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Jayson Greene

(b Escondido, CA, Dec 13, 1948; d New York, NY, April 30, 1982). American rock critic. Bangs’s parents were devout Jehovah’s Witnesses; he was raised mostly by his mother after his father died in a house fire in 1955. Bangs began writing freelance reviews for ...

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Jayson Greene

(b New York, NY, April 18, 1942). American rock critic. Known as “the dean of American rock critics,” Christgau first emerged as one of the trade’s earliest professionals. Beginning in 1967 as the music columnist for Esquire, Christgau worked briefly at the Village Voice...

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Marysol Quevedo

(b Guayama, PR, Feb 12, 1926; d Baltimore, MD, Aug 5, 2003). Puerto Rican songwriter and journalist. He studied sociology and journalism at the Universidad de Puerto Rico. In 1960 he moved to New York, where he worked as a sports journalist for the newspaper ...

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Alex Harris Stein

(b Philadelphia, PA, Aug 30, 1946). American writer on jazz. He began listening to jazz while attending high school in North Philadelphia and consolidated and expanded his interest while attending Temple University (1964–9). He was jazz editor for Musician (1982–5...

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Jack Hamilton

(b Jersey City, NJ, Sept 2, 1964). American rock critic. Best known as the longtime popular music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, DeRogatis began writing music criticism as a high school student in Jersey City, New Jersey. In 1982, his senior year, he conducted the last known interview with renowned rock critic Lester Bangs, whose biography DeRogatis would later author. DeRogatis attended New York University and began writing for the ...

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Gerald Bordman and Jonas Westover

(b New York, NY, Sept 8, 1896; d New York, NY, July 30, 1983). American lyricist and librettist. He studied at Columbia University, where he was a contemporary of Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II, and served in the US Navy before becoming director of publicity and advertising in ...

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Jayson Greene

(b Alameda, CA, Jan 7, 1945). American rock journalist, author, and broadcaster. His father, born Fong Kwok Seung, changed his surname to Torres and posed as a Filipino in order to immigrate to the United States and sidestep the Chinese Exclusion Act. The family subsequently adopted the surname Fong-Torres. Ben Fong-Torres studied radio, television and film at San Francisco State University (BA ...

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Caroline Polk O’Meara

(b New York, NY, 1967). American musician and writer. Frere-Jones has performed with his band Ui since the early 1990s, when he also began writing about music for publications including the Village Voice, New York Times, and Spin. Since 2004 he has been the pop music critic at ...

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Jayson Greene

(b Philadelphia, PA, June 4, 1952). American music writer. Fricke studied English at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania (BA 1973). He worked as a writer, DJ, and publicist for the legendary local club the Main Point in Philadelphia before moving to New York in ...

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Daphne G. Carr

(b Sussex, England, June 25, 1946). British popular music scholar and critic. Frith is a foundational figure in intellectual inquiry on popular music since his first book, The Sociology of Rock (1978). His scholarly work has influenced the terrain of cultural studies in the study of popular music, beginning with mass culture, media, criticism, consumption, leisure, and youth; moving to questions of “authenticity,” taste, cultural hierarchy, and legitimacy; record production and producers; questions of copyright and public policy; and historical accounts of local scenes and live music. Frith has written a number of influential general texts on popular music, co-edited numerous foundational anthologies, educated several generations of British pop scholars, and served as a prominent public intellectual on popular music as culture. Frith was a founding member of International Association for the Study of Popular Music and a founding editor of the journal ...

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George J. Grella

(b Arlington, MA, Dec 17, 1954). American composer, singer, broadcaster, and journalist. He taught himself to play drums, piano, and guitar as a teenager, after seeing Soft Machine open for Jimi Hendrix when he was 13. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design (BA ...

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Lars Helgert

(b New York, NY, March 1, 1917; d Berkeley, CA, June 3, 1975). American jazz and rock critic. He studied at Columbia University (1934–8), where he was a jazz writer for the Columbia Spectator, and frequently attended performances at New York jazz clubs. In ...

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David Brackett

(b Boston, MA, Dec 15, 1943). American writer. Guralnick received an MFA in creative writing from Boston University (1971). He is best known for his historical work on popular music, with an emphasis on “roots music”: blues, rhythm-and-blues, country music, and early rock and roll. His first books on music, ...

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Beau Bothwell

(b Detroit, MI, Sept 13, 1970). American writer, filmmaker, and cultural critic. She received undergraduate and graduate degrees in film from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her short film, I Am Ali, won Best Short Film at the Newport International Film Festival in ...

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Craig Havigurst

(b Attica, IN, Nov 9, 1895; d Virginia Beach, VA, May 8, 1968). American journalist, radio producer, and founder of the Grand Ole Opry. Trained as a print journalist, Hay was reluctantly drawn into radio during the early 1920s. Hay wrote for the Memphis ...

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(b Natchitoches, LA, Sept 25, 1939). American popular music critic. As the stepson of an electronics engineer in the aerospace industry, he moved frequently as a child. From his native Louisiana, he went first to Dallas and then to various locales in southern California. This helped him develop wide-ranging tastes, as he was exposed at an early age to a variety of popular genres, from country to rhythm and blues and from crooners to rock and roll....

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Michael J. Budds and Maristella Feustle

(b Koblenz, Germany, Nov 6, 1886; d Los Angeles, CA, Oct 8, 1941). Lyricist of German birth. He immigrated with his family to the United States in 1891 and settled in Chicago, where he showed an early talent for writing and the use of rhyme despite having learned English as a second language. After graduating from high school, he worked various nonmusical jobs from driving a horse-drawn truck to working as a clerk in a mail-order company, all the while writing over 200 songs as a hobby. A chance meeting with a Remick employee (and his future wife) resulted in Kahn’s first hit, “I Wish I Had a Girl” (...

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Mark Anthony Neal

(b Chicago, IL, Jan 8, 1967). American R&B singer, writer, producer, and arranger. Kelly was born on the South side of Chicago. Raised, with his three siblings, by a single mother, he was encouraged to pursue a musical career by his high school music teacher and mentor, Lena McLin, who was the chair of the music department at the Kenwood Academy and the niece of the legendary gospel music composer Thomas Dorsey. In high school Kelly formed the group MGM (Musically Gifted Men), which won a $100,000 grand prize on the television talent show ...

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Simon Warner

(b Asheboro, NC, April 10, 1960). American Author and journalist. Kemp’s career was founded on his journalistic work and, in more recent years, his publications on popular music topics. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kemp began as a newspaper reporter but then, during the late 1980s, secured work with the alternative music title ...

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Travis D. Stimeling

(b Greensburg, PA, March 1, 1951). American country music critic and historian. An occasionally controversial journalist and tough critic, Kienzle’s work challenges notions of genre that are often used to separate country, jazz, pop, and rock into discrete categories, instead arguing for a holistic approach that is more representative of the diverse musical interests of recording artists. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh (BA, English, ...