Photos: The Heyday Of L.A.'s Music Scene, Now On Display At The Central Library

Los Angeles will always be one of the centers of the American music scene, but nothing comes close to how vibrant, diverse and creative it was from the late-Seventies up through the late-Eighties. A new exhibit showcases photographs of the artists that came to define Southern California, include some rare and never-before-seen pictures of some of its biggest stars.

From Pop to the Pit: LAPL Photo Collection Celebrates the Los Angeles Music Scene, 1978-1989 recently opened at the Central Library in downtown, drawing from the Los Angeles Public Library's vast archive to uncover some photographic gems of artists including Mötley Crüe, N.W.A., and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The exhibit features photos from the archives of freelance photographer Gary Leonard and the now-defunct newspaper the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, who together documented the underground and smaller venues the mainstream outlets ignored. According to the exhibition's description, the Herald-Examiner in 1988 (just the year before it folded) started the "Nite Flash" column which sought to cover "the most unusual, entertaining and buzz-worthy bands in L.A."

The timespan covered in From Pop to the Pit, barely over a decade, covers some of the most influential scenes: L.A. punk, Paisley Underground, the Sunset Strip, and the emergence of West Coast hip hop.

From Pop to the Pit: LAPL Photo Collection Celebrates the Los Angeles Music Scene, 1978-1989 is on display at the Central Library's History & Genealogy Department until June 28. For those who can't make it, or want to bring home the photos for themselves, there is an exhibition catalog available for purchase.