Sunset Strip Billboards

(ca. 1980)* - Night view of large billboards along Sunset Strip with automobile headlights creating a neon-like streak.  


Historical Notes

The Strip has a long tradition of innovative and memorable signage. In the 1960s and ‘70s making it “big” for musical artists meant a custom-painted billboard on Sunset Strip.




(1980)* - View looking west from the northern side of Sunset Boulevard near Chateau Marmont at night. It is a part of the famous "Sunset Strip", the mile and a half stretch of Sunset Boulevard passing through West Hollywood. Large billboards for the "Jazz Singer", "Popeye", "Ordinary People", and Marlboro cigarettes are present on both sides of Sunset Boulevard. Shown in the distance is the yellow neon sign of Imperial Gardens Restaurant, later demolished, located at 8225 Sunset Boulevard.  


Historical Notes

In the 1970s, the Sunset Strip became known for its prolific billboard advertising, especially by musicians and record companies promoting new albums, according to Robert Landau’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip.”




(1969)^x^ – Close-up view of the Sunset Strip billboard for the Beatle’s Abbey Road Album. - ROCK N' ROLL BILLBOARDS OF THE SUNSET STRIP  





(1978)^.^ - ABBA in front of their billboard on Sunset Strip.  


Historical Notes

The Swedish pop group ABBA formed in Stockholm in 1972 by Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The group's name is an acronym of the first letters of their first names. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1982.*




(1970)##^*- Linda Ronstadt billboard atop Liquor Locker at 8161 Sunset on the Sunset Strip.  


Historical Notes

Author Andrew Greeley, in his book God in Popular Culture, described Ronstadt as "the most successful and certainly the most durable and most gifted woman Rock singer of her era." Signaling her wide popularity as a concert artist, outside of the singles charts and the recording studio, Dirty Linen magazine describes her as the "first true woman rock 'n' roll superstar ... (selling) out stadiums with a string of mega-successful albums." defines her as the American female rock superstar of the decade. Cashbox gave Ronstadt a Special Decade Award, as the top-selling female singer of the 1970s.

By the end of 1978, Ronstadt had solidified her role as one of rock and pop's most successful solo female acts, and owing to her consistent platinum album success, and her ability as the first woman to sell out concerts in arenas and stadiums hosting tens of thousands of fans, Ronstadt became the "highest paid woman in rock".  She had six platinum-certified albums, three of which were number 1 on the Billboard album chart, and numerous charted pop singles. In 1978 alone, she made over $12 million (equivalent to $44,000,000 in 2016 dollars) and in the same year her albums sales were reported to be 17 million – grossing over $60 million (equivalent to a gross of over $220,000,000, in 2016 dollars).*




(1974)^.^ - Sunset Strip billboard reads: The Summer of ’74 Begins with WAR at the Hollywood Bowl… Guest Starts: RARE EARTH.  Other signs include: Mandarin House Restauarant, Watergate Dog, VIVA, and The Music Hall.  





(1960s)^.^ – Billboard advertising the 93/KHJ which helped cultivate a love for rock and roll in the 60’s and 70’s (along with KRLA).  The small but popular Villa Frascati Restaurant, 8117 Sunset, is located directly east of the sign.  


Historical Notes

KHJ (AM) was a nationally noted Top 40 station from 1965 to 1980.

In 1965, programming consultant Bill Drake crafted KHJ's top-40 format. Drake hired program director Ron Jacobs, who had created formats in Hawaii and California. The format featured a restricted playlist and restrained commentary by announcers (although a few, such as Robert W. Morgan, Charlie Tuna, Humble Harve Miller, and The Real Don Steele, were allowed to develop on-air personalities). Other DJs from 1965-68 included Roger Christian, Gary Mack, Dave Diamond, Sam Riddle, Johnny Williams, Frank Terry, Johnny Mitchell, Tommy Vance, Scotty Brink, Steve Clark, Bobby Tripp, Tom Maule and Bill Wade. Part of the format, known as "Boss Radio", were jingles by the Johnny Mann Singers.*




(1983)* - A view of Sunset Boulevard showing Carneys Diner, located at 8351 Sunset Blvd with large billboard advertising Hustler Magazine in the background.  


