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Rock's Backpages

Rock's Backpages podcast

They were so much older then, they're younger than that now: old farts at play Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns reel in the years and riff on all that's new this week in the world's biggest library of music journalism – definitive interviews with legends of the last 60 years by the pop press' greatest writers ... and much much more.

Every week, Mark and Barney pick their highlights from the 50+ new pieces added to the database, and present an exclusive excerpt from the week's new audio interview.

Produced (and regularly graced) by Jasper Murison-Bowie

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Episode 85: Midge Ure on the New Romantics + Eddie Van Halen + our Mariah Carey audio

In this episode we invite James "Midge" Ure to talk us through his wonderfully convoluted career in a conversation that stretches from Slik to Visage — via the Rich Kids, the Blitz club and Live Aid — to his present-day Backstage Lockdown Club. With a special focus on the New Romantics, RBP's hosts ask Midge about Ultravox, whose classic Vienna album is 40 years old this week, and touch on the "manifesto" that Sounds' Betty Page put together with Spandau Ballet in that same year.

Midge also pitches in on the passing of guitar-shredder extraordinaire Eddie Van Halen, whose sad loss prompts a general celebration of the pop-metal band that was Eddie's namesake. We also pay our respects to U.S. soul singer turned reggae ambassador Johnny Nash and to country-MOR singer-songwriter Mac ('In The Ghetto') Davis

The week's new audio interview being Steven Daly's 1998 conversation with R&B mega diva Mariah Carey, we hear two clips from this very entertaining chinwag ... and then ponder the pros and cons of Carey's career and oeuvre. Mark then walks and talks us through his highlights of the week's new intake of library articles , including seminal pieces on Otis Redding (1966), Ewan MacColl (1975) and Kraftwerk (1977), while Jasper rounds matters off with remarks on reviews of Ricky Martin, Jack White... and Midge Ure live in February this year!

Many thanks to special guest Midge Ure. Join Midge's Backstage Lockdown Club at, and check out the deluxe 40th anniversary version of Ultravox's Vienna.

Watch a video clip from this podcast recording.

Episode 84: Jude Rogers on Adele + Prince + Sonic Youth audio

In this week's episode, we welcome the wonderful Jude Rogers into RBP's very own Gridworld. Live from her native Wales, the far-from-obscure Jude reviews her career as a music scribe from The Llanelli Star to The Word, revisiting interviews with megastar-in-the-making Adele Atkins and wholly reformed cocaine fiend Tony Bennett. Jude also reflects on a 2008 thinkpiece about the Beach Boys' influence on Fleet Foxes, the latter having just "dropped" a rather fine new album, Shore, with minimum fanfare. Additionally, Jude offers her thoughts on the multifarious splendours of Prince's Sign 'O' the Times, the 1987 "double" album oft regarded as his crowning achievement. Hosts Mark, Barney & Jasper reference contemporary reviews of the record and ponder the influence on the purple maestro of departed Revolutionaries Wendy & Lisa.

After noting the passing of blue-eyed soul man Roy ('Treat Her Right') Head – with nods to a nice 1966 profile of the Texan by Britain's Bill Millar – your hosts and their guest hear the first of three clips from Martin Aston's 1986 interview with Sonic Youth, wherein Kim, Lee, Steve and Thurston (new solo album out this week!) discuss, among many other matters, obscure guitars and their interpretation of fellow Manhattanite Madonna's 'Into the Groove(y)'. The episode concludes with a round-up of particularly tasty additions to the RBP librarium, including a 1966 report on "psychedelics", a 1972 interview with the impressively recalcitrant Bill Withers, a 1988 Smash Hits encounter 'twixt Chris Heath and wannabe-soul boys Wet Wet Wet...and pieces about neglected Motown siren Kim Weston and "postmodern-cabaret" man Max Raabe.

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Episode 83: Stewart Lee on Robert Lloyd + Robert Wyatt + Ronald "Khalis" Bell

In this week's episode, we invite cult meta-comedian and out-there-music connoisseur Stewart Lee to discuss the new documentary he's made about Prefects/Nightingales legend Robert Lloyd. Stewart also pitches in on RBP's new audio interview, a 1991 conversation 'twixt the late Andy Gill and everyone's favourite choirboy-voiced Commie Robert Wyatt. In addition we consider the week's featured RBP writer Caitlin Moran, with especial attention to her hair-raising 1994 encounter with Courtney Love. Plus we bid a fond farewell to Kool & the Gang co-founder Ronald "Khalis" Bell and to Simeon Coxe of pioneering '60s oscillators Silver Apples...

