Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
Rock's Backpages

Alan Light

Alan Light

Alan Light has been one of America’s leading music journalists and authors for more than twenty-five years. A frequent contributor to the New York Times and numerous other publications, he is the co-host of the daily music talk show "Debatable" and the monthly interview series "In the Light" on SiriusXM.
 
Alan’s books include THE HOLY OR THE BROKEN: LEONARD COHEN, JEFF BUCKLEY AND THE UNLIKELY ASCENT OF 'HALLELUJAH', which Kirkus Reviews named one of the best books of 2012, and LET'S GO CRAZY: PRINCE AND THE MAKING OF PURPLE RAIN.  He also wrote WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? — a companion to the Academy Award-nominated documentary of the same title — and his most recent book is the illustrated biography JOHNNY CASH: THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF THE MAN IN BLACK.
 
Alan is the co-author of Gregg Allman’s best-selling memoir, MY CROSS TO BEAR, which Rolling Stone and Billboard named one of the best rock & roll memoirs of all time, and he was the writer of THE SEARCHER, an acclaimed two-part documentary about the life and music of Elvis Presley, which premiered on HBO in April 2018.
 
Alan was the founding music editor and editor-in-chief of the urban culture monthly Vibe. In that time, Vibe’s circulation climbed from 200,000 to 600,000 and the magazine was nominated for four National Magazine Awards. Alan then served as the editor-in-chief of Spin magazine. Before helping launch Vibe, Alan was a Senior Writer at Rolling Stone, where he began working in 1989.
 
Alan’s writing has appeared in such publications as the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, Pitchfork.com, Mother Jones, New York magazine, and MOJO, and he is a two-time winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music journalism. He has written liner notes for numerous albums and DVDs by such artists as the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston, and Chuck Berry, and his essays on subjects from Bruce Springsteen to the roots of hip-hop have appeared in many other books.

Pic: Mary Ellen Matthews

9 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by artist

The Beatles, George Martin: The Real Fifth Beatle: Sir George Martin On Sgt. Pepper, Why Abbey Road is Better and More

Interview by Alan Light, MSN.com, June 2007

There were many who vied for the title, but in the recording studio, there was really only one Fifth Beatle. ...

David Byrne

Interview by Alan Light, MSN.com, August 2008

IN NEW YORK CITY this summer, David Byrne is everywhere. His installation titled Playing the Building transformed the Battery Maritime Building into a giant musical ...

David Johansen, New York Dolls, Buster Poindexter: David Johansen: The MOJO Interview

Interview by Alan Light, MOJO, March 2015

DAVID JOHANSEN sits on the couch in the living room of his wife's long-time, walk-up apartment on a nondescript block of Manhattan's Upper West Side. ...

Led Zeppelin: Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones

Interview by Alan Light, MSN.com, October 2007

IT IS A ROCK and roll fantasy that most people had abandoned. On November 26 at London's O2 Arena, the three surviving members of Led ...

Robert Plant: The World's Roar

Retrospective and Interview by Alan Light, Relix, December 2014

AT FIRST GLANCE, you don't notice him. It's a little hard to believe – he is, after all, one of the most recognizable, distinctive, and ...

The Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on Some Girls

Retrospective and Interview by Alan Light, MSN.com, November 2011

"THE IDEA WAS ten songs, very direct, not a lot of backing vocals or horns, no duets or guests, very straightforward," says Mick Jagger. "We ...

Paul Simon

Interview by Alan Light, MSN.com, October 2011

"CAN YOU IMAGINE us years from today?" wrote Paul Simon in 'Old Friends', from Simon and Garfunkel's 1968 album Bookends. "Sharing a park bench quietly/How ...

Steely Dan

Interview by Alan Light, MSN.com, May 2008

THE WORSE THINGS get, the better Steely Dan sounds. The songs of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen stand as the definitive account of urban decadence ...

Pete Townshend, The Who: Pete Townshend: "I Was Wild!"

Interview by Alan Light, MOJO, August 2015

"I DON'T WANT to tour, I don't want to go on TV, I don't want to go on the radio, I don't want to do ...

back to LIBRARY

COPYRIGHT NOTICE