When billboards rocked

Photographer Robert Landau started documenting the billboards of LA’s Sunset Strip in the 1970s, and has published a book collecting together images of some of the most iconic LA billboards of the 70s and 80s…

Photographer Robert Landau started documenting the billboards of LA’s Sunset Strip in the 1970s, and has published a book collecting together images of some of the most iconic LA billboards of the 70s and 80s.

In his latest publication photographer Robert Landau recalls a time when rock ‘n’ roll billboards dominated LA’s Sunset Strip. Moving from the early 70s and into the late 80s, the book collects together images from some of the greats, including The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones.

Landau emphasises the level of craftsmanship that went into creating such huge billboards, with a team of illustrators, typographers, retouchers and painters – amongst others – responsible for getting the billboards ready for final installation. Outdoor advertising companies often employed artists to hand paint billboards, which were referred to as ‘spectaculars’. The book also documents some of the more extravagant creations, including ELO’s $50,000 billboard from 1977, which featured a custom-made neon space station.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip is published by Angel City Press, and can be purchased online here.

The Rolling Stones, 1977, by Robert Landau

Joe Cocker, 1969, by Robert Landau

Smokey Robinson, 1978, by Robert Landau

The Band, 1970, by Robert Landau

The Knack, 1981, by Robert Landau

This Electric Light Orchestra billboard, seen below, included a custom-made Plexiglas and neon space station, which was based on designer John Kosh’s logo for the band, and carried a price tag of $50,000.

ELO, 1977, by Robert Landau

Linda Ronstadt, 1978, by Robert Landau

Donna Summer, 1978, by Robert Landau

UFO, 1978, by Robert Landau

10CC, 1977, by Robert Landau

Joni Mitchell, 1971, by Robert Landau

This Beatles billboard, designed by Roland Young, used a cut-out extension of the band’s heads, which prompted a bit of thievery from an overeager Paul McCartney fan.

The Beatles, 1969, by Robert Landau

John Lennon, 1971, by Robert Landau

John Lennon, 1971, by Robert Landau

Blue Note Records, 1972, by Robert Landau

Pink Floyd, 1979, by Robert Landau

Pink Floyd, 1979, by Robert Landau


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