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Sean O'Hagan

Sean O'Hagan

Sean O'Hagan was brought up in Armagh during the Troubles, and has written about the experience. As an undergraduate, he studied English in London. He began his media career as a writer for NME, The Face and Arena, and during this period became interested in photography.[6] As of 2013, he is one of six regular "Art and design" critics for The Guardian website, and the only photography critic among the six. O'Hagan is a nominator for the Prix Pictet Award in photography and sustainability.

The term "new lad" was coined by O'Hagan in a 1993 article about a young, brash and boisterous economist called David "Lad Lad Lad" Sturrock in Arena. On 18 March 2003, he received the 2002 British Press Award for Interviewer of the Year. In 2011 he was the sole recipient of the J. Dudley Johnston Awardfrom the Royal Photographic Society "for major achievement in the field of photographic criticism".

143 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by date

Jah Shaka, The Mad Professor: Jah Shaka: Commandments Of Dub: Chapter 2 (Shaka Music); Mad Professor: Escape To The Asylum Of Dub (Ariwa)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 3 March 1984

SHAKA ALL OVER ...

Josey Wales, Yellowman: Yellowman versus Josey Wales: Two Giants Clash (Greensleeves)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 10 March 1984

EGOS ON TOAST ...

Johnny Osbourne: The Musical Chopper

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 17 March 1984

I AM USHERED into Johnny Osbourne's dressing room just as he is winding down an interview with someone else. "Exactly how old are you anyway?" ...

Dennis Brown: Mr Brown Enters The Promised Land

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 21 April 1984

JAMAICA'S WARMEST VOICE AIMS FOR GLOBAL HEIGHTS! SEAN O'HAGAN ROOTS! ...

Eek-A-Mouse, Yellowman: Yellowman: King (CBS); Eek A Mouse: Mouseketeer (Greensleeves)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 21 April 1984

AIN'T NUTHIN' BUT A MOUSE PARTY ...

Yellowman: Colour Me Yellow

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 28 April 1984

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

Change: Hammersmith Odeon, London

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 4 August 1984

AT SOUL/FUNK celebrations like this it's a temptation to review the audience whose performance, in the service of adulation, is as spectacular as that of ...

The Last Poets: The Last Poets (Celluloid)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 11 August 1984

THEY CAME, SORE... ...

The Pogues: For A Few Ciders More

Interview by David Quantick, Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 11 August 1984

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

Lee 'Scratch' Perry: Lee Perry: Presents Megaton Dub 2 (Seven Leaves)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 22 September 1984

PUT THIS IN YOUR PIPE, COCK! ...

The Roots Radics: Roots Radics: Cheque It! (please!!)

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 6 October 1984

The ROOTS RADICS — the session trio — talk about run (how they never seem to run into any pay) All ears, SEAN O'HAGAN ...

Clint Eastwood & General Saint: White Bread Toasters

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 3 November 1984

Wha 'appen to give Clint Eastwood & General Saint so much chart action? Sean O'Hagan asks is this a sell-out or are they just starting ...

Smiley Culture: 1st Offender

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 2 February 1985

NAME: Smiley Culture CHARGE: Dread Bodily Harm SENTENCE: A Spell in the Charts REPORT: Sean O'Hagan ...

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

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 2 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 ...

The Last Poets: Bardcore!

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 13 April 1985

THE LAST POETS were the first rappers — the voice of ghetto anger and fiery jazzoetry. Their "exile" over, they're back with a new LP ...

Eek-A-Mouse: Eek A Mouse: Dingwalls, London

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 1 June 1985

EVERYTHING ABOUT The Eek is a little weird: his name, his height (6' 6"), his dress sense and, of course, his unique vocal style. One ...

The Beach Boys: The Beach Boys (Caribou)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 12 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 ...

Maxi Priest: The Mini Rise Of Maxi Priest

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 20 June 1985

Hot shot of Lovers Rock and inventor of "new vogue reggae", MAXI PRIEST is poised to breakthrough to pop success. SEAN O'HAGAN joins the priesthood. ...

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

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 7 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 ...

Street Sounds: E-Khan-Omics

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 16 November 1985

MORGAN KHAN is the financial wizard behind the phenomenally successful Street Sounds label, whose panache at marketing soul has helped to transform the Top 50. ...

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

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 30 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 ...

Punk and Reggae: Rip Bam Bam Bye Yeah

Retrospective by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 8 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'. ...

Elvis Costello: King Of America

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 22 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 ...

