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Lucy O'Brien

Lucy O'Brien

O'Brien is the author of the bestsellers Annie Lennox (1991) and Dusty (1989/99), which has been adapted for the forthcoming Maverick/VH1 film The Dusty Springfield Story. Her groundbreaking She Bop: The Definitive History of Women in Rock, Pop and Soul has been reissued as She Bop II by Continuum (2002). O'Brien has also contributed to the GUARDIAN, the SUNDAY TIMES, the OBSERVER, MARIE CLAIRE, Q, NME and THE FACE.

64 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by date

Marillion: Bournemouth Winter Gardens

Live Review by Lucy O'Brien, New Musical Express, 9 April 1983

THIS HAPPY breed came to town with Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy emblazoned on the back of their jackets. Patches, denim and undyed hair were ...

Everything But The Girl: Tracey Goes To Dollywood

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, New Musical Express, 23 August 1986

"ROB OUR drummer turned up to the first rehearsal with the idea we were vaguely bossa nova-ish. The first thing I said was 'd'you like ...

Elvis Costello, Joe Strummer, The Pogues: A Fistful Of Pesetas

Report and Interview by Lucy O'Brien, New Musical Express, 20 September 1986

In the badlands of Spain, a strange scenario... JOE STRUMMER is shooting everyone in sight, SHANE MACGOWAN has been killed, ELVIS COSTELLO is serving coffee... ...

Billy Bragg: Talking With The Taxman About Poetry

Review by Lucy O'Brien, New Musical Express, 27 September 1986

SUBTITLED 'THE difficult third album', this is Billy growing into a Big Boy. Decorating the sleeve with Mayakovsky's poem, Bragg takes seriously his role as ...

Billy Idol: Whiplash Smile

Review by Lucy O'Brien, New Musical Express, 25 October 1986

THIS IS an ode to peroxide. Bottle Blonde spikes and matted hair. Gel by the ton. A sneer, a whiplash smile, a surly pout. The ...

Whitney Houston: Wembley Arena, London

Live Review by Lucy O'Brien, New Musical Express, 25 October 1986

A TASTE OF ECSTASY ...

Nick Cave: Your Funeral…My Trial

Review by Lucy O'Brien, New Musical Express, 8 November 1986

MANSON KILLED a woman. Burroughs killed a woman. Nicholas Cave, performance artist, amoral Baal-like poet and tortured balladeer, sings of killing a woman. ...

Patti LaBelle: Patti Labelle: Labelle Of The Ball

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, New Musical Express, 15 November 1986

"I LOVE Madonna. I do. I just don't like the way she stepped on my feet. We were at the American Music Awards, in the ...

Madonna: The Crucifixion Of A Junkyard Angel

Comment by Lucy O'Brien, John McCready, New Musical Express, 13 December 1986

Madonna: The Crucifixion Of A Junkyard Angel, part 1Lucy O'Brien ...

Cookie Crew: The Cookie Crew: Bite This

Profile and Interview by Lucy O'Brien, New Musical Express, 11 April 1987

B-girls behave! THE COOKIE CREW call for unity on the homegrown hip-hop scene. LUCY O'BRIEN watches them clear the decks. ...

David Bowie, Nona Hendryx: Feyenoord Stadium, Rotterdam, Holland

Live Review by Lucy O'Brien, New Musical Express, 8 June 1987

CACKY ACTOR ...

Tracy Chapman: She’s Gotta Ticket: Tracy Chapman

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, City Limits, 5 May 1988

TRACY CHAPMAN is fresh, focused – and making her points with hard – hitting folk. Lucy O’Brien talked to a new kind of star. ...

Neneh Cherry: A Gap in the Rap

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 25 January 1989

Neneh Cherry is one of many women invading the hip hop scene ...

Michelle Shocked: Culture Shocked

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 8 November 1989

Feminist fans may be outraged by her apparent change of image, but it's no sell-out, as Michelle Shocked tells Lucy O'Brien ...

