The Militant was fortunate enough to see a free screening this past June as part of California Plaza's Grand Performances in Downtown (as usual, he will only tell you about his whereabouts after the fact). Without going into too much detail, the film was the Los Angeles version of Standing in the Shadows of Motown, albeit with a more personal (the film was directed by the son of one of the musicians) and historical angle to it (Go see it, folks, it's Militant Approved!).
Literally just a few blocks down Vine Street from the Arclight was Gold Star Recording Studios, a facility that once stood on 6252 Santa Monica Blvd. Built in 1950, it was the place on this entire planet Earth from which songs such as (Pacoima local!) Richie Valens' "La Bamba," Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe," The Champs' (Los Angeles locals) "Tequila" and a great deal of the equally legendary Pet Sounds album from The Beach Boys (
Now, forgive the Militant as he rambles about Pet Sounds for the duration of this paragraph. Though it's not of his generation, the Militant got into it during his college years and instantly felt "in tune" with the whole vibe of the recording. To the Militant, its wistful moodiness and echoey orchestral timbres created a virtual aural window into the Southern California of the mid-late 1960s, conjuring up images of large automobiles driving in the then-uncongested streets under sunny, yet slightly hazy kodachrome skies. Not that the Militant longs for those days, but that the music and voices from Brian Wilson and the rest of those
The same album that Sir Paul McCartney said was the inspiration for the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heats Club Band, which he felt was still inferior to the Beach Boys' product. Made in Los Angeles, folks. End of ramble.
The studio lasted until 1983 and the building was destroyed in a fire in '84. Predictably, yes, a mini-mall stands there today (pictured left). The same location where some of the greatest tunes in rock history were created is now a place where Philly chessesteaks are made (Okay quit the chuckling, all you transplanted Philadelphians). The Militant recently paid homage to the site, trying to picture a hazy kodachrome day where Brian Wilson or Herb Alpert or Sonny Bono or even this guy would step out of some large, bulky automobile and walk through the studio's front door. But wouldn't it be nice?