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Joel Selvin

Joel Selvin

Joel Selvin, who has covered pop music for the San Francisco Chronicle since 1970, is the author of eight books on the subject, including an award-winning biography of Ricky Nelson and Summer of Love, his best-selling account of the '60s S.F. scene.

Larry LeBlanc interviews Joel Selvin

List of articles in the library by artist

The Band: And The Band Played On... The Band's Last Waltz

Live Review by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, November 1976

IT WAS UNDOUBTEDLY the single biggest collection of rock stars ever to perform on one stage: 17 musicians played Bob Dylan's ‘I Shall Be Released’, ...

The Beau Brummels: Decades In Obscurity, Beau Brummels Front Man Surfaces To Remind Us What The Fuss Was All About

Profile and Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, February 2006

SAL VALENTINO WAS washed up. "No one called in a long time," he says. "No one knew where I was."There were even reports of his ...

The Beau Brummels' Sal Valentino (2007)

Interview by Joel Selvin, Selvin On The City, KSAN 107.7, May 2007

Sal Valentino takes us through the history of The Beau Brummels, from being produced by a young Sly Stone for Tom Donahue's Autumn Records to the Warners years, working with Van Dyke Parks and Randy Newman, and the Triangle and Bradley's Barn albums.

File format: mp3 File size: 31.2mb Interview length: 34' 02"; Sound quality: *****

Bert Berns, Solomon Burke: Cry to Him: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, 'Here Comes The Night' (Counterpoint Books), April 2014

In these two excerpts from Joel Selvin's splendid new biography of Bert Berns, the soul hustler from the Bronx oversees the 1961 session for Solomon ...

Booker T & The MGs, Booker T. Jones: Booker T. Jones (2006)

Interview by Joel Selvin, Selvin On The City, KSAN 107.7, 2006

The Booker T & The MGs mainman talks about the Stax years, working with the likes of Otis Redding and Albert King, making 'Green Onions', and on to later projects with Santana, Neil Young and Boz Scaggs.

File format: mp3; file size: 25.5mb; Interview length: 27' 5"; sound quality: *****

The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Dandy Warhols: The Dandy Warhols/Brian Jonestown Massacre: Dig!

Film/DVD/TV Review by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, October 2004

ANTON NEWCOMBE of the Brian Jonestown Massacre doesn't receive the most ringing endorsements from his friends. "He's more than just a jerk," says his record ...

T-Bone Burnett (2006)

Interview by Joel Selvin, Selvin On The City, KSAN 107.7, June 2006

T-Bone Burnett guests on Selvin On the City ( KSAN Underground Radio 107.7, San Francisco), talking about production, the soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Ralph Stanley, Jakob Dylan and more.

File format: mp3 File size: 27.2mb Interview length: 29' 44"; Sound quality: *****

Captain Beefheart A Success?

Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, December 1972

NOTE: Nobody was ever more fun to hang out with than Don Van Vliet. We took a number of dinners over the years, including one ...

Clarence Carter: Slippin' Away With Clarence Carter

Interview by Joel Selvin, Rolling Stone, August 1971

SAN FRANCISCO – Clarence Carter leaves his Holiday Inn room on the arm of his road manager, who looks familiar. It's Rodgers Redding, and it's ...

Ry Cooder (2008)

Interview by Joel Selvin, Selvin On The City, KSAN 107.7, November 2008

The meastro of roots and Americana talks about his recent work - I, Flathead, Chávez Ravine - and looks back to the making of his first album and subsequent career.

File format: mp3 File size: 32.4mb Interview length: 35' 27"; Sound quality: *****

Country Joe & The Fish: Country Joe McDonald

Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, March 1994

ONE FIGURE straddles the two polar events of the '60' – Woodstock and theVietnam War -- Country Joe McDonald. In fact, such emblematicproportions have obscured ...

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Pendulum: Creedence Got a New Kind of Bag

Report and Interview by Joel Selvin, Rolling Stone, December 1970

BERKELEY — Creedence Clearwater Revival is rolling again, and in several directions, with their upcoming new album, Pendulum. ...

Crosby and Nash: The Crosby-Nash Whale and Fieldworkers Benefit

Report and Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, December 1974

AT THE END of the Bob Dylan tour earlier this year, Asylum Records president David Geffen threw a party at the swank Beverly Wilshire Hotel ...

Celine Dion: HP Pavilion, San Jose

Live Review by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, February 2009

CELINE DION makes faces when she sings. She crinkles up her nose. She arches her eyebrows. She winks and darts quick little smiles after she ...

