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Caroline Polk O’Meara

(bc1966). American music critic and editor. He graduated from Yale University in 1988. He began writing at the Rolling Stone in the late 1980s, where he often covered hip-hop, country, and rock music. In the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Light advised readers to pay closer attention to rap, pointing out that many artists had been critiquing urban violence well before the Rodney King beating. In 1993, Light left Rolling Stone to help launch the hip-hop magazine Vibe, where he was first the music editor before being promoted to editor-in-chief at the age of 26. During his six years at Vibe, Light helped the magazine demonstrate the appeal, profitability, and significance of hip-hop culture to both readers and advertisers. He left Vibe for Spin, staying there for three years as editor-in-chief. While Light was at Spin, the magazine, known for its coverage of alternative music, expanded its coverage of mainstream artists, reaching out to a broader audience. Since leaving ...

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Jayson Greene

(b Ocean City, NJ, May 5, 1945). American journalist, author, film critic, and television personality. Though he is best known as the face and voice for MTV News, Kurt Loder had a long career in rock journalism before he arrived at the network’s then-fledgling news outlet in 1988 to host what was initially called MTV’s “Week In Rock.” From 1979 to 1986, Loder worked at Rolling Stone, first as editor of the gossip-heavy “Random Notes” section, and, later, as features editor. His tone as a critic resembles his television presence; bracingly crisp, erudite, and laced with dry wit. While at Rolling Stone, Loder co-authored singer Tina Turner’s 1986 autobiography I, Tina, and later contributed to the screenplay adaptation for the film What’s Love Got To Do With It?. In 1990, he published a collection of his Rolling Stone work, titled Bat Chain Puller. Prior to his tenure at ...

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Matthew Mugmon

(b San Diego, CA, Oct 11, 1954). American writer. He studied with Leonard Altman at the Tanglewood Music Center and charles Jones at Mannes College before attending Columbia University (BA 1979). Page wrote on culture and music for the New York Times (1982–7). He then served as chief classical music critic for Newsday (1987–95) and the Washington Post (1995–9, 2000–8), where he won a Pulitzer Prize (1997). He has subsequently taught music and journalism at the University of Southern California.

Page has shown a particular interest in 20th-century music and a special attraction to minimalism. But his music writing—some of which appears in the collections Music from the Road (New York, 1992) and Tim Page on Music (Portland, OR, 2002)—displays an expansive knowledge of classical and popular repertories, and he has blurred perceived boundaries between these categories. Page also hosted the radio program ...

Article

Glenda Goodman

(b Connecticut, 1953). American music critic. Raised in Connecticut, he played piano from an early age and took up jazz flute in high school. He attended Yale University, where he majored in music and was music director of the university radio station, WNHC. After graduating in 1974 he moved to Boston, where he launched his professional career as a freelance music critic. He wrote reviews for the “PopTop” section in Fusion, a free Boston newspaper, and at the same time contributed to the alternative weekly publication Real Paper. In 1975 his first submission to the pioneer rock-and-roll magazine Crawdaddy was accepted by writer John Swenson, catapulting Pareles into the national world of popular music criticism. After two years of freelancing, he became music editor at Crawdaddy, and he moved to New York in 1977. He left the magazine shortly before it folded in 1979 and became assistant editor at ...

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Eric Hung

(b Seattle, WA, Feb 4, 1964). American rock critic. After contributing to alternative publications in the Seattle and San Francisco Bay areas for a decade, she became a pop critic for the New York Times (1992–3, 1997–2001), an editor at The Village Voice (1993–6), a senior curator for the Experience Music Project (2001–5), and a senior critic at Blender magazine (2005–). For articles written during her tenure as chief pop-music critic of the Los Angeles Times (2006–11), Powers received the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award in 2010. She was the Distinguished Artist in Residence at the Norman Lear Center’s Popular Music Project at the University of Southern California (2008–9), and guest-edited the 2010 edition of Da Capo Press’s Best Music Writing series. In March 2011 she joined the staff of NPR Music.

Strongly dedicated to feminist cultural criticism, Powers and Evelyn McDonnell coedited ...

