Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages

Sean O'Hagan

Sean O'Hagan

Sean O'Hagan started his career on the NME and is an award-winning contributor to THE OBSERVER.

List of articles in the library by artist

Eric B & Rakim: Eric B and Rakim: The Rap Payback

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, October 1987

SEAN O'HAGAN chills out, cuts the ice and pumps it up with rap's sharpest rhythm-monger ERIC — "all the best music has a bad image" ...

The Beach Boys: The Beach Boys (Caribou)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, NME, June 1985

ON THE back cover Brian Wilson looks genuinely happy, his eyes are clear, his smile is contented one. To some degree the music echoes this ...

Big Country: The Seer

Review by Sean O'Hagan, NME, June 1986

MORE "BIG MUSIC". More heroics. Another call-to-arms for the down to earth drummers who landscape their adolescence via Bono, Jim Kerr, Mike Scott and Stuart ...

Big Daddy Kane: Raw Like Sushi

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, May 1989

Christened The Grasshopper Of Rap for his black belt lyrics, Big Daddy Kane is a hero to rap's hard core followers. With hits for Roxanne ...

Kurtis Blow: Kurt's Kingdom

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, November 1986

WHAT ARE WORDS WORTH? ...

David Bowie: Major Tom.com

Profile by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, January 2000

From drifting astronaut to Ziggy Stardust to Thin White Duke and actor...the Brixton boy worth £500 million and with his own Internet bank is bringing ...

Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy: Lester Bowie: Miles Davis Meets Donald Duck

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, November 1986

LESTER BOWIE'S white lab coat and mischievous trumpet have fronted The Art Ensemble Of Chicago's ironic jazz, From The Roots To The Source's revivalist gospel ...

Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers: Chuck Brown: Take The Money And Go-Go

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, April 1987

CHUCK BROWN'S in Britain to stick up the go-go scene with his pioneering blast of bum-pin'. But as SEAN O'HAGAN finds out, he didn't get ...

James Brown: Sweet Cell Music

Profile by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, February 1998

(THE OBSERVER PROFILE James Brown – same song, different keys – by Sean O'Hagan ...

Nick Cave: Rage Has Not Withered Him

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, March 2001

Nick Cave never thought he'd get past 40, but heroin and self-hate are behind him now. Married and "reborn", he writes nine to five in ...

The Fall, Nick Cave, The Pogues, Shane MacGowan: Mark E Smith, Nick Cave & Shane MacGowan: The Three Horsemen Of The Apocalypse

Interview by James Brown, Sean O'Hagan, NME, February 1989

For its second pop summit of the year, NME lent SEAN O'HAGAN and JAMES BROWN £10 each to buy SHANE MACGOWAN, MARK E SMITH and ...

Elvis Costello: King Of America

Review by Sean O'Hagan, NME, February 1986

IN BROCADE and jewelled crown, Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus stares out from the sleeve of King Of America, his beard and spectacles framing an unsmiling ...

Elvis Costello: And So To Bedlam

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, February 1989

If 'you're nobody 'til everybody thinks you're a bastard' then, logically, the universal acclaim received by ELVIS COSTELLO's Spike LP must make him one of ...

De La Soul: Brothers From Another Planet

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, October 1989

HIPPIES!?! Never! No sirree! Ignore the paisley, the peace signs, the flowers, the speccy Lennonisms, DE LA SOUL are truly brothers from another planet, extra ...

De La Soul: Three Feet High And Rising (Big Life LP/Cassette/CD)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, NME, March 1989

ARE YOU ready for Martian hip-hop? Can you handle the new nutty boys of rap, the maddest, baddest bunch on the block? Can you imagine ...

Dexys Midnight Runners: Dexy's Midnight Runners: Don't Stand Me Down (Mercury)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, NME, September 1985

YOU'D THINK three years silence might have dimmed the man's burning rage, but no, Kevin Rowland is back with a resharpened axe to grind. Chapter ...

Bob Dylan: Vicar St, Dublin *****

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, September 2000

THE 800 TICKETS for this suddenly announced "intimate" show supposedly sold out in 15 seconds. For the select multitude, then, this was a night of ...

Bob Dylan: Well, How Does It Feel?

Profile by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, March 2001

There's only one person in pop who is not fascinated by the myth of Bob Dylan – and that's Bob Dylan. Now approaching sixty and ...

Fine Young Cannibals: The Raw And The Cooked (London LP/Cassette/CD)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, NME, February 1989

WHERE'S THE BEEF? ...

Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew: Show Stoppers

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, November 1985

A show? Well, DOUG E. FRESH and The Get Fresh Crew ain't got the energy to do much more than nod off in the company ...

Chaka Khan: Vivid And Real

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, May 1989

CHAKA KHAN, the smooth voice of early '70s soul, has been thrust back into the limelight with a new dance cut of her hits I'm ...

Mantronix: Will Hip Hop Eat Itself?

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, November 1986

Where is it? New York city. How is it? Bloody hot in here. Why is it? Because MATRONIX, pure-steel technologists of studio and vox, have ...

The Men They Couldn’t Hang: The Men They Couldn't Hang: Noose On The Loose

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, March 1985

A FEW YEARS BACK if someone had told me that an English pop group would record Eric Bogie's 'The Green Fields Of France', That it ...

Joni Mitchell: Idol Talk: Joni Mitchell

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, June 1988

"THE POET is the vainest of the vain, even before the ugliest of water buffalo doth he fan his tail." ...

Van Morrison: Astral Weeks

Review by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, June 2004

RECORDED in New York over two days in 1968, Astral Weeks still sounds like nothing before or since. Unlike other classic albums, Pet Sounds, say, ...

Van Morrison: No Guru, No Method, No Teacher

Review by Sean O'Hagan, NME, July 1986

ALTHOUGH VAN Morrison has long since ceased to surprise, there have been enough scattered moments throughout his recent work to point to a singer content ...

My Bloody Valentine: Daydream Believers: My Bloody Valentine

Retrospective and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer Music Monthly, May 2008

BACK IN DECEMBER 1991, when My Bloody Valentine embarked on a British tour to promote Loveless, their "difficult" second album and sonic masterpiece, the four-piece ...

New York Dolls: The New York Dolls: Fast and Louche

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, June 2004

The New York Dolls: Royal Festival Hall, London ...

Nirvana, Sid Vicious: Kurt Cobain and Sid Vicious: Death and Glory

Essay by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, February 2004

"Thank you all from the pit of my burning nauseous stomach." – Extract from Kurt Cobain's suicide note ...

Sinead O'Connor: Mother Superior

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, October 2002

A mellow Sinead O'Connor, who describes herself as 'a regular housewife', talks about ordination, her flair for getting into trouble – and why she's more ...

Will Oldham: Still Voice, Distant Life: Will Oldham

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, November 2002

He’s the finest songwriter to come out of America in the past decade. Just ask Johnny Cash. But Will Oldham doesn’t play the fame game. ...

Will Oldham: The Prince Of Darkness

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, March 2001

"I created Billy and let him take care of the performing. It's not me, Will Oldham, who gets up on stage." ...

David Thomas, Pere Ubu: David Thomas: Monster Walks The Winter Lake

Review by Sean O'Hagan, NME, April 1986

DAVID THOMAS sees things differently. He sings things differently too. Sometimes he sees/sings things like a child, other times like a Martian. Often he'll submerge ...

The Pogues: For A Few Ciders More

Interview by David Quantick, Sean O'Hagan, NME, August 1984

A TABLE littered with the debris of an early evening's drinking, three Pogues attempt to justify their existence. ...

Prince: Lovesexy (Paisley Park)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, NME, May 1988

"The best pop music does not reflect events so much as it absorbs them".– Greil Marcus on Sly Stone's There's A Riot Goin' On ...

Prince: Royal Blush

Profile by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, April 2004

LAST WEEKEND, tickets for the opening show of Prince's American arena tour, his first in nearly a decade, were changing hands over the internet for ...

Public Enemy: Rebels With a Cause

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, October 1987

They understand Malcolm X and they dig James Brown. Right now PUBLIC ENEMY are making all the noise and SEAN O'HAGAN is ready to take the rap. ...

Pulp: Pulp: Je Suis Un Rock Star...

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, December 2002

IN THE BBC CANTEEN, where passing celebrity chefs must recoil before a menu that has stubbornly resisted the onward march of culinary ponciness, Jarvis Cocker ...

Pulp: In a Class of His Own: Jarvis Cocker

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, December 2001

Jarvis Cocker could have been trapped in his role of English eccentric, a blend of Morrissey, Ray Davies and Alan Bennett. But he has found ...

Sly & The Family Stone: Sly Stone: I Want To Take You... Lower

Report by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, July 2007

Sly Stone was the funkadelic pioneer who made the world dance, broke racial boundaries, raised hell and set Woodstock alight. Last week, in Italy, after ...