The Pogues: Hammersmith Palais, London

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 29 March 1986

NO SLEEP AT HAMMERSMITH! ...

George Jones: Wembley Arena Country Festival, London

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 12 April 1986

THE GREATEST "NO SHOW" ON EARTH ...

Sweet Honey in the Rock: Sting in the Tale

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 19 April 1986

SEAN O'HAGAN makes a journey to the land of SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK where heavenly voices have their say. ...

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

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 26 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 ...

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

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 10 May 1986

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

Big Country: The Seer

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 28 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 ...

Van Morrison: No Guru, No Method, No Teacher

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 26 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 ...

Tippa Irie: The Double Life

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Music News, 6 September 1986

TIPPA IRIE, wide boy wonder and cultural chameleon, now finds himself torn between reggae's dub-swamped dance-halls and the glitterdome. SEAN O'HAGAN risks an ear in the rapid fire ...

Augustus Pablo: Man from the Hills

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 11 October 1986

For over a decade, and through the endless changes in the music's style, the melodica musings of AUGUSTUS PABLO have drifted across reggae, haughty and ...

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

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 1 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 ...

Kurtis Blow: Kurt's Kingdom

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 8 November 1986

WHAT ARE WORDS WORTH? ...

Mantronix: Will Hip Hop Eat Itself?

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 22 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 ...

UB40: Salt Of The Earth

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 8 December 1986

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

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

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 4 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 ...

Sly & Robbie: Murder!

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 16 May 1987

Legends of world rhythm SLY & ROBBIE have responded to advances in all musics by making a technological masterpiece of an LP. SEAN O'HAGAN meets ...

U2: The Band of Holy Joy

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 6 June 1987

Riots greet U2 in Italy! Bono is bigger than Il Papa! Rock is not dead! Sean O'Hagan gets an audience with the holy man of ...

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

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 27 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 ...

Hothouse Flowers: Savoy, Limerick

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 29 August 1987

THE HOTHOUSE Flowers kinda live up to their name, burning bright one minute, descending into shiny plastic showbiz the next. The first thing they should ...

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

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 10 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" ...

Public Enemy: Rebels With a Cause

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 10 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. ...

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

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 14 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 ...

M/A/R/R/S: Life on M/A/R/R/S

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 14 November 1987

This is a journey into sound. A journey into the hip-slanging, writ-wrangling, song-stealing, dub-dealing world of sampling. It is also fast becoming a journey to ...

Stock Aitken Waterman: Stock, Aitken and Waterman: Let the Kids Decide

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 19 December 1987

Messrs. STOCK, AITKEN AND WATERMAN were this year's answer to Swain and Jolley, only (surprise surprise) they don't see it that way. SEAN O'HAGAN hears ...

Arthur Baker, New Order: Arthur Baker: Legends of Arthur

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 9 January 1988

What do current chart hits by New Order and Wally Jump Junior have in common with a new House version of John Coltrane's masterpiece 'A ...

Prince: Lovesexy (Paisley Park)

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 14 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 ...

Joni Mitchell: Idol Talk: Joni Mitchell

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 4 June 1988

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

Beats Workin': Turn On, Drop Out

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 16 July 1988

Methylenedioxymetheamphetamine, aka Ecstasy has been described as a "love drug" and "a new age mind bender". Whatever, there is no doubting its effect on a ...

The Fall: Michael Clark & Company v The Fall — I Am Kurious, Oranj: Sadler's Wells, London

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 1 October 1988

M.E.S. IN TUTU DRAW ...

Todd Terry: All On His Todd

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 5 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" ...

Acid Crackdown: Get Right Off One Chummy

Report by Paolo Hewitt, Sean O'Hagan, Steven Wells, New Musical Express, 19 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 ...

Jean-Paul Gaultier: Club Couture

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 28 January 1989

After years of being afforded the status of pop star in his native France, fashion designer JEAN-PAUL GAULTIER has gone and done it his way ...

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

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 11 February 1989

WHERE'S THE BEEF? ...

Elvis Costello: And So To Bedlam

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 18 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 ...

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, New Musical Express, 25 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 ...

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

Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 18 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 ...

The Jungle Brothers: Pure Righteousness

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 1 April 1989

Can the creators of powerful positive Afro-rap THE JUNGLE BROTHERS also be true believers of Islamic fundamentalist, black separatist Louis Farrakhan? SEAN O'HAGAN explores the ...

Coldcut: What's That Noise?

