Hollywood Park

Album: Hollywood Park (2020)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Hollywood Park" is named after a racetrack located about 3 miles (5 km) from Los Angeles International Airport. Frontman Mikel Jollett's father took him and his brother there every weekend when they were children.

    And they were writing their names up in the sky
    And we would watch them as they brought the horses by
    And I felt like I was ready to die
    When the bell went off and the races would start
    At Hollywood Park


    Jollett explained to Billboard that not only did they learn about horse racing but they had proper father/son conversations there. "We had chats," he said. "It was where he imparted wisdom. It was the place we went together and hung out. Then when he died it became a symbol for, like, family, a place where you felt OK."
  • The racetrack was demolished in the mid-2010s to make way for a new residential complex. They tore down Hollywood Park's grandstand three weeks after the passing of Jollett's father.

    And when they tore it down, there was a wrecking sound
    And it rattled through my bones
    And then a cry went out through the streets that night
    'Cause we knew we'd lost our home


    Jollett's parents raised him in an experimental commune society called Synanon and for a long time he had a complex relationship with his father. However, by the time of his dad's passing they were very close. The frontman told Apple Music: "I just thought it was such a blazing metaphor for his life, and the family that I spent my whole life sort of seeking. I guess I was trying to write a song I thought my dad would like."
  • Jollett's dad was into classic rock, so the Airborne Toxic frontman set out to make a big rock song. Jollett came up with "a galloping drum beat," then the quartet just played - "four guys just trying to make rock 'n' roll music, like in times of old."
  • The song shares both its title and themes with Jollett’s memoir, which details his early childhood in the Synanon cult, his escape from it, and the resulting traumatic upbringing. Published on May 5, 2020 through Celadon Books, Hollywood Park reached the Top 10 of the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Best Sellers list.

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