Growing up Stevie Wonder

By O’Connell Driscoll Rolling Stone January 19, 1975 There were four old ladies sitting in the lobby of the Fifth Avenue Hotel. They were four of the oldest ladies to be found anywhere. They sat facing one another in a quartet of lackluster wing chairs, holding...

Rock Style: Defying the American Dream

By Sara Davidson Harper’s July, 1969 Electric sound rushes out of the Gray Manse in Lake Mahopac, New York, splitting the still, winter air. On weeknights, carloads of teenagers from sleepy towns in upstate Putnam County follow the road around the lake and park in the...

The Seductions of MTV

By Helen Dudar The Wall Street Journal September 26, 1983 Most of my friends can be seduced by a tedium of journalists gnawing over the week’s news or by the exquisite boredom of Brideshead Revisited, but my television tastes run to junk. Family Feud, Entertainment...

Miles Davis Blows His Horn

By James Kaplan Vanity Fair August 1989 A fresh gale blows down the chute of Central Park and buffets the windows of Miles Davis’s hotel suite in midtown Manhattan. A romantic might hear songs in this wet wind, the ghosts of seven blocks south and forty years past,...

John Mellencamp, Daddy’s Boy

By E. Jean Carroll Playboy February 1986 “Check this out.” He pulls back the cover. “Oh, my God!” I say. His hair flops down like a veal cutlet. “You gotta look at it from this side.” “Oh, my Lord!” I shout. “Is this cool, or what?” says John. We are standing in the...

Sober Virgins of the ’80s

By Eve Babitz Smart Fall 1988 < Not that I like the eighties, but the sixties, if you ask me, weren’t that great, either. I mean, in the fifties, for men to get girls into bed, they had to be good lovers, to persist, to be sensual and seductive and inevitable and...

Ronstadt for President

By Eve Babitz Smart May/ June 1989 [From Eve’s front of the book column titled “Love & Science”] I have been thinking that Linda Ronstadt is more politically effective than Jane Fonda. Linda has made the world safe for Mexican music. I mean, all Jane’s done is to...

Donald Fagen Revisits an Era of Innocence

By Fred Schruers Musician January 1983 “Lack of irony,” says Donald Fagen with a wry grin, “is not exactly my speciality.” It’s an odd apology—more like a boast—from the man who shared status with his Steely Dan partner, Walter Becker, as a mandarin of pop irony.  But...

Remember the Rhythm

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader Dig this—from Whitney Balliett’s book American Musicians: Fifty-Six Portraits in Jazz: The Cape Cod pianist Marie Marcus came to New York from Boston to do a radio show in 1932, when she was eighteen. Her experience had been...

On Bird

By Nat Hentoff From Jazz Is 1976 There have been a number of instances in jazz history of the incandescent hero-as-world-overturning-improviser eventually plunging, like Icarus, into burnt-out extinction. Bix Beiderbecke, Bunny Berigan, Fats Navarro, and, way back,...

Redneck Rock

By Robert Ward New Times June 25, 1976 The out-of-work mechanic with the beer gut, and the four turquoise rings, and the Gene Autry (pink and lime green) cowboy shirt with real pearl buttons, and the mutton chops, and the straight-back greased-down hair, and the big...

A Letter to Nabokov

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader I thought you might appreciate this letter written by Nicolai Malko to Vladimir Nabokov. Here, let Malko’s son, George—a fantastic writer and an equally swell guy—explain: The letter was written when my father was in his fifth year as...