Music

Dion, one of the last living links to the earliest days of rock ’n’ roll

30 May 2020 9:00 am

He toured with Little Richard, sang with Van Morrison, inspired the Beatles and Paul Simon. Graeme Thomson talks to Dion, one of the last living links to the early days of street-corner rock ’n’ roll

One of the more disturbing films I’ve seen: Arena’s The Changin’ Times of Ike White reviewed

23 May 2020 9:00 am

Arena: The Changin’ Times of Ike White (Monday) had an extraordinary story to tell — but one that, halfway through…

Joyous and very, very funny: Beastie Boys Story reviewed

16 May 2020 9:00 am

The music of the Beastie Boys was entirely an expression of their personalities, a chance to delightedly splurge out on…

You’re not special – just ask Google

16 May 2020 9:00 am

My research assistant, John Steele, is also a songwriter. A friend emailed him with the lyrics of a Fleetwood Mac…

Beautiful voice, pretentious album: Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters reviewed

9 May 2020 9:00 am

Grade: C+ Where did they all come from, the quirky yet meaningful rock chicks who don’t have a decent song…

From Middlemarch to Mickey Mouse: a short history of The Spectator’s books and arts pages

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

The Spectator arts and books pages have spent 10,000 issues identifying the dominant cultural phenomena of the day and being difficult about them, says Richard Bratby

The musical benefits of not playing live

18 April 2020 9:00 am

Many performers hated playing live. But freed from the stage they often made their best and wildest work, argues Graeme Thomson

Haunting and beautiful: Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus’s Songs of Yearning reviewed

11 April 2020 9:00 am

Grade: A It has taken 33 years — during which time this decidedly strange Liverpool collective have put out only…

Welder, banjo player, comedian, actor, and now artist – Billy Connolly interviewed

11 April 2020 9:00 am

William Cook talks to Billy Connolly – welder, banjo player, comedian, actor, and now artist – about growing up in Glasgow, ditching the mike stand and living with Parkinson’s

Bleak humour, resourcefulness and wit: Budapest Festival Orchestra’s Quarantine Soirées reviewed

28 March 2020 9:00 am

There’s a certain merit in bluntness. ‘Quarantine Soirées’ was what the Budapest Festival Orchestra called its response to the crisis,…

Beethoven wasn’t just history’s greatest composer but also one of its greatest human beings

11 January 2020 9:00 am

Ludwig van Beethoven isn’t just my favourite composer: he’s my household god. There’s a bust of him on my mantelpiece.…

Rap that feels like a sociology lecture: Loyle Carner at Alexandra Palace reviewed

30 November 2019 9:00 am

A few years ago, I asked the young American soul singer Leon Bridges — a latter-day Sam Cooke, with the…

Fascinating and compelling: Bruce Hornsby at Shepherd’s Bush Empire reviewed

16 November 2019 9:00 am

In the unlikely event that Bruce Hornsby and Morten Harket, A-ha’s singer, ended up featuring in the Daily Mail for,…

The open-hearted loveliness of Hot Chip

9 November 2019 9:00 am

Squeeze and Hot Chip are both great British pop groups. But they never defined a scene. Their ambitions extended further…

Woke slogans welded to incompetent grunge: Neil Young’s Colorado reviewed

9 November 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B- Horribly woke boilerplate slogans welded inexpertly to the usual incompetent Crazy Horse grunge. Young and his pick-up band…

‘The only place I can’t get my plays on is Britain’: Sir Peter Brook interviewed

2 November 2019 9:00 am

‘Everyone of us knows we deserve to be punished,’ says the frail old man before me in a hotel café.…

I was born to be on this Bob Dylan podcast, says Geoff Dyer

12 October 2019 9:00 am

Podcasts will soon be like porn. Every interest, desire or idle flicker of curiosity will have been anticipated and catered…

What’s the point of the Today programme?

21 September 2019 9:00 am

What else is there to write about in the week that John Humphrys, that titan of the BBC airwaves, retires…

‘Bob Dylan? He’s like Confucius’: Cerys Matthews interviewed

31 August 2019 9:00 am

‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ was a Christmas classic for more than half a century until people suddenly began to worry…

Why a whole new generation of young Europeans are turning to old-school reggae

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Acamera sweeps across the verdant, shimmering beauty of Jamaica before descending on to a raffishly charming wooden house built into…

Britain’s jazz scene is in full swing

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Jazz died in 1959. At least, that’s what New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton wrote in 2011 as part of a…

Sweet but formulaic: Blinded by Light reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Once upon a time two men sat in a New York bar lamenting the state of Broadway. So they decided…

Reliably odd but the deranged proggery grates: King’s Mouth by The Flaming Lips reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Grade: B- So a queen dies as her giant baby is being born. The baby grows very big indeed and…

Young love: Ihlen and Cohen in the 1960s

Uncomfortable and distasteful: Marianne & Leonard reviewed

27 July 2019 9:00 am

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love is Nick Broomfield’s documentary chronicling the muse-artist relationship between Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen.…

Kanye wipes the floor with David Letterman

6 July 2019 9:00 am

My plan to cut the BBC out of my life entirely is working well. Apart from the occasional forgivable lapse…