Sunset Strip is the mile-and-a-half (2.4 km) stretch of Sunset Boulevard that passes through West Hollywood, California. It extends from West Hollywood's eastern border with Hollywood at Crescent Heights Boulevard to its western border with Beverly Hills at Sierra Drive. Sunset Strip is probably the best-known portion of Sunset Boulevard, with boutiques, restaurants, rock clubs, and nightclubs. It is also known for its array of huge, colorful billboards.
As Sunset Strip lay outside of the Los Angeles city limits in an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County, it fell under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, less vigilant than the Los Angeles Police Department. It was illegal to gamble in the city, but legal in the county, which fostered the development of rather wilder nightlife than was found in Los Angeles.
In the 1930s and the 1940s, restaurants and nightclubs on Sunset Strip, like Ciro's, the Mocambo and the Trocadero, became playgrounds for people in the movie industry. Some of its expensive nightclubs and restaurants were said to be owned by gangsters like Mickey Cohen and Bugsy Siegel, earning Sunset Strip a place in Raymond Chandler's 1949 Philip Marlowe novel, The Little Sister. Also on Sunset Strip are the Garden of Allah apartments—Hollywood quarters for transplanted writers like Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, and F. Scott Fitzgerald—and Schwab's Drug Store.
By the early 1960s, Sunset Strip had lost favor with the majority of movie people, but its restaurants, bars and clubs continued to serve as an attraction for locals and tourists. In the mid-1960s it became a major gathering place for the counterculture and was the scene of the Sunset Strip curfew riots in November 1966, involving police and crowds of young club-goers. Those riots inspired the Buffalo Springfield song "For What It's Worth".
Sunset Strip became popular with rock musicians and their fans. Bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Byrds, Love, The Seeds, Frank Zappa, and others played at clubs like the Whisky a Go Go, the Roxy, Pandora's Box and the London Fog. In July 1965 Go-Go dancers also began performing. The Hyatt West Hollywood (now known as the Andaz West Hollywood) became a popular hotel.
Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco, influenced by Britain's glam rock movement, opened in 1972. It became a hangout for musicians, including The Stooges and the New York Dolls. The 1979 Donna Summer song "Sunset People", from the album Bad Girls, was about the nightlife on Sunset Boulevard. Sunset Strip continued to be a major focus for punk rock and new wave music during the late 1970s and for glam metal and heavy metal music during the 1980s, hosting groups including Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, Quiet Riot, Ratt, Poison, L.A. Guns, Guns N' Roses and Whitesnake.
With the increase in rents in the area during the 1980s and the decline of the glam metal scene in the early 1990s, the Sunset Strip ceased to be a major area for up and coming rock bands without industry sponsorship. The adoption of "pay to play" policies, where bands were charged a fee to play at clubs, diminished its appeal to groups, other than as an industry showcase. As of the 2010s, the music industry establishment continues to dominate the clubs on Sunset Strip.
In November 1984, voters in West Hollywood passed a proposal on the ballot to incorporate and the area became an independent city. Increasingly, the western end of Sunset Strip was occupied by office buildings, mostly catering to the entertainment industry, and hotels.
77 Sunset Strip, a 1958–1964 TV series, was set on Sunset Strip between La Cienega Boulevard and Alta Loma Road, although the address was fictional, as street numbers there run in the 7000-8000s. A second crime drama, Dan Raven, starring Skip Homeier, aired on NBC during calendar year 1960, also set on Sunset Strip. Dan Raven featured several celebrities appearing as themselves, including Bobby Darin, Marty Ingels, and Paul Anka. The 1979 film Hardcore had scenes from Sunset Strip when George C. Scott's character Jake Van Dorn flew to Los Angeles to find his missing teenage daughter.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was a behind-the-scenes television drama of a late-night comedy sketch show performed at a fictional theater on Sunset Strip.
Premiering on January 27, 2006, in Los Angeles at Vanguard Hollywood,[a] the Rock of Ages stage production inspired the 2012 film of the same name. Its story line is centered along Sunset Strip in 1987.
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Route map: Google