Belinda Carlisle, The Go-Go's: Belinda Carlisle: From Go Go to Solo

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 22 November 1989

She's come through the live-fast, look-bad, almost die-young scene to a beautiful future. Belinda Carlisle tells Lucy O'Brien how she did it ...

Mel & Kim: Mel Appleby: The Bravery Lying Behind All That Fun, Love & Money

Obituary by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 31 January 1990

Lucy O'Brien finds the pop world full of praise for the courage of Mel Appleby of the bubbly duo Mel and Kim, who this month lost ...

Boy George, Culture Club: Jesus Loves You: The Last Temptation of Boy George

Report and Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Select, April 1991

Four years ago BOY GEORGE'S world crashed, his career in shreds as he struggled to come off heroin. He became a bitter, paranoid recluse, shunning the same media he'd once courted. In this rare interview, ...

Carleen Anderson, Brand New Heavies, DaYeene, M People, Joey Negro, Young Disciples: Girls on Song

Report and Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Mixmag, June 1992

"IT'S JUST tinkly pianos and wailing slags," was how 808 State once summed up the contribution of female vocalists to house music. If it wasn't ...

Nina Simone: Diva Of The Dives

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 20 November 1992

APPROACHING 60, Nina Simone, Princess Noir with the famed attitude, has got used to putting punters in their place. A one-time classical musician she should ...

Siouxsie & The Banshees: Siouxsie and the Banshees: A Kiss in the DreamHouse

Book Excerpt by Lucy O'Brien, 'Love is the Drug' (Penguin), 1994

ALTHOUGH SHE'D been one of punk's founding fathers, as it were, Siouxsie Sioux never really looked like she could last the distance. She's still here ...

Transglobal Underground: International Times (LP/CD/MC NAT38)

Review by Lucy O'Brien, Vox, November 1994

World piece ...

Chic, Rattle and Roll

Overview by Lucy O'Brien, Vox, April 1995

From models to mods, designer girlfriends to X Girl, it's a fine thread between fashion and rock 'n' roll. VOX explores the world of pop ...

PJ Harvey: Queen of the Night: P.J. Harvey

Profile by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 12 June 1995

SHE’S TAKING America by storm. She’s very fashionable at the moment. She’s hipper than hip. That’s what Paul McGuinness says; he’s the manager of U2 ...

Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill (Maverick)

Review by Lucy O'Brien, Vox, September 1995

THE LATEST signing to Madonna's stable, this debut is striking in its maturity. ...

Skunk Anansie: The Year Skunk Broke: Skunk Anansie

Report and Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Vox, September 1995

Two indie EPs have been enough to catapult Skunk Anansie from British cult status to the silver screens of Hollywood. VOX joins them for a ...

Björk: Call Of The Wild: Bjork

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Vox, October 1995

Bjork hasn’t let two years of critical kudos and VIP bullshit go to her head. As she heads out on a major world tour, VOX ...

Melissa Etheridge: One of the Boys

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 3 November 1995

As a woman, Melissa Etheridge’s success in the major league of American rock is remarkable, as an out lesbian it’s unique. Lucy O’Brien meets a ...

Therapy?: Brixton Academy, London

Live Review by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 16 December 1995

The riot act, scene two ...

The Cardigans, David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins: David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cardigans: The White Room

Report and Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Q, March 1996

"THE BEST THING was when we had Tora Tora, or The Artist Formerly Known As Prince," says Chris Cowey, the noticeably effusive producer of The ...

Alanis Morissette: Bruised: Alanis Morissette: Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Review and Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Q, July 1996

Alanis Morissette: she's got the whole world in her hands. ...

John Cale, Patti Smith: John Cale and Patti Smith: How We Met

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Independent on Sunday, 25 August 1996

JOHN CALE, 55, rock musician and composer, was born in South Wales, moved to New York in the early 1960s and became a founder member ...

