In the city of Los Angeles it seems most every location was seen in a film. Lesser known is how many locations are sung about in songs.
I did a double take when I noticed the Sunset Grill out on the Sunset Strip. Why was it so familiar? Why did it matter?
Then I remembered it was the subject of the 1984 song “Sunset Grill” by Don Henley. It made it to #7 on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart.
In the lyrics of the song you can see how much the area has changed. Sunset Strip has come back from a rather gritty period and a time when it had gained notoriety as a red light district. You can get a feel for what Sunset Strip was like back in the Eighties in these excerpts from the lyrics:
“Let’s go down to the Sunset Grill
We can watch the working girls go by
Watch the “basket people” walk around and mumble
And stare out at the auburn sky…
“You see a lot more meanness in the city
It’s the kind that eats you up inside
Hard to come away with anything that feels like dignity
Hard to get home with any pride…”
In 2019, Sunset Strip has come up a lot. One stripper joint near the old Sunset Grill, but that is about it. The area the Sunset Grill is in has become known as Guitar Row due to the large number of music gear stores in the area such as the Sam Ash Musical Instrument stores and Guitar Center. We also find the famous RockWalk a block away at the Guitar Center. I don’t know if Henley’s handprints made it into the concrete at the RockWalk but I intend to check it out the next time I’m there.
More photos after the break…