Donovan (2005)

Interview by Joel Selvin, Selvin On The City, KSAN 107.7, 2005

Mr Leitch looks back at his 40 years in music, from scoring hash in Goodge Street to recording with Rick Rubin, via Alice Cooper, Linda Lawrence and more.

File format: mp3 File size: 35.1mb Interview length: 38' 19"; Sound quality: ****

Doobie Brothers: One Guitarist On, One Guitarist Off

Report and Interview by Joel Selvin, Rolling Stone, June 1975

SAN FRANCISCO – Three years ago, the Doobie Brothers lived on food stamps in San Jose, playing at ramshackle area clubs for as little as ...

The Faces, The Small Faces: The Small Faces: First Step

Review by Joel Selvin, Rolling Stone, May 1970

THE SMALL FACES are now into a more sophisticated and mature commerciality. The addition of Rod Stewart as vocalist and Ron Wood on lead guitar ...

The Flamin' Groovies Come Home

Report and Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, October 1978

AFTER EIGHT YEARS of silence in the band's hometown, the Flamin' Groovies suddenly made two San Francisco performances in less than a month. "I'm stopping ...

The Four Seasons (2006)

Interview by Joel Selvin, Selvin On The City, KSAN 107.7, December 2006

Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio chat about the Jersey Boys musical, about Bob Crewe, the Disco years and the lost Seasons/Beach Boys album.

File format: mp3 File size: 31.3mb Interview length: 34' 14"; Sound quality: ***

Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia: Jerry Garcia: The Last Post

Obituary by Joel Selvin, MOJO, October 1995

Serenity Knolls lies at the bottom of a dead end road in northern Marin Country, California. The main building stands above a parking area surrounded ...

Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia: Private Funeral For Garcia

Report by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, August 1995

MEMBERS OF THE Grateful Dead and the widow of Jerry Garcia spent yesterday making plans for a funeral, while tributes continued to roll in and ...

Grateful Dead: For The Unrepentant Patriarch Of LSD, Long, Strange Trip Winds Back To Bay Area

Profile and Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, July 2007

THE SMALL, barefoot man in black T-shirt and blue jeans barely rates a second glance from the other Starbucks patrons in downtown San Rafael, although ...

Merle Haggard Stands Tall

Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, March 2009

AS LONG AS people speak of country music, the music of Merle Haggard will live. As his career nears the half-century mark, Haggard's imprint is ...

Merle Haggard: Real Country music may be dead, but its last true cowboy, Merle Haggard, carries on the original sound

Profile and Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, June 2001

COUNTRY MUSIC is over. There are lots of rock singers wearing cowboy hats these days, but genuine country music is all but dead and gone. ...

Chris Isaak (with Kenney Dale Johnson) (2005)

Interview by Joel Selvin, Selvin On The City, KSAN 107.7, March 2005

The American icon, together with sidekick Kenney Dale Johnson, spins some favourites and sings a couple of tunes too!

File format: mp3 File size: 32.2mb Interview length: 35' 13"; Sound quality: *****

Ronnie Lane: Inspiring Rocker

Live Review by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, June 1987

Ronnie Lane: Wolfgang's, San Francisco ...

Little Richard: The Rill Thing

Review by Joel Selvin, Rolling Stone, September 1970

AS INCREDIBLE AS IT may seem, Little Richard is as great as he says he is. His new album, the first in three years, is ...

Madonna: HP Pavilion, San Jose

Live Review by Joel Selvin, SF Gate, June 2006

Madonna follows her glitzy, exhausting script to the letter. The Madonna circus rolls in — but it's not about the music ...

Joni Mitchell's Dull Twist On Standards

Live Review by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, May 2000

Nobody sings Joni Mitchell like Joni Mitchell. ...

Harry Nilsson: Nilsson Ratings: Injured, Brilliant

Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, April 1975

NOTE: The interview had to wait until we watched the latest episode of the PBS series, The Ascent of Man. I asked Harry about the ...

NRBQ's Big Al Anderson (2007)

Interview by Joel Selvin, Selvin On The City, KSAN 107.7, 2007

Big Al takes us through life post-NRBQ, becoming songwriter to the Nashville Hat Act Stars, and looks back to the tough days on the road with NRBQ.

File format: mp3 File size: 33.5mb Interview length: 36' 25"; Sound quality: *****

Shuggie Otis: The Resurrection of Shuggie Otis

Retrospective and Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, June 2001

INSPIRATION INFORMATION disappeared shortly after its 1974 release, and the world soon forgot about Shuggie Otis, the promising young rock musician who made the record. ...