Finally, with intermittent interjections from Mr. Lee, Mark picks highlights from the week's trove of new additions to the RBP library, including top pieces on Jimi Hendrix, Rodney "Mayor of Sunset Strip" Bingenheimer, Spandau Ballet and inimitable drag superstar RuPaul. With Stewart's tastes in mind, Jasper M-B spotlights Wire classics on Laurie Anderson and Japanese free-music extremist Keiji Haino.

Many thanks to special guest Stewart Lee. Find out more about King Rocker at

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Episode 82: Vicki Wickham on Ready Steady Go + Dusty Springfield + Labelle + Morrissey

In this week's episode, Mark and Jasper are joined by the fabulous Vicki Wickham to chat all things pop and beyond, starting with her experiences as producer of TV show Ready, Steady, Go! in swinging sixties London, when Vicki became good friends with Dusty Springfieldthrough writing for Fabulous and Melody Maker to managing Labelle in the '70s and much else besides.

Vicki talks about how she got her foot in the door of television and reminisces about writing lyrics for Dusty, then tells the story of moving to New York to open a US office for Track Records. We then find out how she masterminded the metamorphosis of Patti Labelle and the Blue Belles into groundbreaking pop trio Labelle, who Mark reckons paved the way for TLC and even the Spice Girls.

Vicki, Mark and Jasper then listen to clips from an audio interview with Morrissey, in which the seeds of his later racism are occasionally audible, and Vicki admits that although she was nominally his manager for a short while, he was mostly interested in hearing the stories she had to tell. (In any case, he turned out to be unmanageable.)

The trio then pay tribute to the Heartbreakers' Walter Lure, singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle and Jack Sherman of the Red Hot Chili Peppers before Mark and Jasper present some of their highlights from the new pieces going into the RBP library. Mark selects pieces on pop television, Led Zep IV and Patti Smith, and Jasper rounds things out with the Scissor Sisters and Merzbow.

Watch a video clip from this podcast recording.

Episode 81: Alan McGee on Creation Records + Primal Scream + Oasis vs. Blur

In this episode, Barney & Jasper welcome the legendary Alan McGee into RBP's virtual cupboard. The Creation Records founder talks us through his storied career, from his school days in Glasgow to the Creation 23 label of the 21st century. 

Reminiscing about the early '80s Living Room gigs he put on in London, Alan describes the signings of Oasis, the Jesus and Mary Chain another great Creation acts. He also explains how Primal Scream got from Sonic Flower Groove to Screamadelica; how he almost signed Teenage Fanclub's idol Alex Chilton; how My Bloody Valentine's Loveless did (or didn't) almost bankrupted his & Dick Green's baby; and how appalled Sony were by Kevin Rowland's My Beauty album after the company acquired 49% of Creation's shares in 1992.

Slightly cheekily, RBP's co-hosts then force Alan to listen to clips from a 2007 audio interview with Alex James of Oasis's Britpop nemesis Blur — except it turns out he never really hated those soft southern Sassenachs in the first place: it was all the Gallaghers' fault. Quel surprise

After paying their respects to fallen pop heroes Wayne Fontana, Trini Lopez and Seeds guitarist Jan Savage, Barney & Jasper talk through their highlights of the week's new "library load ". These include Lillian Roxon's 1966 report on "Music City USA" (i.e. Nashville); Michael Goldberg's 1983 report on MTV's exclusion of Black music videos; Joni Mitchell bellyaching in 1981 about being "written out of rock history"; a breathless 2002 review of Scandi garage rockers the Hives live at London's Astoria, and a riveting Aphex Twin interview from 2003…

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Episode 80: Mary Harron on New York Punk + Tom Verlaine audio + Peter Green R.I.P.

