Category: From The Archives

  • Little Richard & Solomon Burke: Sex & God & Rock & Roll

    The first time I encountered Little Richard, his face was plastered against a Bedford-Stuyvesant wall — the poster advertised a show at the Breevort Theater. It may have been 1962, I don’t quite re­member. I do remember the shock of see­ing his face for the first time, the open mouth and blackened lips (or so […]

  • Physical Graffiti: Breaking is Hard to Do

    To The Beat Y’all Chico and Tee and their friends from 175th Street in the High Times crew were breaking in the subway and the cops busted them for fighting. “We’re not fighting. We’re dancing!” they claimed. At the precinct station, one kid demonstrated certain moves: a head spin, ass spin, swipe, chin freeze, “the […]

  • John Prine: God’s on the Phone

    God’s on the Phone November 19, 1991 Now that Bonnie Raitt has got hers, the most thoroughly accom­plished-but-denied veteran pop musician in America is John Prine (no arguments please). An insider’s favorite who dates from the initial early-’70s batch of sing­er-songwriters, Prine is far less eroded as a performer now than his more canonized peers. […]

  • Grateful Dead, Most Beloved Freak Band on Earth

    Why Is That Hairy Man Grinning? Perhaps when the day March 29 dawned on Necropolis, blessing with preemptive spring warmth and sunshine, there was no con­nection between that sudden burst of life and the fact that as ther­mometers rose in Central Park dark during the night, the final note of “Saturday Night” and seven days […]

  • Two Funky White Boys

    Two Funky White Boys: Judging 3rd Bass by the Standards of the Street January 9, 1990 WHEN I FIRST heard the opening bars of “Steppin’ to the A.M.” on Channel 31’s Video Music Box a few weeks ago, I thought soul brother numero uno had set up a studio in the joint, where his soul […]

  • Report from Swinging London: ‘Revolver’ Revolution

    Pop Eye: On ‘Revolver’ August 25, 1966 SWINGING LONDON, August 17 — The reception which the Beatles have received so far on their American tour has been less than ecstatic. But it is far from the murderous venom which most Londoners feared would greet their native sons. It is part of the myth of America-the-free […]

  • Dylan Dallies With Mafia Chic: Joey Gallo Was No Hero

    Whenever Bob Dylan puts out a new album, it is sure to generate a lot of talk. What is he thinking, what is he saying, what does he mean? A cynical person might respond that he releases these things, no matter how sloppy they are and no matter how long we might have to wait […]

  • An Impresario Gets the Star Treatment

    Wulf Wolodia Grajonca (1931–1991) was a 10-year-old Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany who landed in the Bronx and chose his new American name, Bill Graham, from a phone book. He grew up to be one of rock ’n’ roll’s premiere impresarios. As a show opening today at the New-York Historical Society copiously illustrates — through […]

  • Bob Dylan’s Pain: Flip Side of Cruelty

    Riffs: Bob Dylan’s Pain — Flip Side of Cruelty February 3, 1975 Bob Dylan has regained his courage. Blood on the Tracks has more raw power than any of his albums since Blonde on Blonde. It fuses the musical control he began to gain in John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline with lyrics that are […]

  • Rappin’ With Russell Simmons

    Eddie-Murphying the Flak Catchers The offices of Rush Productions are two cramped little rooms on Broadway in the 20s, which on any given afternoon are filled by the loud voices of black men and women. They are mostly young, real street and real anxious. On this day in January a graffiti artist sits in one […]