“Hollywood Eden brings the lost humanity of the record business vividly back to life … [Selvin’s] style is blunt, unpretentious and brisk; he knows how to move things along entertainingly … Songs about surfboards and convertibles had turned quaint, but in this book, their coolness is restored.” — New York Times
From surf music to hot-rod records to the sunny pop of the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, the Byrds, and the Mama’s & the Papa’s, Hollywood Eden captures the fresh blossom of a young generation who came together in the epic spring of the 1960s to invent the myth of the California Paradise.
Central to the story is a group of sun-kissed teens from the University High School class of 1959 — a class that included Jan & Dean, Nancy Sinatra, and future members of the Beach Boys — who came of age in Los Angeles at the dawn of a new golden era when anything seemed possible. These were the people who invented the idea of modern California for the rest of the world.
But their own private struggles belied the paradise portrayed in their music. What began as a light-hearted frolic under sunny skies ended up crashing down to earth just a few short but action-packed years later as, one by one, each met their destinies head-on. A rock ’n’ roll opera loaded with violence, deceit, intrigue, low comedy, and high drama, Hollywood Eden tells the story of a group of young artists and musicians who bumped heads, crashed cars, and ultimately flew too close to the sun.