Van Dyke Parks

Profile and Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, February 2010

Eccentric Van Dyke Parks finally reaches S.F. ...

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco

Live Review by Joel Selvin, MOJO, March 1997

AFTER MORE THAN FIVE YEARS OF THE IMMENSE SUCCESS THAT followed the popular breakthrough of Full Moon Fever, Tom Petty wondered what to do. His ...

Phil Spector: Over The Wall!

Retrospective by Joel Selvin, MOJO, May 2003

Phil Spector, the most famous producer on the planet, is currently on bail after an actress was shot dead at his L.A. mansion. To a ...

Jonathan Richman: Jonathan Vaporizes

Report and Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, December 1995

BAY AREA cult favorite Jonathan Richman is close to signing a recording deal with Vapor Records, the new label run by Neil Young and his ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Introduction & Voices ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Chapter I: A Little Prince ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Chapter 2: Really A Rhythm and Blues Cat ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Chapter 3: Boys, Girls, Black, White ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Chapter 4: Pussycat à Go Go, Electric Circus ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Chapter 5: Playing Toilets ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Chapter 6: As Big As Life ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Chapter 7: There Is Going To Be a Riot ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Chapter 8: Guns And Dogs ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Chapter 9: Sly's Last Chance ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Chapter 10: Time To Go ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Chapter 11: Only Kidding ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Chapter 12: Nobody Believed Anymore ...

Sly & The Family Stone: On The Record: Sly & the Family Stone

Book Excerpt by Joel Selvin, Simon & Schuster, July 1997

Discography ...

Sly & The Family Stone: Lucifer Rising

Retrospective by Joel Selvin, MOJO, August 2001

THE ENGLISH TUDOR MANSION AT 783 BELAIR ROAD HAD BEEN built for Jeanette MacDonald, the Hollywood screen actress who starred in all those '30s operettas ...

Smashing Pumpkins: Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco

Live Review by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, April 1994

GIVEN Smashing Pumpkins' penchant for cheesy psychedelic touches to decorate their end-of-the-world sonics, the red-hot rockers seemed the perfect act to star at the gala ...

Sopwith Camel: New Orleans House, Berkeley

Live Review by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, May 1973

KEEPING ALIVE the best San Francisco acid-rock tradition, Sopwith Camel can't be pinned down into an easy category. A Camel performance is likely to begin ...

Allen Toussaint: Toussaint Explores Life Outside Big Easy

Profile and Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, May 2007

ALLEN TOUSSAINT never left New Orleans. He spent virtually his entire distinguished career playing piano, singing, writing songs and making records with other people in ...

The Tubes: Tubes at the Garden of Eden: Can They Sell It Out?

Report and Interview by Joel Selvin, Circus, July 1976

THE BICENTENNIAL year has been a busy one for The Tubes, bull goose loonies of the San Francisco rock world. Shortly after ushering in New ...

Tom Waits (2006)

Interview by Joel Selvin, Selvin On The City, KSAN 107.7, 2006

Tom Waits talks about some of his favourite artists - William Burroughs, Daniel Johnston, Johnny Cash, and being the adult when working with Keith Richards!

File format: mp3 File size: 24.7mb Interview length: 26' 56"; Sound quality: *****

Tom Waits Benefits Friend, Audience

Live Review by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, February 1996

IT TOOK A friend in trouble to get Tom Waits back on stage. ...

Tom Waits: Barroom Bard's Next Round

Interview by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, October 2004

TOM WAITS SIPS coffee at the Formica counter of the Chinese takeout and doughnut shop, looking out on the intersection of Mission and 24th streets. ...

List of genre pieces

Rock of Ages Musical Exhumes '80s Power Ballads

Report by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, February 2011

THERE HAVE BEEN few musical sins committed in the name of rock 'n' roll as egregious as the power ballad. Not really rock and not ...

Remembering Ralph J. Gleason

Retrospective by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, December 2004

NOTE: I’ve never done a more personal piece of journalism. Ralph was a distant figure on my horizon, but his presence surrounded me; from reading ...

Summer of Love: 40 Years Later

Retrospective by Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle, May 2007

1967: The stuff that myths are made of ...

The Human Be-In

Retrospective by Joel Selvin, MOJO, Summer 2007

ALL THROUGH the previous year, word filtered out of San Francisco about remarkable happenings and a strange new community of youths gathering around the city's ...

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