Canyon Country Store preserves Laurel Canyon’s music history

As cars loudly race up Laurel Canyon Boulevard on their way from Hollywood to the Valley, the Canyon Country Store sits quietly in the middle of the street. Walking into the quaint, unassuming grocery store is like stepping into a time capsule, one filled with a legendary musical past.

The store is like a shrine to the neighborhood’s famous residents. Photos taken in the shop of Laurel Canyon rock stars who made it big in the 1960s, including David Crosby, Graham Nash and Joni Mitchell, dot the walls and hang above the cash register. A sign with the Doors’ iconic line “Come on baby light my fire” marks firewood bundles for sale.

A dog on a leash sniffs at a rack of firewood for sale outside.

Firewood for sale outside the front entrance to the Canyon Country Store. The sign hanging on the side has a lyric from a song written by Jim Morrison of the Doors, who lived in Laurel Canyon in the 1960s.

(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The preservationist behind this “Laurel Canyon scene” is Tommy Bina, who has owned the store for roughly four decades. Dressed in a retro white turtleneck and black leather pants, he jokes, “I’m trying to bring back the spirit of Laurel Canyon.”

In the 1960s, musicians like those honored in the store flocked to the Hollywood Hills neighborhood, creating what became known as the folksy “Laurel Canyon sound.” Laurel Canyon was Los Angeles’ counterpart to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury at the time. “Back then,” Bina, who likes to think of himself as ageless, says, “it was all about the music. And the music was so great, I just don’t want people to forget about the magical era in the canyon.” He admires the antiestablishment lifestyle embraced by the canyon’s rock stars too. He’s decorated the front patio with colorful 1960s flower-power paintings by artist and

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