CR Blog

When billboards rocked

Advertising, Graphic Design

Posted by Emma Tucker, 16 November 2012, 12:19    Permalink    Comments (19)

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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19 Comments

"Cocker is coming on A&M Records"

Ewwwwwww
Tom Megginson (@CreativeTweets)
2012-11-16 13:20:00


Great display! I wish I'd ever lived in a city cool enough to advertise big artists on billboards - all we ever get in Ottawa is ads! Cool showcase.
Allison
2012-11-16 17:00:02


AMAZING!
DR.ME
2012-11-16 20:45:38


These are awesome billboards, I remember some of these actually in the flesh! Mind you the best thing now is being able to look back on these wonderful designs and be inspired by them to make the next big thing. In a way building sites at http://www.reynoldsdigital.com is kind of like building the modern billboards. If in years to come someone is referencing my work I'll be very proud indeed.
Barry Reynolds
2012-11-16 21:07:19


These are billboards that i would actually look at. John lennon is available so is yoko haha. But In North carolina rarely do I ever see a creatively done billboard.
Josten Dooley
2012-11-17 15:36:43


Hopefully the documenting photographer credits (or attempted to credit) the *designers* (and illustrators and photographers) whose work is or is in these billboard designs!
JC
2012-11-17 18:02:24


A note from the author and photographer (Robert Landau): This book pays tribute to all the great designers, photographers , art directors and even the billboard painters who were responsible for this unique art form. I was fortunate to track down and speak with many of them for the book including Kosh (Abbey Road ), Roland Young (A&M Records), Gary Burden, John Van Hamersved, Norman Seeff and others. All of these folks are living in the Los Angeles vicinity.There is also a table in the book that attempts to credit all the artwork that appears in the book.
Robert Landau
2012-11-18 02:44:08


this would be an awesome meme ...
archaznable
2012-11-19 08:18:03


nice!
john
2012-11-19 11:38:43


wow! it reminds me also of the movie XANADU, the movie was crap but the guy worked in a studio where they created this kind of billboards, i found it so interesting at the time!
badinicreateam
2012-11-19 11:51:06


...but who knocked Paul McCartney's head off?
Jean Grogan
2012-11-19 13:55:36


I miss these types of billboards. Stylish and cool - something that modern billboards seriously lack.
Steve
2012-11-19 18:41:58


The band stage fright is the best one, really cool design.
Prefab77
2012-11-19 21:10:30


Awesome. Would love to see them brought back. I wonder how much one of the originals here in mint condition would fetch for now.
Jonny Challenger
2012-11-20 13:26:01


love the way they use the format of the billboard but always bleed over the edges to make the image/logo stand out
Corporate Photographer
2012-11-20 16:05:56


simply ideas - rock
mncedisi
2012-11-21 06:35:04


These look amazing! don't do them like this no more.
LoveDesignInspire
2012-11-22 13:15:30


Very Creative Sign !!!
David Pascal
2013-01-04 06:44:17


NICE!!!
Tom
2013-10-30 13:22:00


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