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Publisher's Summary

The very strange but nevertheless true story of the dark underbelly of a 1960s hippie utopia. Laurel Canyon in the 1960s and early 1970s was a magical place where a dizzying array of musical artists congregated to create much of the music that provided the soundtrack to those turbulent times.

Members of bands like the Byrds, the Doors, Buffalo Springfield, the Monkees, the Beach Boys, the Turtles, the Eagles, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Steppenwolf, CSN, Three Dog Night, and Love, along with such singer/songwriters as Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, James Taylor, and Carole King, lived together and jammed together in the bucolic community nestled in the Hollywood Hills.

But there was a dark side to that scene as well. Many didn't make it out alive, and many of those deaths remain shrouded in mystery to this day. Far more integrated into the scene than most would like to admit was a guy by the name of Charles Manson, along with his murderous entourage. Also floating about the periphery were various political operatives, up-and-coming politicians, and intelligence personnel - the same sort of people who gave birth to many of the rock stars populating the canyon. And all the canyon's colorful characters - rock stars, hippies, murderers, and politicos - happily coexisted alongside a covert military installation.

©2014 Headpress (P)2017 Headpress

What listeners say about Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ever wondered why some bands make it big??

This was an excellent insight into how the music industry has built itself up into the decadent monster that it is. It used to nag at me how a good song or a talented band never makes it, how some are promoted and some are not. In the end, its all about how much you are willing to sacrifice and who you are. I believe no one becomes famous by accident, no one makes it big because they have all the talent, fame is a construct, a carrot dangled to the masses that will never be reached.
Its easy to see how these people involved at the outset in Laurel Canyon were less than blessed with ability, but who they were born too. The shadow governments that run almost all countries use any weapon it can against its people, the world we live in, is as fake and false as it gets. War and fake terrorism to create fear and programs the weak minded to give up their freedoms to very people who are terrorizing them. They are distracted by music, movies, materialism, the drugs that governments flood each country with.
This book shows how easy it was and how it would be easy to spread the message. How to control the masses who are turning against you. Just like in Europe, they used the very same cultural controls with music and fashion, women's lib, divide and conquer to shape the current climate. This book goes behind the curtain to see how you can make a talentless band look plausible, how you can push music that is appalling and convince the public that it is great music. How to sell a drug that will destroy your life and not ask any questions. How the so called justice system is just a mafia who control all of these events, substances, create serial killers and push them into the public domain. So many iconic figures are included in this book, all relative, interconnected. Relationships where none appeared to exist. How someone can come from nowhere and become a massive star, who they really are....surprised to find that they aren't just a nobody. Sex drugs and rock n roll was created, it never happened organically, neither did any of the groups or individuals. A new religion is thrust upon the masses, a new way of believing, whatever these people say must be true. Music carrying hidden messages, manipulating the subconscious and how the CIA are were in the middle of it all, controlling it all along.
Everything you could want is included in this book by a brilliant author, someone who has gone far too soon. I recommend that you read this book, it will open your eyes to a lot of what was going on then, in the world and what is still going on now...

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great story, terrible narration

the story is interesting. too bad I can barely follow along because of the terrible narration.

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Poorly written, annoying experience

The worst written conspiracy-laden concoction I have ever experienced. Subject matter interesting but author’s style was not for me. Filled with nudge nudge wink wink phrases such as, “I don’t have to tell you” “if you can believe it” “Get ready for this” “You’re not going to believe this” making it really hard to listen to or take seriously. Tries in vain to create case that Laurel Canyon hippies were working for CIA. Really?!

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  • Robert
  • 2019-06-30

My first review. This book changed me.

My first review in 15 years of being an Audible member.

McGowan tells the familiar story of 1960s Southern California rock music. But he takes small background details, overlooked and ordinary, and finds a mystery:

(1) Is it a coincidence that all of the Southern California rock bands, major and minor, had family ties to the Pentagon/CIA?

(2) Is it a coincidence that all of these bands simultaneously moved into Laurel Canyon, before Los Angeles had any "music scene" or record labels?

(3) Is it a coincidence that within Laurel Canyon, in their midst, was a covert U.S. military facility?

McGowan unravels, with sharp humor, these mysteries and more: Serial killers of Laurel Canyon, Satanism & the Occult, mystery connections between unrelated individuals, Charles Manson, Old Hollywood, Houdini, 1980s New Wave and more. McGowan reveals hidden surprise origins of Jim Morrison, Frank Zappa, The Byrds, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, The Mamas & The Papas, Gram Parsons, Jackson Browne, and countless other bands and musicians.

You will find the book more than entertaining, however. McGowan's method of finding mystery in ordinary background details may change you. Will you find yourself asking similar questions about contemporary public figures and public dramas? The answers are uncomfortable, but I'm not surprised now to find military intelligence families behind the biggest stars in Hollywood, in music, and even the biggest names in politics. Will you begin to become aware of a hidden, privileged world among us?

Also recommended but not available on Audible: McGowan's "Programmed To Kill" takes the same approach to all of your favorite serial killers and finds ... the same damn coincidences. What is really happening in our society? The story is completely different than what you'd expect.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Linda P-C
  • 2018-08-06

A Fascinating Trip Through the 1960s

I find all of the similarities and coincidences detailed in this book absolutely fascinating, but I just can't buy into any type of conspiracy theory around the fact that almost all of the first superstars of 60s rock and roll had parents who were in the military. Almost everyone born in the 40s and 50s had parents with a military background - because just about every fit male (and a lot of females) were a part of the "war effort" during WW2. A lot of the people who rebelled then were fighting just that sort of upbringing.

