Hilburn in front of his personal library in 2010
|Alma mater||California State University, Northridge|
|Children||Kathy and Robert Hilburn|
Robert Hilburn (born September 25, 1939) is an American pop music critic, author, and radio host. As critic and music editor at the Los Angeles Times from 1970 to 2005, his reviews, essays and profiles appeared in publications around the world.Hilburn has since written a memoir and best-selling biographies of Johnny Cash and Paul Simon. He was a member of the nominating committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for more than 20 years and lives in Los Angeles.
Born in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and lived there until he was 5 mostly on his grandfather’s cotton farm in nearby Campti. During those years and when visiting his grandparents in later summers, he was exposed to the blues and country music styles that eventually gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll. After a few years in Dallas, Texas, he moved with his family to Southern California, where he graduated from Reseda High School in 1957 and California State University, Northridge (journalism degree) in 1961. He worked as a news reporter on a suburban Los Angeles newspaper (the Valley Times TODAY) for two years, but tired of journalism and became a public information officer for the Los Angeles Unified School District in the mid-1960s. While there he began to miss writing around the same time he fell in love with the work of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Eager to write about music, Hilburn did a series of freelance pieces on such figures as Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin for the Los Angeles Times before being hired full-time by the paper.
Hilburn began writing at the Los Angeles Times in 1966,replacing Pete Johnson as rock critic in 1970. While at the Times, Hilburn accompanied several artists on landmark tours, including Johnny Cash for his celebrated Folsom Prison concert, Elton John's inaugural visit to Russia, Paul Simon's “Graceland” tour stop in Zimbabwe, and Bob Dylan's first concert swing through Israel. He spent a week on the road with the Sex Pistols during the British band's first U.S. tour. At the Times, Hilburn wrote about the new pop culture movements of punk, techno and rap.
He also wrote extensively about many major figures of pop-rock, including numerous significant interviews with Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, and U2.Hilburn, too, has been widely credited with helping launch or advance the careers of Elton John, John Prine, Patti Smith, The Eagles, Tom Petty, Prince, Elvis Costello, Guns N' Roses, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Eminem, The White Stripes, Arcade Fire, and X.
In 1985, Hilburn published a Bruce Springsteen biography as one in a series of Rolling Stone Press books. He released “Corn Flakes with John Lennon” focusing on the work and influence of John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Phil Spector, Michael Jackson, U2, Kurt Cobain and N.W.A.
In 2013, Hilburn published a biography of Johnny Cash titled Johnny Cash: The Life.Michiko Kakutani, the chief book critic of the New York Times, named the biography as one of her 10 favorite books of the year. Kirkus called it, "an instant-classic music biography with something to offer all generations of listeners."
Five years later, Hilburn published a biography of Paul Simon titled Paul Simon: The Life.Author Stephen King praised the book as one of the few works that offered insight into "the creative development of a gifted artist." Rolling Stone declared the book "epic" and "definitive".
Hilburn hosts a weekly Sunday evening music program, Rock 'n' Roll Times, on KCSN, a public broadcasting radio station in the Los Angeles area.
Charles Edward Anderson Berry was an American singer, songwriter and guitarist, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. Nicknamed the "Father of Rock and Roll", Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive with songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958). Writing lyrics that focused on teen life and consumerism, and developing a music style that included guitar solos and showmanship, Berry was a major influence on subsequent rock music.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (RRHOF) is a museum and hall of fame located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States, on the shore of Lake Erie. The museum documents the history of rock music and the artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have influenced its development.
Born in the U.S.A. is the seventh studio album by American rock singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was released by Columbia Records on June 4, 1984. The album's music was written by Springsteen and recorded with his E Street Band and producers Chuck Plotkin and Jon Landau at The Power Station and The Hit Factory in New York City.
KCSN is a non-commercial educational radio station licensed to Northridge, California and owned by California State University, Northridge. The station simulcasts with KSBR from Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. The station primarily airs adult album alternative (AAA) and Americana music with a mix of legends, new music, and local music with some specialty programming on weekends.
Mikal Gilmore is an American writer and music journalist.
