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L.A.’s Rich Musical History Revealed in “Songs in the Key of L.A.”

Public Relations Office, Library Administration,
Sheet Music Covers

“Songs in the Key of L.A.,” an exhibit of historic sheet music covers from the Los Angeles Public Library’s collection, offers a rare view of the powerful role music has played in defining the image of Los Angeles and Southern California.  The exhibit, which displays selections from the sheet music collection for the first time, opens July 1 at the Central Library’s First Floor Galleries, 630 W. Fifth St., downtown.  Presented in conjunction with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, the exhibit is free and open to the public.

The 46 covers on view feature richly illustrated cover artwork and represent a diverse mix of jazz, pop, Mexican folk and blues songs about Los Angeles and Southern California.  Titles include “Make Your Mind Up to Wind Up in California,” “Way Out West in Hollywood,” “Los Angeles, Los Angeles, I Wish I’d Come Before,” “San Fernando Valley (I’m Packing My Grip),” “La Serenata de la Fiesta,” and “Catalina Honeymoon.” 

The selection of songs form a singular portrait of the early history of the city’s music industry, the civic music culture, the role of music in shaping Los Angeles, and the artistic, cultural, social and political currents that influenced the region in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The exhibit is part of the larger “Songs in the Key of L.A.” project, which during the summer will showcase the sheet music through a comprehensive anthology, new recordings, a free concert with Grand Performances, and an ALOUD program at the Central Library.

Press Release (pdf)

Exhibit Page

"Songs in the Key of L.A." Project Information


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