New Edition: Boyz To Men

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Q, October 1996

A decade ago, New Edition were teenage, wildly successful and far from rich. The split, Bobby Brown married Whitney and checked into the Betty Ford ...

Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons: How We Met: Emmylou Harris and Phil Kaufman

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Independent, The, 5 October 1996

THE SINGER Emmylou Harris, 47, was born in Birmingham, Alabama. She started her career singing with country rock pioneer Gram Parsons, then after his death ...

The Associates, Billy Mackenzie: Those Last Impressions: Billy MacKenzie

Retrospective by Lucy O'Brien, Q, 1997

When Billy MacKenzie committed suicide in January, he was about to re-launch a career that sparkled briefly but brilliantly with The Associates. Lucy O'Brien recalls ...

East 17: Pimply — East 17: Around The World — The Journey So Far (London 826852-2)

Review by Lucy O'Brien, Q, January 1997

East 17: becoming cooler by degrees. ...

Suzanne Vega

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Independent, The, 1 February 1997

"I can't listen to Days of Open Hand without feeling like I'm getting hives. It was such a difficult album to make, I was doing ...

Sinead O'Connor: An Inconvenient Woman: Sinead O’Connor

Profile and Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 26 April 1997

Sinead O’Connor bothers people. American audiences were outraged when she shunned their national anthem, the pop establishment was vindictive when she refused a Brit, and ...

Fun Lovin' Criminals: De Westercas Fabriek, Amsterdam

Live Review by Lucy O'Brien, Q, May 1997

"WHEN WE STARTED, people would throw stuff at us for free. We got $25,000 this time," says Huey, lead singer and guitarist of New York ...

Michael Hutchence, INXS: Michael Hutchence, 1960-1997: Death Of A Rock Star

Obituary by Lucy O'Brien, Q, February 1998

Living life at supersonic speed, broken by the battle between his fiancée and her ex-husband, scarred by childhood neglect and propelled by his urge for ...

All Saints: Follow That Band!

Report and Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Q, May 1998

Envy All Saints, but only a little bit, because Brit Awards mean nothing when you're in Miami, working your hits off. Lucy O'Brien is along ...

Gloria Estefan: Gloria! (Epic 48950 4/2)

Review by Lucy O'Brien, Q, July 1998

Miami pop queen goes back to Latin disco roots in unashamedly good time fashion. ...

Alanis Morissette: Rock and Rage: Alanis Morissette Sings Her Heart Out

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Sunday Express Magazine, 22 November 1998

THERE IS SOMETHING quite disarming about the way Alanis Morissette slips into the room. The 24-year-old rock star has sold 28 million records, she has ...

Rock’n’Role: Are Singers The New Feminist Icons?

Overview by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 21 December 1998

IN THE US, they call it the Third Wave – a new feminism for a new generation. It is fuelled by popular culture in general ...

Dusty Springfield: You Started Something: Dusty Springfield

Profile and Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Observer, The, 21 February 1999

Dusty Springfield, now battling with cancer, is finally being recognized as the first queen of Britpop after 40 years in the business. ...

Chrissie Hynde, The Pretenders: Chrissie Hynde: The Great Pretender

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 27 April 1999

CHRISSIE HYNDE, wild woman of rock, sits in a private members' club in London's Portman Square in a finely tailored pinstripe suit. Despite the elegance ...

Destiny's Child: The Writing's On The Wall (Columbia) ***

Review by Lucy O'Brien, Q, August 1999

En Vogue-esque girl power R&B From Texas' latest export. ...

Tammy Wynette: The Mad Life And Crazy Death of Tammy Wynette

Overview by Lucy O'Brien, Q, August 1999

Burt Reynolds nearly died in her bath, George Jones escaped on her lawn-mower, and her second husband traded pictures of her in the nuddy. She ...