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 8 April 1989

First grabbing the world's ears with their remix of Eric B And Rakims 'Paid In Full' the COLDCUT crew of Matt Black and Jonathan Moore ...

Just-Ice: Hardhead

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 29 April 1989

JUST-ICE is not a man to cross, for a start he carries a gun and his favourite role model is The Godfather. SEAN O'HAGAN took ...

Big Daddy Kane: Raw Like Sushi

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 6 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 ...

Chaka Khan: Vivid And Real

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 13 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 ...

Lucinda Williams: Walking The Line

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 20 May 1989

LUCINDA WILLIAMS was caught just in time, the singer/songwriter was just about to head off into the hills when somehow Rough Trade pulled her back. ...

Soul II Soul: The Palladium, New York

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 5 August 1989

SQUEEZED BETWEEN the hard core Hip-hop of Red Alert and DJ Mark The 45 King, the US dance remix of 'Keep On Movin'', holds its ...

Soul II Soul: Funki Bold Demeanour

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 30 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 ...

De La Soul: Brothers From Another Planet

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, New Musical Express, 21 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 ...

John Martyn: Starting again at the bottom

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Sunday Correspondent, 18 March 1990

TWO YEARS AGO, after Island Records rejected his last LP; John Martyn entered a "black period" that lasted six months. In an alcoholic haze, he ...

Shane MacGowan, The Pogues: Shane MacGowan: Dark Side of the Hooligan

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Vox, November 1990

Shane MacGowan has not been a happy man since the 'natural living' days of punk. Now he's disillusioned with the Pogues and a recent medical ...

Jonathan King: King Prat

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 9 February 1991

On the titter count he scores high. And he insists on playing the prat because it pays off so handsomely. But the music biz has ...

No More Heroes?

Report by Sean O'Hagan, Face, The, March 1991

Where have all the pop stars gone? Artists like Elvis Presley or The Beatles are the record company ideal, showing steady sales year after year. ...

U2: Achtung! Saint Bono

Profile by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 7 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 ...

Horace Andy, Massive Attack: Keep on Runnings

Report by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 15 February 1992

Bob Marley's music is not the young music in Kingston today. Ragga not reggae is king. And that took the British group Massive Attack to ...

U2: Saint Bono Defrocked

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Face, The, 1 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 ...

U2 Anew

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Details, 1 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 ...

Nigel Kennedy: Cat Whose Cream Went Sour

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 13 November 1992

'At some point I'll have to think about whether it's my responsibility as a musician to get into heavier drugs simply to find out more ...

The Undertones: Sounding Out Stroke City

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 11 July 1993

The pop star's tale: Michael Bradley has lived most of his life in the thick of the Troubles — but he has not let them ...

Carleen Anderson, Young Disciples: Carleen Anderson: Songs from the Soul

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 28 January 1994

Carleen Anderson has had a bitter, difficult life on both sides of the Atlantic. Now much of it features in her seductive, defiant music. ...

Massive Attack: Go West

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Face, The, August 1994

When Shara Nelson and others moved on to new projects, the faces and spaces of Massive Attack's Blue Lines were superseded by silence. Three years later, ...

Suicide: A Tribe Called Quest: Subterania, London

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 3 December 1994

IN MANY ways. A Tribe Called Quest are one of hip-hop's best-kept secrets. Their debut album, People's Instinctive Travels... remains one of the defining moments ...

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 ...

Tricky: Uneasy Listening

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 22 October 1995

Hip, maverick rapper Tricky talks exclusively about the dark reality that inspires his music ...

Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, R. Kelly, Teddy Riley: Andre Harrell: Resurrection of the Soul

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 22 March 1996

Andre Harrell is a man with a mission. The youngest head of Motown since Berry Gordy, he tells Sean O'Hagan how he plans to put ...

Iceberg Slim: Needles and Pimps

Retrospective by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 12 May 1996

Sean O'Hagan chills out on Iceberg Slim, king of the ghetto ...

Waiting For The Sun: The Story Of The Los Angeles Music Scene by Barney Hoskyns (Viking £20)

Book Review by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 21 July 1996

Weird scenes inside the goldmine ...

The Congos, Dr. Alimantado, Bob Marley & the Wailers, Junior Murvin, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Max Romeo and the Upsetters: Lee "Scratch" Perry: Scratch'n'mix

Retrospective by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 18 April 1997

Lee "Scratch" Perry may not have invented dub, but, says Sean O'Hagan, he is its one auteur — his influence can be heard from trip-hop ...

