The Power and the Glory

By Nelson George The Village Voice May 8, 1984 March 1983—In the motel’s living room two women in their late thirties, wearing much too much makeup, and clothes too tight covering too much flesh, hovered over a hot plate, concerned that everything would taste right...

Who Killed Jaco Pastorius?

By Pat Jordan GQ April 1988 He was just another bum bleeding to death in an alleyway at four o’clock in the morning. He lay motionless on the concrete, as if sleeping, his tangled shoulder-length hair ringed by a halo of blood. He lay there peacefully for a while, in...

Lady Day

By Nat Hentoff From Jazz Is 1974 Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, at Birdland in New York. Coming down the stairs I heard a crackling, stunning trumpet cadenza, brilliant in content as well as in its reckless virtuosity. And yet it wasn’t Dizzy. I looked at the stand and...

The Grandeur of Elvis

By Greil Marcus From Mystery Train 1975 These days, Elvis is always singing. In his stage-show documentary, Elvis on Tour, we see him singing to himself, in limousines, backstage, running, walking, standing still, as his servant fits his cape to his shoulders, as he...

Express Trane

By Nat Hentoff From Jazz Is 1976 Coltrane, a man of almost unbelievable gentleness made human to us lesser mortals by his very occasional rages. Coltrane, an authentically spiritual man, but not innocent of carnal imperatives. Or perhaps more accurately, a man, in his...

The Rise and Fall of the Beatles

By Nik Cohn From Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom 1969 Next came the Fab Four, the Moptop Mersey Marvels, and this is the bit I’ve been dreading. I mean what is there possibly left to say on them? In the beginning, I should say, the Beatles were the Quarrymen, and then they...

Janis Joplin

By Ellen Willis From The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll 1980 Janis Joplin was born in 1943 and grew up in Port Arthur, Texas. She began singing in bars and coffeehouses, first locally, then in Austin, where she spent most of a year at the...

Farewell to the Duke

By Ralph J. Gleason Rolling Stone July 4, 1974   Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was three weeks and four days past his 75th birthday when he died last month in a New York City hospital. He had played his music in almost every part of the world except China and...

Stop Making Sense

By Pauline Kael The New Yorker November 26, 1984 Stop Making Sense makes wonderful sense. A concert film by the New York new-wave rock band Talking Heads, it was shot during three performances at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in December, 1983, and the footage has...

The Strange and Mysterious Death of Mrs. Jerry Lee Lewis

By Richard Ben Cramer Rolling Stone March 1984 How was I out to lunch? Let me count the ways. I was new to magazines, never having written for a national publication, much less for ROLLING STONE. I was a newspaperman, just returned from the Middle East—a bit unsteady,...

Liberace, Resquescat in Pace: Lee We Hardly Knew Ye

By Bill Zehme Spy April 1987 I remember Lee as he himself—were he able to remember anything now, God rest his soul—would have wanted to be remembered. Of this I am certain. Why, it was just two years ago when we huddled together in our booth at the Russian Tea Room,...

One Night Only

By John Schulian Bronx Banter April 19, 2012 As soon as they heard Levon Helm was coming, the guys in the band began to imagine him sitting in with them, playing the drums, maybe even singing “The Weight.” It was one of the songs they did when they got together on...