essay Archive

What’s ‘Wattstax’? Here’s the Answer

I grew up in the 1970s, and in the early part of that decade that meant listening to AM radio. In those days before market segmentation, pop radio played music […]

Take 5: Roy Wood

Though he’s comparatively unknown in the U.S., Roy Wood is an important figure in rock history. He founded and led The Move, a theatrical, melodic and hard-rocking band that scored […]

Take 5: John Entwistle

As critic John Swenson astutely observed in the 1979 edition of The Rolling Stone Record Guide, bassist John Entwistle “had the misfortune to be a good songwriter in a group […]

Take 5: Steely Dan

Steely Dan released their debut album Can’t Buy a Thrill 50 years ago. The idiosyncratic ensemble led by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen would achieve notoriety as a non-touring collective […]

Take 5: Scott Weiland

One of the most acclaimed and versatile vocalists of the rock era, Scott Weiland transcended genre. A supremely effective hard rock vocalist, he moved effortlessly between high energy metal, melodic […]

Take 5: The Hudson Brothers

John Lennon once told The Hudson Brothers (Bill, Mark and Brett) that he considered them the “kings of Saturday morning.” But they were more than stars of their own series, […]

Take Five: Early Epics from Genesis

The fourth album from Genesis, Foxtrot was released 50 years ago October. The critically-acclaimed album was the band’s first major commercial breakthrough, climbing to the #1 spot in Italy and […]

Best Classic Bands: Essays and Interviews

Most publications — online and/or in print — assert a kind of temporary ownership of commissioned pieces; after that embargo, the non-exclusive rights to those works revert to the author. […]

U2’s Bono: Rock Star, Messiah or Vandal?

It was 35 years ago last month – November 11, 1987 – when U2 staged a free and seemingly impromptu concert at Justin Herman Plaza (now Embarcadero Plaza). When it […]

Take Five: Deep Cuts from Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend is best known as the guitarist and visionary songwriter for The Who. But Townshend plays all manner of instruments, and even in the earliest days of the band […]