Patti Smith: Making Waves

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, June 2003

THERE ARE TEARS in Patti Smith's eyes. She is midway through a performance that has been, by turns, sombre and joyous, intense and ecstatic, when ...

Soul II Soul: Funki Bold Demeanour

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, September 1989

• Current king of British clubs JAZZIE B is preparing to launch SOUL II SOUL even further ahead of the opposition-the summer soundtrack on both ...

Ronnie Spector: Ronnie's Spectre

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, March 2006

RONNIE SPECTOR Greenfield strolls into the nondescript foyer of the Sheraton hotel in Danbury, Connecticut, a few paces behind her husband, Jonathan. ...

Todd Terry: All On His Todd

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, November 1988

TODD TERRY, the name if not the face of 1988, is possibly the ultimate producer, refusing to become a performer or even enter a "proper" ...

That Petrol Emotion: The Petrol Emotion: Oil On Troubled Waters

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, May 1986

WHAT'S IN A NAME?(1) ...

Tricky: The Wide Bunch

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Face, The, February 1995

Tense, nervous and paranoid, Tricky has emerged from the dark heart of the Bristol beat with an extraordinary album that is almost as strange and ...

U2 Anew

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Details, September 1992

With Achtung Babyand their Zoo TV tour, U2 have found a way to be the biggest band in the world and still have fun. Sean ...

U2: Achtung! Saint Bono

Profile by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, November 1991

All but canonised in Ireland, U2's lead singer preaches redemption through rock 'n' roll. But now he's learning to write about girls. Sean O'Hagan profiles ...

U2: Saint Bono Defrocked

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Face, The, April 1992

IT'S EARLY evening in a Russian restaurant somewhere in west London, a place that specializes in vodka – chili vodka, lemon vodka, brandy vodka, even ...

UB40: Salt Of The Earth

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, December 1986

"My life is like a joke but to me it isn't funny..." ('All I Want To Do') ...

Luther Vandross: Forever, For Always, For Love (Epic)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, NME, June 1987

ON THE soft focus cover shot, the transformation is complete: Luther the beige mannequin with compulsory wet look is a world away from the roly ...

Tom Waits: I Just Tell Stories For Money: Tom Waits

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, November 1987

SOMETIMES YOU CAN get a pretty good idea about someone's music just by checking out their appearance. If clothes maketh the man, they also speak ...

Tom Waits: Sean O'Hagan Meets Tom Waits, The Little Amsterdam Oyster Bar, near Petaluma, California, 21 September 2006

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Rock's Backpages, November 2006

An edited version of this interview appeared in The Observer, October 29, 2006 ...

Scott Walker

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, November 2008

In the sixties, he was part of the celebrated pop group the Walker Brothers – known as America's Beatles – but he rebelled against stardom ...

Muddy Waters: Robert Gordon: Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters (Jonathan Cape)

Book Review by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, July 2002

The ONE-ROOM shack where Muddy Waters grew up originally stood on the edge of Stovall's plantation in Coahoma County in the Mississippi Delta. A few ...

Brian Wilson: Smile

Review by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, September 2004

The piano in the sand pit, the orchestra decked out in fireman's helmets, the kilos of grade A hashish, the master tapes that were destroyed, ...

Yellowman: Colour Me Yellow

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, NME, April 1984

"Jamaica jus' an island in the Caribbean, and Jamaica produce a lotta champion, like Bob Marley and I Yellowman." — 'Jamaica Nice' ...

List of genre pieces

Acid Crackdown: Get Right Off One Chummy

Report by Paolo Hewitt, Sean O'Hagan, Steven Wells, NME, November 1988

With the hysteria now reaching fever pitch and questions being asked in the (non-Acid) House, NME calls a time out to assess the damage in the tab-mad ...

Acid House

Report by Sean O'Hagan, Spin, January 1989

A heady mix of sex, drugs, and trance dance music, Acid House has swept England with a wave of hedonism and made going out fun ...

Punk and Reggae: Rip Bam Bam Bye Yeah

Retrospective by Sean O'Hagan, NME, February 1986

"Black and white, unite and fight" was the call; The Clash sang of 'Police And Thieves', Johnny Rotten found he was 'Born For A Purpose'. ...

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeves: The Lost Art of the Mix Tape

Memoir by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, January 2007

LAST WEEK, while preparing to write this piece, I did something I have not done for a long time. I made a compilation tape. Back ...

back to LIBRARY

COPYRIGHT NOTICE