U2: Pop Smart

Comment by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 13 June 1997

U2 are that rarity, a clever rock band. So why do the English press hate them? By Sean O'Hagan ...

Massive Attack, Radiohead: Radiohead, Massive Attack: RDS Arena, Dublin

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 23 June 1997

Storming through the downpour ...

The Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Oasis, Primal Scream: Alan McGee: The father of Creation

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 5 July 1997

Hedonism was a way of life for Alan McGee. And who would expect anything less from the man behind Oasis? But the road to pop-tycoon ...

King Tubby, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Yabby You: Blood And Fire Records: Simply Dread

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 7 November 1997

Mick Hucknall's devotion to the pioneers of dub and lovers' rock led him to form Blood And Fire records. Sean O'Hagan salutes them ...

Bob Geldof, Michael Hutchence: Whatever Happened to Saint Bob?

Profile by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 30 November 1997

He fed the world. Now the world is feeding on him... ...

James Brown: Sweet Cell Music

Profile by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 1 February 1998

ON 5 APRIL, 1968, when the National Guard was on full alert as America's black ghettos burnt in the wake of the assassination of Martin ...

Sinead O'Connor: Sinéad: The New Madonna

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 15 February 1998

Virgin territory ...

Blur, Oasis: Labour's Love Lost

Comment by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 13 March 1998

According to this week's NME, the honeymoon between pop and the Government is well and truly over. Sean O'Hagan isn't surprised ...

Massive Attack: Band of the decade: Massive Attack

Overview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 29 March 1998

What is it that makes them so different? Well, one of them's called Mushroom. ...

Ash, U2: U2 and Ash: I was there, helping to make history. (I just wish I hadn't been scratching my chin)

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 24 May 1998

THE PHONE rings at 10.30 on a Monday night. It is Bono. "We're going to Belfast tomorrow night," he says, "and we're trying to come ...

Willie Nelson: Interview: Willie Nelson

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 31 May 1998

The songs come out of suffering. Like being beaten senseless with his wife's broom... ...

The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, International Submarine Band, Gram Parsons: Gram Parsons: Another Country

Retrospective by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 12 September 1998

Twenty-five years ago, Gram Parsons died in a remote desert motel, the victim of a prodigious appetite for drugs and alcohol that shocked even Keith ...

Dusty Springfield: My Date with Dusty

Memoir by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 7 March 1999

Britain's first lady of soul had chosen us to make what was to be her last video. We'd found the perfect location, we'd borrowed a ...

Horace Andy: Roots master — Horace Andy: Living in the Flood (Melankolic) ****

Review by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 22 October 1999

Thirty years into his career as a reggae singer, Horace Andy has hit paydirt, writes Sean O'Hagan ...

The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Brian Wilson: Phil Spector and Brian Wilson: The Nutty Producers

Retrospective by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 16 December 1999

Without Phil Spector and Brian Wilson, the 60s would have sounded very different, says Sean O'Hagan. ...

Bob Dylan, 1966: A Lot of Nerve

Retrospective by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 30 December 1999

It was 1965, and in a surge of amphetamine-fuelled creativity Bob Dylan was reinventing the pop song. But then a motorbike crash changed everything. As ...

David Bowie: Major Tom.com

Profile by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 16 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 ...

U2: Billion-Dollar Dreams (Part 1)

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 4 March 2000

German TV interviewer: "You own a hotel. Now, you've made a film about a hotel. Why hotels?" Bono: "Rock bands tend to know a ...

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

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 16 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 ...

Will Oldham: The Prince Of Darkness

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 12 March 2001

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

Nick Cave: Rage Has Not Withered Him

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 18 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 ...

Bob Dylan: Well, How Does It Feel?

Profile by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 25 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 ...

Pulp: In a Class of His Own: Jarvis Cocker

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 2 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 ...

Norman Jay: Minister of Sound

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer Music Monthly, 23 June 2002

It's a long way from illegal raves to Buckingham Palace. But Norman Jay, the godfather of club culture, has been there and done that – ...

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 ...

Sinead O'Connor: Mother Superior

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 6 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, 17 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. ...

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

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 22 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 ...

Patti Smith: Making Waves

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 15 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 ...

Emmylou Harris: Angel of the South: Emmylou Harris

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 2 November 2003

IN A LONG BLACK dress, high heels and perfectly coiffured hair that shines silver blue under the spotlights, Emmylou Harris looks every inch the country ...

