Culled from the Southern California Sheet Music Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library, this unprecedented anthology tells the story of Los Angeles through its songs. Featuring the elaborately designed covers of more than one hundred pieces of vintage sheet music, Songs in the Key of Los Angeles spans 1859 to 1959, offering a rare musical window into Southern California history--from mythic Missions to infinite oranges, from rumbling railroads to romantic Ramona . . . and there's Hollywood history, too, harmoniously noted by its music and film industries. Inside you'll find California lullabies and Los Angeles waltzes, sunshine rags and sunset serenades, the emergence of West Coast jazz and the legacy of Mexican folk traditions, all accompanied by an essay from the collection's curator and native Angeleno Josh Kun. Additional arrangements from musicians Van Dyke Parks and Stew, plus a chorus of critics and historians, come together to bring these extraordinary city songs back to life, ready for a new generation of city dwellers.
Josh Kun is a professor in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, where he directs the Popular Music Project of the Norman Lear Center. He is the author or editor of several books, including Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America, and his writings on music and culture have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the American Prospect, Los Angeles Magazine, and many other publications. As a curator and consultant, he has worked with the Getty Foundation, the Grammy Museum, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Autry Museum, the Skirball Cultural Center, and others.