Author: Robert Christgau

  • Chuck D: All Over the Map

    THE DAY BEFORE PUBLIC ENEMY’S monthlong tour with Anthrax began, we drove out to the nondescript Hempstead office building that Chuck D, Hank Shocklee, and their crew have occupied since they were running Long Island’s first hiphop sound system back in 1982. S1W’s PE merchandisers, Media Assassin Harry Allen, and other employees contributed to the […]

  • John Lennon, 1940-1980

    Robert Christgau's 1980 remembrance of John Lennon in the Village Voice

    In 1971, I wrote something about John and Yoko that they liked a lot, and to show their appreciation they invited me and my girlfriend Dominique to John’s 31st birthday party — in Syracuse, where a Yoko Ono retrospective had been mounted. I’ve never been one to hobnob with the stars, but who could resist […]

  • Patti Smith: Save This Rock and Roll Hero

    Although it’s easy enough to get a contrary impression from one of her triumphant New York appearances, Patti Smith is in trouble. She’s caught in a classic double bind — accused of selling out by her former allies and of not selling by her new ones. Maybe she’s just too famous for her own good. […]

  • Elton John: The Little Hooker That Could

    There is something wondrous about Elton John, and something monstrous. The preeminent rock star of the ’70s seems out of time, untouched by the decade’s confusion. Unlike most of his compeers, he consumes music omnivorously — his tastes suggest fuel rather than food — and he pursues this fame with such single-minded compulsion that to […]

  • Frank Sinatra: The Last Crooner

    1998_Village Voice package remembering Frank Sinatra

    Frank Sinatra: 1915–1998 By Gary Giddins Nobody was shocked to learn of Frank Sinatra’s death at 82 — everyone was surprised he lingered as long as he did. Yet his leaving inevitably focuses attention on a shared history. High arts never unite us as intimately as popular ones, and Sinatra’s absence is unmooring on several […]

  • The Clash See America Second

    N’I like to be in Africa A beatin on the final drum N’I like to be in USSR Making sure these things will come N’I like to be in USA Pretending that the wars are done N’I like to be in Europa Saying goodbye to everyone — “Guns on the Roof” ‘Course we got a […]

  • The Basement Tapes: Bob Dylan Goes Public

    It might be said that over the past few weeks Bob Dylan has gone public. He has shown up to see Paul Smith and Muddy Waters and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott; he has sat in at the Other End; he has hung out. One night around three in the morning, after Bobby Neuwirth’s club set, Dylan […]

  • Richard Hell: An Antidandy at the Peppermint Lounge

    RIFFS It was the only area appearance of rock bohemia’s legendary symbol, but on June 25 the spanking-new downtown Pep was crowded with refugees from 45th Street — ­rock and roll youth out to get laid, lighter on hitters than the Ritz, but nowhere near as effete as Danceteria or as schlumpy-­collegiate as Irving Plaza […]

  • Beastie Boys: How Ya Like ’Em Now?

    “Beastie Boys: How Ya Like ’Em Now?” August 15, 1989 On the rap report card Kool Moe Dee stuck into How Ya Like Me Now back in ’87, the old-schooler proved an easy marker — only two of the 25 pupils fell below Public Enemy at 80 B. The token nonentity Boogie Boys got 7 or […]

  • Dropping In on the Grateful Dead

    I tried to roll a joint before walking over to the Palladium to see the Grateful Dead for the first time in four years last Friday, but ended up asking my wife to do it. I’d never mastered the knack, even when I was in practice, and this would be the third or fourth time […]

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