"Too Many People" is a song by Paul McCartney from his and his wife Linda McCartney's 1971 album Ram as well as the B-side of the "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" single.
John Marshall Alexander Jr., known by the stage name Johnny Ace, was an American rhythm-and-blues singer and musician. He had a string of hit singles in the mid-1950s. Alexander died of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 25.
Los Angeles is the debut studio album by American rock band X, released on April 26, 1980 by Slash Records. It was produced by ex-Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek and includes a cover of the 1967 Doors song "Soul Kitchen".
Mojo is a popular music magazine published initially by Emap, and since January 2008 by Bauer, monthly in the United Kingdom. Following the success of the magazine Q, publishers Emap were looking for a title that would cater for the burgeoning interest in classic rock music. Mojo was first published on 15 October 1993; in keeping with its classic rock aesthetic, the first issue had Bob Dylan and John Lennon as its first cover stars. Noted for its in-depth coverage of both popular and cult acts, it acted as the inspiration for Blender and Uncut. Many noted music critics have written for it, including Charles Shaar Murray, Greil Marcus, Nick Kent, Jon Savage and Sylvie Simmons. The launch editor of Mojo was Paul Du Noyer and his successors have included Mat Snow, Paul Trynka and Pat Gilbert.
Donald William 'Bob' Johnston was an American record producer, best known for his work with Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, and Simon & Garfunkel.
Aquashow was the 1973 debut album by singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy. It was reviewed by Paul Nelson in 'Rolling Stone along with Bruce Springsteen's The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle under the headline "He's the Best Dylan since 1968", which earned both artists the "New Dylan" tag. When Aquashow was released on CD in 1988 it was reviewed by Robert Hilburn in the Los Angeles Times under the headline "A Compelling Aquashow", and in 2006, thirty-three years after the original release, the album was called an "Album Classic" in a full-page review in UNCUT magazine.
"Hot Blooded" is a song by the British-American rock band Foreigner, from their second studio album Double Vision. It was released as a single in June 1978 and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that September. The single was also certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. It is also the theme song to the truTV scripted series Tacoma FD.
"Every Grain of Sand" is a song written by Bob Dylan, recorded in Los Angeles in the spring of 1981 and released in August of that year on Dylan's album Shot of Love. It was subsequently included on the compilation Biograph. An early version of the song, recorded in September 1980 and featuring Jennifer Warnes on backing vocal, was released in 1991 on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 1961–1991.
John R. Cash was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Much of Cash's music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption, especially in the later stages of his career. He was known for his deep, calm bass-baritone voice, the distinctive sound of his Tennessee Three backing band characterized by train-like chugging guitar rhythms, a rebelliousness coupled with an increasingly somber and humble demeanor, free prison concerts, and a trademark all-black stage wardrobe which earned him the nickname "The Man in Black".
The Ash Grove was a folk music club located at 8162 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, California, United States, founded in 1958 by Ed Pearl and named after the Welsh folk song, "The Ash Grove."
Tim Riley reviews pop and classical music for NPR, and has written for The New York Times, truthdig, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, Slate.com and Salon.com. He was trained as a classical pianist at Oberlin College and Eastman School of Music.
Glen Brunman is an American music executive. Noted as an "architect of the soundtrack landscape," Brunman’s credits include more than 200 soundtrack releases which have cumulatively sold in excess of 150 million albums worldwide. In various capacities, he has been associated with releases which have won 21 Grammys and nine Academy Awards.
Gregory Calbi is an American mastering engineer at Sterling Sound, New Jersey, United States.
"I Got Stripes" is a song co-written and originally recorded by Johnny Cash.
Critic's Choice: Top 200 Albums is a musical reference book compiled by American-British journalist and broadcaster Paul Gambaccini. It was first published in the United Kingdom by Omnibus Press in January 1978, and then by Quick Fox in the US. The book comprises an annotated and illustrated list of the best albums in popular music, as selected from top-ten lists provided by its 47 contributors. As a multi-contributor work seeking to critique rock and pop albums, Critic's Choice preceded The Rolling Stone Record Guide and the Greil Marcus-edited Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island, both published in 1979. It was followed by several other books that classified the best pop recordings.