In this episode we welcome the wonderful Mary Harron, director of cult movies I Shot Andy Warhol and American Psycho. After a brief digression on dating Tony Blair at Oxford, the Canadian relives her memories of the punk rock scene at New York's CBGB club, including her interviews with the Ramones and Talking Heads for John Holmstrom & Legs McNeil's pioneering Punk magazine. Mary also talks about her friendship with ZE's Michael Zilkha and her long fascination with Warhol and the Factory. Along with her hosts, she hears clips from Martin Aston's 1987 audio interview with Tom Verlaine, prompting her recall of his seminal band Television and a general discussion of 1977's classic Marquee Moon album. 

Mark & Barney pay heartfelt tribute to tragic blues-guitar hero Peter Green, ruminating on what made the Fleetwood Mac man so much more emotional a player then his UK blues-boom peers. They also say goodbye to the hilarious CP Lee, former frontman with Mancunian satirists Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias. After bringing Mary's directorial career up to date – with an aside on the American Psycho soundtrack that affords Jasper a chance to wax lyrical about Huey Lewis & the News – Mark selects his library highlights, including notable pieces about Brian Jones, Labelle, the Bush Tetras and, erm, the Knack. Jasper rounds things up – and brings matters back down to earth – with remarks on pieces about "superstar DJs" and Stock Aitken Waterman teaboy Rick Astley

Many thanks to special guest Mary Harron.

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Episode 79: Loyd Grossman, Rock Critic + Brian May audio + (Dixie) Chicks

In this episode we are joined by self-professed "failed musician" and pasta-sauce mogul Loyd Grossman, OBE, to wax nostalgic about the most important years of his illustrious career: those he spent as a contributor to Fusion, Rolling Stone and other American music papers. Loyd reminisces very amusingly about seminal late '60s shows at the Boston Tea Party, before explaining how he moved to London and reinvented himself as a British national treasure on TV and in every kitchen in the country. He also recounts how he came to play guitar, three times a year, with Jethro Tull. 

After a digression on the sad passing of Fairport Convention's original singer Judy Dyble, Loyd joins his hosts in hearing clips from a 1982 audio interview with Queen's Brian May in which that poodle-headed plank-spanker describes, among other things, working with David Bowie on the classic 'Under Pressure'. Barney drags Loyd into a discussion of the wrath heaped upon his compatriots the (Dixie) Chicks, whose new album Gaslighter affords the opportunity to examine the close links between country music and hyper-patriotism. Loyd turns out to be a country fan and gives a special thumbs-up to the Chicks' defiant 2006 song 'Not Ready To Make Nice'. 

Mark brings the episode to the boil with remarks on new library pieces such as Lillian Roxon's 1966 review of James Brown at Madison Square Garden, Roy Carr's day out in Hyde Park in summer 1970 watching Pink Floyd and Kevin Ayers, and David Keeps meeting Madonna at the Hard Rock Café. Jasper's chosen pieces include Ian Penman on hip hop and John Calvert on OK Go

Many thanks to special guest Loyd Grossman.

Watch a video clip from this podcast recording.

Episode 78: Sheryl Garratt on rave culture + Terry Farley audio + the Streets

In this week's episode, we welcome former Face editor Sheryl Garratt into RBP's Zoomworld to ask her about rave and club culture — and how we got from disco to acid house to 2020's quarantine raves. Sheryl discusses her newly-reissued/revised 1999 classic Adventures in Wonderland and looks back on her journey from the NME to The Observer. Mark, Barney & Jasper ask her about her seminal 1986 Face piece on Chicago's House scene — and about Ecstasy and 1988's "second summer of love". 

Clips from the week's new audio interview, a 2005 conversation between DJ History's Bill & Frank and Shoom/Boy's Own legend Terry Farley, provide the perfect springboard for further reminiscence of House music and the UK's ever-fecund club scene. Sheryl also pitches in on the week's Free On RBP feature about fellow Brummie Mike (The Streets) Skinner, whose classic track 'Weak Become Heroes' was arguably the greatest elegy for the rave era. We hear a clip of Skinner speaking to Gavin Martin in 2002 and celebrate that year's splendid Original Pirate Material album. 

Among the new RBP library additions considered are Hugh Nolan's Disc report on London's psychedelic temple the UFO club (1967), a slightly unlikely 1989 encounter between David Toop and Bakersfield country icon Buck Owens, and Chris Heath's hilarious 1997 Rolling Stone cover story on the Spice Girls. Jasper takes us out with observations on a pointless Tim Buckley tribute album (2000) and an interview with Public Service Broadcasting's amusingly-monikered J. Willgoose, Esquire … 

Many thanks to special guest Sheryl Garratt; buy Adventures in Wonderland on Amazon and visit her website at

Watch a video clip from this podcast recording.