Nina Simone: Stocky And Wild-Eyed: Nina Simone at the Royal Festival Hall

Live Review by Lucy O'Brien, MOJO, September 1999

"EVERY GENERATION has to discover Nina Simone. She is evidence that female genius is real," says Germaine Greer, introducing tonight’s show, one of the highlights ...

Shelby Lynne: Embassy Rooms, London ****

Live Review by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 27 October 1999

ONE OF THE new breed of US country crossover stars, Shelby Lynne doesn't have the smooth, invincible sheen of a Shania Twain or a Mindy ...

Horace Andy: Heavenly Social, London

Live Review by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 30 October 1999

After three decades as a singer, Horace Andy can still surprise. Lucy O'Brien reports ...

Destiny's Child: Destiny’s Child: Invasion Of The Booty-Snatchers

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Q, 2000

What’s "up" with Destiny’s Child, R&B’s only three-piece quartet? Members keep getting whacked and replaced by ringers, but millions of fans – many of them ...

Skunk Anansie: Second Skin

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Telegraph Magazine, 2000

SKIN WALKS into her manager's house in St. John's Wood and immediately shows off her jeans. "I wanted a pair of trousers that go VROOM ...

Oasis: First Union Center, Philadelphia

Live Review by Lucy O'Brien, Q, February 2000

Oasis's American concerts provided tantalising glimpses of their sprightlier, less bald new direction. Lucy O’Brien was there. ...

Billie Piper: Billie No Mates

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Q, July 2000

The fans have turned on her, Billie Piper has rediscovered her surname and written a song about the music business. Teen pop midlife crisis ahoy! ...

Foxy Brown: Ill Na Na (Def Jam) ***

Review by Lucy O'Brien, Q, August 2000

First Lady of glam gangsta rap's 1996 album. ...

Eliza Carthy, Kate Rusby, Kathryn Williams: Sandals Out, Piercing In: The New Folk Sirens

Overview by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 24 August 2000

LIVERPUDLIAN ARTIST Kathryn Williams is among the nominees for this year’s Mercury music prize – and hotly tipped to win. Last year Kate Rusby was ...

Moloko: These Boots Are Made For Walkin'…

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Q, September 2000

…and today they're going to walk all over Q. For she is Roisin Murphy and they are Moloko, the Euro-chart topping Lee 'n' Nancy who ...

Björk: Cash For Questions

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Q, October 2000

Miraculously, nothing in the postbag about elves or smoked auk; instead it was journo-bashing, fan-suicides and Goldie's "teeth" all the way for the Palme d'Or-winning ...

Madonna: Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

Retrospective by Lucy O'Brien, Q, March 2002

Plagued by accusations of bimboism and blasphemy, Madonna put on her conical bra, reduced her body fat to an "unhealthy level" and began playing with ...

She Bop II: Rock Chicks Fight Back

Comment by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 13 September 2003

Lucy O'Brien reflects on her monumental history of the music business ...

Angie Stone: Stone Love

Review by Lucy O'Brien, MOJO, August 2004

Subtle licks and straight talking on the South Carolina neo-soul songstress's third solo album. ...

Blondie, Debbie Harry: Debbie Harry

Profile and Interview by Lucy O'Brien, MOJO, October 2007

DEBORAH HARRY'S road manager is a tall Californian called Machine. He has a moustache, a firm handshake, and is ineffably polite. "Deborah will be with ...

Natalie Cole: The Unforgettable Ms Cole

Interview by Lucy O'Brien, Guardian, The, 26 September 2008

Natalie Cole is the superstar's daughter who became a Black Panther, a cocaine addict – and a huge success in her own right. As she ...

Iggy Azalea: The New Classic

Review by Lucy O'Brien, Quietus, The, 29 April 2014

"WHEN THE SMOKE clears I'm the last bandit," Iggy Azalea raps optimistically on 'Walk The Line', a stand-out track on her long-awaited debut album. ...

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