Having said that, I truly enjoyed the long, detailed walk through of the wild (for the times) and unbridled lifestyle of the musical heroes of my youth. It was fun to realise how intertwined everyone's life and habits were during those formative years and it was poignant hearing the stories - through the lens of almost 50 years - of those who succumbed to that lifestyle.

I recommend the book to anyone who wants to learn more about the foundation of rock and roll and the "hippie" movement of that era.

15 people found this helpful

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  • John M. ONeal
  • 2017-12-26

What a blast!!!

Would you listen to Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon again? Why?

This is a spooky and dark (though down right fun) collection of unexplained murders, strange coincidence, and bizarre facts. Though the writer suggests that there might be a more nefarious network of conspiracy theories that exist beneath the surface, he does not waste time proposing theories that can't be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. That said, he is not subtle when it comes to pointing out their possible existence. The writer has a Jim Marrs ("Alien Agenda," "Crossfire," "Our Occulted History," and "Population Control") appreciation for a good story, even if that story might be slightly more urban myth than actual fact, though, in due respect to the writer, he does point those differences out.

What other book might you compare Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon to and why?

I have not read or listened to the book (which can also be found on Audible) myself yet, but the writer spends a lot of time quoting from "Hotel California" by Barney Hoyskns. This book reportedly covers the same territory, and is on my list to be listened to soon. I suspect that Hoyskns book might be taking a more balanced approach to the subject at hand.

Which scene was your favorite?

There are so many that I can't decide upon a particular favorite. I guess what I kind of like the most about this book is how the music scene in Los Angeles (and specifically Laurel Canyon) sort of suspiciously and mysteriously developed overnight, and how basically untalented a majority of these legends were to begin with. Most also came from military related backgrounds and were given credit for launching a major counterculture movement that many of them had no real sense of or involvement with. For most of them, they were just party hungry and sex fueled young men, who got themselves mixed up with some pretty nasty sociopaths and psychopaths (Charles Manson and company).

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I absolutely had difficulty stopping this audible presentation, that is because it is too much fun under the darkened California sun. For someone who spent thirty three years in Los Angeles and much of that time in the entertainment business itself, this book is sweet revenge on those who want to believe that social movements in this country come from the people themselves and not the power brokers of the manipulating status quo.

Any additional comments?

This book leaves me wanting more. The "City of Angels" has always had an extremely dark shadow about it, which Mike Davis covered in "City of Quartz," Kenneth Anger in "Hollywood Babylon," and William J. Mann in "Tinseltown." Though rolling around in the dark is fun at times, make sure one takes a break in the sunlight too.

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jessica Smith
  • 2019-04-11

A gold mine of U.S.1960's lore!

Indispensable compelling hidden history of U.S. 1960's music and hippy origins. A real page turner. You won't be able to put it down.

7 people found this helpful

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  • TOM
  • 2018-07-19

Shocking

Great listen. I have listened to it twice. Will definitely listen to it again. Going to check out Programmed to kill.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Birge
  • 2020-06-06

Don't Waste Your Time

I listened for 15 minutes and considered returning the book

I gave it a second chance

I wish I had returned it instead

I think it was written by a teenager

5 people found this helpful

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  • jack
  • 2019-03-06

Wow couldn't stop listening

We as a society need to come to grips nothing is pure every aspect of life is tainted with lies and deceit

5 people found this helpful

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  • leelee8888
  • 2017-08-29

A lot of information , albeit somewhat scattered

I like the premise of this book overall. However, his overall presentation of these historical and sensational facts are a bit unsatisfying.

He is touching and I mean tiptoeing from one murder to the next , or it was suicide and so on...so quickly, my head is spinning. We are getting the most basic facts including a name, the band they played with, the age of death and whether it was ruled a murder or suicide .

It leaves me wanting more info and having to seek google . There was one in particular murder he mentioned, "Jan Doe 59". He stated she was a "Jane Doe " murdered in 1969 by way of 159 stab wounds. That's it. That's all he said. So , now I'm left having to google this person , something that I feel I should not have to do when reading a book like this.
But the part that bothers me is she is not a "Jane Doe" any more. In fact, her name was Jeet Jurvetson And in 2016, they had a positive ID from her sister in Canada , who confirmed it with a DNA sample. She was 19 and the theory is that she possibly fell victim to one of Manson's crew.

A simple google search would have been useful on his part to make sure his info accurate and updated. It makes me question how many more of these " outdated " facts is being retold .

The other thing I noticed and don't really care for , is his sarcastic tone and Facetious way in which he writes these accounts. It's done purposely, and I'm don't know why because it's not funny, in fact, it's rather annoying.

Other then that it's a decent account of the 60s counterculture and nefarious characters who inhabited it.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-11-20

Eye opening & Informational! Brilliant! Crazy Info

Most Informational work of art I've ever read. I highly recommend to everyone. This is Information everyone needs to hear about things we have all been lied to for years. CIA is behind everything wrong in society! Thank you for writing

4 people found this helpful

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  • patrick mcmahon
  • 2019-01-19

conspiracy reality- ban CIA

I wonder for Dave McGowan's early death. It reveals the satanic take over and control of America

4 people found this helpful