s Great New Book

Rockin’ the City of Angels, my first publication, is off the presses, in the warehouse and now available for purchase. Here’s a bit about the book and how I came to write it so many years later.

When I was a teenager way back in the 1970s, I was lucky enough to be able to attend dozens of rock concerts staged in Los Angeles, the City of Angels. Rock music had become increasingly relevant to my life, and I was drawn to complex works and the challenging, sometimes fantastical elements of the genre known as “progressive rock.” My collection of records and concert ticket-book grew to include prog-rock bands like Genesis, Yes, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Pink Floyd – along with the more creative and powerful of their harder-rocking contemporaries like Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and Queen, as well as bands from North America like Kansas, Styx, and Heart.

My youthful fascination grew into a lifelong passion for music in general, and for progressive or classical rock music in particular. My enthusiasm was stoked by seeing these bands live in concert, where increasingly elaborate theatrical productions dramatized the themes of many of these concept albums. These concerts were almost religion to my growing list of fellow concertgoers.

I wrote Rockin’ the City of Angels as homage to rock music of the ‘70s — in concert and on film. It tells the story of more than three-dozen key concert performances from this era, illuminating the genius of the best progressive and classical rock acts whose concerts I was lucky enough to attend. I spent two years tracking down a selection of iconic photographs from those unforgettable events. In the process, I’ve been fortunate to meet many of the talented photojournalists of the era – including Neal Preston, Armando Gallo, Jorgen Angel, Neil Zlozower, Lisa Tanner, Jim Summaria and many others. Many thanks go out to these artists, who captured these consummate rock musicians in their prime, frozen in time in arresting images.

In addition, I’ve combed through more than 100 rock films from the decade, all part of my private collection. TV appearances, professionally filmed 35mm movies — even celluloid left in the can for years, sometimes decades after light hit the film — are finally getting home video or streaming media release. I remember going to see many of these films at the local cinema that featured Led Zeppelin, Yes, AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Paul McCartney and Wings, and so many others. Now, just about every major band of the era can be seen performing live in one format or another, thanks to the dedicated teams at Eagle Rock Entertainment, Warner Home Video, and others who are helping to keep their legacies alive and to introduce the power and majesty of this adventurous music to new generations.

Although some of these bands are still touring, their time is waning, and soon these films will be the only way to recapture their extraordinary live performances. I believe these films are important documents of rock music performance in our life times. Those of us who were there found more than just good times at these concerts. Those shows brought us together to share profound, even life-changing experiences that bonded us forever.

Douglas Harr

Douglas Harr

Doug is a life long rock music aficionado, attending an average of about 15-20 concerts a year, and collecting audio and concert films. He has been sharing music and concert reviews, industry news, and other views with other music lovers globally via his blog at diegospadeproductions.com. Doug lives in San Francisco with his wife Artina.
Douglas Harr