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Daphne G. Carr

(b London, England, June 19, 1963). British popular music and culture critic. Reynolds is known for his fine-grained analysis of sound and culture in emergent and radical pop music movements, for his use of postmodern theory in criticism, and for his coining of neologisms that become genre terms, such as “post-rock.” He has most frequently published on rock-derived musics—including post-punk, twee pop, and British indie—hip hop, and, most notably, electronic dance music. He began his writing career with the fanzine Monitor, which he cofounded as an Oxford University student in 1984. From 1986 to 1988 he had a column for the New Statesman and from 1986 to 1990 he was a staff writer at Melody Maker. In 1990 he became a full-time freelance journalist, dividing his time between the United States and London, then permanently moving to New York City in 1994. He and his wife Joy Press published ...

Article

Jonas Westover

(b Boston, MA, May 10, 1937). American music critic, publicist, and editor. Solomon is best known for her contributions to the Village Voice, but has also written for Down Beat, Country Music, Hit Parader, the News World, and Us. She was one of the first women involved in popular music criticism; her work focused on folk music of the 1960s, jazz, blues, rock, and country music. Solomon’s column in the Village Voice was called “Riffs.” She also served as editor for the magazine ABC-TV Hootenanny (1963–4), which highlighted performers on the television show of the same name who were just beginning to rise to fame, including Judy Collins, Earl Scruggs, and Doc Watson. Other writers whose work appeared in the magazine included Theodore Bikel and Jean Shepard. Another of her important editing positions was on the magazine New Musical Express (NME) in the 1970s. Solomon also had a brief tenure as a publicist for Chess Records, where she produced a number of liner notes. Her commentary on such diverse subjects as J.J. Cale and Paul McCartney has given her voice a lasting impression in the music business....

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Jayson Greene

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(b New York, NY, Feb 1, 1953). American music critic, film critic, and editor. Ken Tucker is the pop-music critic for the NPR program Fresh Air with Terry Gross, appearing weekly to review new releases. He is also editor-at-large for Entertainment Weekly magazine, where he has worked in various capacities since its founding in 1989. His Entertainment Weekly writing has won two National Magazine Awards, and his music criticism earned him two ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards (2003, 2004). Prior to that, he was the TV critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1984. He also served as film critic for New York Magazine in the years 2004–05. His writing about television, books, and music has appeared in Rolling Stone, SPIN, Esquire, the Village Voice, Vogue, and the New York Times. He has also made numerous television appearances, serving as a cultural observer on programs such as ...

Article

Rob Bowman

(b New York, NY, Jan 10, 1917; d Sarasota, FL, Aug 15, 2008). American music journalist, producer, and record executive. After graduating with a degree in journalism from Kansas State University in 1946, Wexler got a job at the music industry trade magazine, Billboard. In a 1949 article for Billboard Wexler coined the phrase “rhythm and blues” to replace “race music” as the umbrella term for the new forms of black popular music that came to prominence immediately after World War II.

In 1953, Wexler became a partner in Atlantic Records, alongside Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun, building the label into an industry powerhouse over the next 20 years. With Nesuhi handling most of the company’s jazz releases, Ahmet and Jerry supervised/produced sessions with the cream of 1950s R&B artists including Ray Charles, Professor Longhair, Big Joe Turner, LaVern Baker, and the Drifters.

In 1960, Wexler made a deal with the Memphis-based Stax Records to distribute their recordings. Over the next eight years, this meant that Atlantic distributed records by Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Albert King, William Bell, and Eddie Floyd, among others. In a unique arrangement, in ...

Article

Jonas Westover

(b New York, NY, Dec 14, 1941; d New York, NY, Nov 9, 2006). American popular music critic. Willis was an important contributor to music criticism, taking a New York perspective. One aspect of her writing that stood out was her feminist viewpoint, a distinct voice in a field during the 1960s and 70s that was largely dominated by men. She initiated popular music criticism for the New Yorker (from 1968 to 1975) and later contributed to a variety of publications, including Village Voice, The Nation, Rolling Stone, and Dissent. Willis was co-founder of the radical feminist group the Redstockings. Her interest in music included the relationship of music with politics, economics, and especially sociocultural issues. She is especially noted for her left-wing activism and sharp-tongued criticism, often leveled at consumerism. An advocate for pleasure and desire in music and in other areas (including pornography), Willis contended that music’s relevance to social events made it an essential part of culture. In the 1990s, Willis left music criticism to focus on other societal issues, and hence her musical contributions are sometimes forgotten. She collected some of her writings into a book, ...