Leonard Cohen performing in Hamburg in 1970. Photo: Gunter Zint/1970 K & K Ulf Kruger OHG/Redferns

RIP Leonard. You were my man

11 November 2016 12:41

Everyone has a special place in their heart for the late Leonard Cohen – from his 80-something contemporaries to middle-aged musos…

Bob Dylan in 1965. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Nobel Prize for literature, at long last, has been awarded to a complete idiot

14 October 2016 10:49

Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for literature. And quite right too. But many people seem discomfited by the…


How does Karl Jenkins get away with his crappy music?

4 July 2016 11:16

In a week that saw the UK vote itself out of the EU, the resignation of David Cameron followed by…

Don Cheadle as Miles Davis in 'Miles Ahead'

Nice effort, Don Cheadle, but no film will ever do Miles Davis’s defiant, volatile music justice

20 April 2016 17:41

There’s an absolute zinger of a joke currently circulating around the London jazz scene. Miles Davis is being celebrated with…

Richard Strauss at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Photo: Erich Auerbach/Getty Images

Richard Strauss was no conservative

17 October 2015 12:13

With the ardent zeal characteristic of the freshly converted, I found myself channelling waves of anger towards Stanley Kubrick. The…

(Credit: : Joanna Dudderidge)

John Whittingdale ruffles feathers at BBC campaign event with off-piste speech

13 October 2015 10:40

Last night BBC staff and musicians alike assembled at Portcullis House to back UK Music’s Let it Beeb campaign. As guests…

A revellers blows bubbles on the first evening after the gates open at the Glastonbury festival near Pilton, Somerset on June 23, 2010.  Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Women are to blame for the big Glastonbury sell-out

5 October 2015 10:37

I suppose you can look at it two ways. Glastonbury, and rock festivals generally, were once patronised by music obsessives;…


Does Elton John genuinely believe he can change Putin’s attitude to gays?

18 September 2015 17:18

I’ve never been an Elton John fan. Never owned an album. Never added one of his tunes to my playlist…

Robert Alexander Schumann and wife Clara Schumann

There’s a good reason why there are no great female composers

16 September 2015 12:18

Last week a 17-year-old girl forced the Edexcel exam board to change its A-level music syllabus to include the work…

Tyler, The Creator: a homophobic menace? Photograph: Joseph Okpako/Redferns via Getty Images

Why is the Home Office giving in to illiberal youth by banning rappers like Tyler, The Creator?

28 August 2015 13:17

In a 2012 interview on Newsnight, foul-mouthed LA rapper Tyler, The Creator told a churlish Stephen Smith that the point…

Sinatra at the London Palladium. Photo: Nobby Clark

I wish the cult of Frank Sinatra would end

3 August 2015 14:48

Walking around central London, I’ve been struck by how many shows Frank Sinatra has been performing in town recently. He…

Slash in full flow. Photo: Jure Makovec/AFP/Getty Images

Slash at 50: why is this rock god so underappreciated?

23 July 2015 15:27

Saul Hudson, more commonly known by his childhood nickname ‘Slash’, turns 50 today. It is safe to say that the next…

(Photo: Getty)

National Busking Day is an insult to real buskers

16 July 2015 15:53

This Saturday is National Busking Day, a series of events across the country proving that Britain’s arts establishment just don’t…

Still from Björk's Black Lake at MoMA, New York. Photo: MoMA/ Wellhart/ One Little Indian

MoMA’s new Björk exhibition cramps the singer’s style

6 March 2015 13:46

Was intimacy the goal of Björk at MoMA? Co-curated by the Icelandic musician herself and Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA chief curator…

Getty Images Europe

How Kraftwerk did more to shape modern music than anyone since the Beatles

19 January 2015 9:00

Normally, few things in life are quite so tedious as listening to a bunch of academics discussing pop music. However…

Band Aid 30

Like everyone else, I want to think Bob Geldof’s awful – but I can’t

19 November 2014 12:04

Band Aid 30 is officially the fastest selling single of 2014. Yet this attempt by successful musicians to heal Africa…

Album artwork for Pink Floyd's swan song, The Endless River

Pink Floyd’s new album: it’s not hip – but it is good

11 November 2014 13:02

Yesterday, I popped into Rough Trade West record store to purchase the new Pink Floyd album. That isn’t something I expected to say…

Chelsea Hospital Chapel

Pop stars at prayer – from Madonna to the Beatles, and jihadist Cat Stevens

3 November 2014 15:12

A spoof in the Israeli Daily recently had Eminem planning to convert to Judaism and move to Tel Aviv. But…

Alasdair Gray: 'You can only learn to govern yourself by doing it'

A No vote will create a schism between the voters of Scotland and its artists and writers

18 September 2014 10:37

With the Scottish independence referendum drawing closer, two Newsweek Europe magazine correspondents and friends – Finlay Young (Scotsman), and Simon…

The Festspielhaus in Bayreuth, Bavaria, shortly before its official opening in 1876. Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Spectator at war: Bayreuth on the eve of war

23 August 2014 8:00

The Spectator, 22 August 1914: Inter arma silent Musae; but Bayreuth on the eve of the war showed very few…

The poster for Incubator Theatre's 'hip hop opera' The City

Cultural boycotts are ineffective and wrong

25 July 2014 12:57

Scotland’s national poet Liz Lochhead has been at it again. Two years ago she was petitioning against a dance company…

Getty Images

Three cheers for being miserable

10 July 2014 14:26

I prefer the music and lyrics of Pharrell Williams’s Happy to Morrisey’s Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now (because I loathe the…

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Crusties, trustafarians, Chris Martin and mud: the deadly predictability of Glastonbury

26 June 2014 13:47

Glastonbury weekend is upon us, and the bores are out in force. West London buzzes to the sound of hoorays…

Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Is a Luis Suárez musical on the cards?

26 June 2014 13:29

For the moment we only have one genius song by Tom Rosenthal, Hey Luis Don’t Bite Me (hear it below), but surely…


The BBC’s music strategy is a shambles

17 June 2014 16:14

Tony Hall made some terrible music announcements yesterday. They come hot on the heels of some terrible arts announcements he…