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

Essay by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 1 February 2004

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

Prince: Royal Blush

Profile by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 4 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 ...

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

Live Review by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 20 June 2004

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

Van Morrison: Astral Weeks

Review by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 20 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, ...

Brian Wilson: Smile

Review by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 19 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, ...

Nik Cohn: Triksta – Life and Death and New Orleans Rap

Book Review by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 11 December 2005

Nik Cohn tells how the alienation and anger of New Orleans exploded into a whole new genre of hip hop in his best book yet. ...

Ronnie Spector: Ronnie's Spectre

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 26 March 2006

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

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 ...

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

Memoir by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 28 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 ...

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

Report by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 15 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 ...

My Bloody Valentine: Daydream Believers: My Bloody Valentine

Retrospective and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer Music Monthly, 18 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 ...

Scott Walker

Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 9 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 ...

Corinne Bailey Rae : Corinne Bailey Rae: "It happened to me. It could happen to anyone at any time."

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 4 October 2009

From out of the darkest place, following the sudden death of her husband, Corinne Bailey Rae is re-emerging with an extraordinarily intimate and impassioned album. ...

Arcade Fire: "The clichéd rock life never seemed that cool to us"

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 28 November 2010

IN A CONCRETE room backstage at the Palau Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona, I am midway through a post-show interview with Arcade Fire's unfeasibly tall, ...

Captain Beefheart: Rock's Father of Invention

Obituary by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 19 December 2010

BACK IN 1969, a self-confessed "teenage weirdo" from Portland, Oregon, fell under the spell of a newly-released double album called Trout Mask Replica by Captain ...

Barry Feinstein 1931-2011

Obituary by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 24 October 2011

THE AMERICAN photographer Barry Feinstein, who has died aged 80, made his most famous series of images when he accompanied Bob Dylan and the Band ...

Bob Marley & the Wailers, Public Image Ltd, Sex Pistols: Dennis Morris: "Suddenly we were black, not coloured"

Retrospective and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 25 March 2012

Dennis Morris is celebrated for his iconic photographs of the Sex Pistols and Bob Marley. But few knew that in that pivotal era he was ...

Bonnie Guitar, Jean Shepard, Kitty Wells: Honky-tonk women: the female artists who made it big in country music

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 6 September 2012

It's not easy for women to survive in the macho world of country. Some of those who did, such as Jean Shepard and Bonnie Guitar, ...

Massive Attack: Blue Lines: Massive Attack's blueprint for UK pop's future

Retrospective by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 28 October 2012

In 1991, the laidback Bristol collective roused themselves to unleash their debut album. Reissued 21 years on it remains a landmark. Here, an early champion ...

David Bowie: Who is David Bowie? A Guide to the V&A retrospective

Report by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 16 February 2013

As a blockbuster exhibition, David Bowie is, gets under way at the V&A, Sean O'Hagan dissects the pop icon's influences – and reveals the ideas ...

Kevin Ayers, 1944-2013

Obituary by Sean O'Hagan, Guardian, The, 20 February 2013

Founder member of Soft Machine and a key figure in British psychedelic rock. ...

Buffalo Springfield, The Eagles, The Mamas and The Papas, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Neil Young: Henry Diltz: Caught in the Canyon

Retrospective and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 26 May 2013

He photographed the most enduring images of the '60s folk-rock stars who lived in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon. Now Henry Diltz stars in a documentary about ...

The Nine Lives of Felix Dennis: "I've lived an unbelievable life, even if I did do my best to kill myself"

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 2 June 2013

Last year, the multi-millionaire publishing mogul and drug-addled dissolute Felix Dennis was diagnosed with throat cancer. But don't count him out yet, he tells Sean ...

Massive Attack meet Adam Curtis: The Unlikely Double Act

Report and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 30 June 2013

At July's Manchester festival, the boundary-breaking band and radical film-maker will tackle the perilous state of democracy in a show that redefines the notion of ...

Damon Albarn: "Pop's gone back to showbiz. It's like the Beatles or Dylan never happened."

Profile and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 27 April 2014

WHEN DAMON ALBARN was nine, he persuaded his parents, who were in the process of moving house from Leytonstone in east London to rural Essex, ...

"Jazz was the catalyst for change": Jim Marshall's images of '60s festivals

Retrospective and Interview by Sean O'Hagan, Observer, The, 4 September 2016

Photographer Jim Marshall is known for iconic images of '60s rock stars. But his first great portraits were of the giants of jazz, captured on ...

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