In the 1920s Topanga Canyon attracted many famous stars looking for a quick getaway from the pressures of celebrity. Many celebrities built homes in the canyon for privacy.

Topanga Canyon became a mecca for artistic types in the 1950s and beyond. The remoteness and natural beauty attracted many musicians. Neil Young recorded his album “After the Gold Rush” in his Topanga Canyon basement. Canned Heat’s Alan Wilson was inspired to write the rock anthem “Going Up the Country” here. Linda Ronstadt and Jim Morrison were frequent visitors.

Artists and fringe types still shape the culture of Topanga. The community includes an outdoor theater founded by blacklisted actor Will Geer in 1973 called The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum that still offers fairs and music festivals, as well as an annual film festival.

A famous nudist colony called “Elysium Institute” which covered over 8 acres was nearby and closed in 2002 when the property was sold

On the eve of September 3, 1970, behind the private residence of Bob Hite of the band Canned Heat, fellow bandmate Alan Wilson fell asleep under the stars. By dawn, he was dead. Autopsy reports listed his cause of death as accidental acute barbiturate intoxication.

In 1952 Woody Guthrie was one of the early American musicians who moved to the Topanga area. Many other rock and pop musicians lived in the canyon at onetime or another including:

From Spirit:
Mark Andes
Randy California
Ed Cassidy
Jay Ferguson
John Locke

From The Doors:
John Densmore
Jim Morrison

From The Eagles:
Don Felder
Bernie Leadon

Linda Ronstadt
Alice Cooper
Neil Diamond
Danny Elfman
Mick Fleetwood
Marvin Gaye
Lowell George
Richie Hayward
Elaine “Spanky” McFarlane
Stephen Stills
Joni Mitchell

Topanga Canyon