Historical Notes

Carneys first opened its doors in 1968. John Wolfe Sr., a local radio executive, decided to build his burger joint from two aging Union Pacific rail cars. Carneys quickly became a landmark on the Sunset Strip, specializing in Hot Dogs and Hamburgers.*^^^^




(1984)##^* – View showing a bicycle parked in front of Carneys Diner on Sunset Boulevard with the Sunset Tower in the background.  





(2001)*^ - A potpourri of billboards surround Carneys Diner on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.  





(1984)^^^^ – View looking northeast showing traffic on Sunset Boulevard. In the background can be seen three large billboards advertising performing artists: (left to right) Eddie Money, Cher, and Judy Collins.  In 1984 West Hollywood became an incorporated city. Photo Courtesy of Robert Landau  


Historical Notes

By 1984, the arrival of new businesses and new residents had transformed West Hollywood. Gays and lesbians sought refuge from the regressive policies of Los Angeles and other cities in the island of county-administered land. There they joined Russian Jewish immigrants and a large concentration of seniors.

Soon a coalition—composed of residents concerned by out-of-control development, tenants anxious about the imminent expiration of Los Angeles County's rent control law, and gays and lesbians troubled by the possibility of annexation to L.A.—coalesced around the idea of cityhood. On Election Day 1984, with a population consisting of approximately 85 percent renters and perhaps 50 percent gays and lesbians, West Hollywood voted for incorporation and elected a majority of openly gay city council members. On November 29, 1984, the town born of a rail yard became the City of West Hollywood. – Nathan Masters^




(1991)^.^ – Only in Hollywood!  View showing a scantily clad woman* carrying a grocery bag walking west on Sunset Boulevard toward the 70-foot Marlboro Man.  


Historical Notes

This is actually a photo of model Naomi Campbell taken by Ellen von Unwerth.




(1985)##^* – View looking northwest on Sunset Boulevard toward the Hollywood Hills showing billboards for Rocky IV, KIIS FM, and the Marlboro Man.  Part of the roofline for Great Western Savings and Loan can be seen on the left.  





(1990s)*# – View looking northwest on Sunset Boulevard from Crescent Heights showing McDonalds, Great Western Bank, and the iconic Marlboro Man.  


Historical Notes

In 1999 the 70-foot Marlboro Man on the Sunset Strip was dismantled.  This was the beginning of the phasing out of tobacco billboards across Los Angeles. The billboards were banned as part of a $206-billion agreement that cigarette makers signed to settle state lawsuits.^^#




(2004)^^+ – View looking northeast showing the Sunset Strip with the Hollywood Hills in the background.  Further back are the San Gabriel Mountains with snow-capped Mt. Baldy at upper-right.  





(2010s)++^^ - Night view of the Sunset Strip looking northeast. Tower Records can be seen in the lower left.  





(1970s)* – Billboards and signs are everywhere near the corner of Sunset and Horn Avenue, with Tower Records seen on the right.  





(1970s)^^^^ - Time-lapsed night photo showing Tower Records and its full parking lot on the Sunset Strip. Photo Courtesy of Robert Landau  


Historical Notes

In 1971, Tower Records moved into the building located at 8801 Sunset Boulevard. It was the first Southern California location for the Sacramento-based Tower chain and quickly became its flagship store thanks to its proximity to the music industry which had migrated to Los Angeles from New York in the 1960s.*#*#*

Before Tower Records opened, the building was a music store and showroom for "Madman" Muntz's Stereo Paks, the first successful car stereo system "and a popular hangout for teenagers in the '60s." (In addition to inventing 4-tracks, Muntz popularized the nickname "TV" for television.)^#^#^

Prior to the construction of the Muntz Stereo Building, there was a succession of three drive-in restaurants located on this lot (NW corner of Sunset and Horn):  Simon's Drive-in, Dolores’ Drive-in, and Jack’s on the Strip Drive-in.



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