Episode 77: Geoff Travis on Rough Trade + Scritti Politti's Green Gartside

In this week's episode, we welcome legendary Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis into RBP's virtual cupboard. Averse to nostalgia though he is, Geoff looks back on the musical odyssey that took him from suburban north London to San Francisco's City Lights bookstore — and then back to Notting Hill Gate, where the Rough Trade story started in 1976. Mark and Barney ask him about the label's many remarkable artists (from the Fall to the Smiths), the Cartel distribution network he set up, and the company's second coming with the early Noughties signings of the Strokes and the Libertines

A timely segue takes us into discussion of early Rough Trade postpunks Scritti Politti, whose frontman Green Gartside is heard in clips from a 2006 audio interview by Adam Sweeting. Geoff shares his memories of — and deep respect for — Green, answering questions about the singer's return to Rough Trade after Scritti's major-label successes of the '80s and '90s.

After a passing nod to pieces by RBP's featured writer of the week Pat Blashill — author/photographer of the splendid new Texas is the Reason — Mark leads us gently through his highlights of the week's library additions. Most pleasingly, he welcomes the work of the late Lillian Roxon to RBP in the form of her 1967 report on the new creatures dubbed "Hippies". Other pieces picked out include Isaac Hayes talking about Shaft in 1971 and a 1977 live review of Sylvester performing at San Francisco's Old Waldorf club. Jasper brings the episode to a conclusion by quoting from pieces about Corinne Bailey Rae and North Carolina's electronic duo Sylvan Esso before a final clip of Mr Gartside in full flow takes us out…

Many thanks to special guest Geoff Travis; visit Rough Trade at

Watch a video clip from this podcast recording.

Episode 76: Gil Scott-Heron + Nina Simone + Public Enemy

In this week's episode, Mark, Barney and Jasper discuss the role music has played in expressing the pain and rage of Black Americans. Touching on such seminal figures as Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield and the Last Poets, they listen to clips from a 1976 audio interview with the late Gil Scott-Heron, assessing his militant poetics and the albums he made with Brian Jackson. From there, the RBP team considers interviews with Public Enemy's Chuck D in 1992 and, from 2015, Kendrick Lamar. They also discuss a 1971 piece about James Brown by pioneering Black "rock critic" Vernon Gibbs

Mark talks us through such highlights of the week's new additions to the RBP library — Philip Elwood's live review of Judy Garland at San Carlos' Circle Star, Roy Carr's interview with New Orleans piano great Professor Longhair, Michael Goldberg's salute to New York electro-punk duo Suicide and David Toop's tribute to '60s pop Svengali Larry Parnes. Barney cites a timely 2011 interview with Harry Belafonte, wherein the singer-actor reflects on his civil-rights activism, after which Jasper wraps up matters by looking at pieces about the boundary-pushing Peaches, the return of Neneh Cherry and the bizarre artist formerly known as Terence Trent D'Arby

Please consider donating to organisations fighting against racism and injustice, such as Black Lives Matter UK and the NAACP/NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

For further resources, readings, and ways to help, please visit

Episode 75: Jonh Ingham's Grand Punk Railroad + John Peel audio + Lady Gaga

In this week's episode, we welcome the great Jonh Ingham into RBP's "virtual cupboard". In a fascinating conversation, he revisits the peripatetic childhood that took him to California in the '60s – and to San Francisco's Fillmore West, where in 1971 he reviewed a famous Aretha Franklin show for Creem magazine. Mark & Barney ask him about his return to the UK, where he wrote for NME and then Sounds, championing London's nascent punk scene in early '76 and conducting the first interview with the Sex Pistols. He also reminisces about running the Fake Club in L.A., working in advertising in Tokyo, and ending up as CompuServe's head of content back in the UK. 

After a brief digression on the subject of Stefani "Lady Gaga" Germanotta – with Mark & Jasper almost coming to cultural blows – Jonh offers his thoughts on John Peel, subject of the week's knew audio interview. We hear clips of the beloved DJ talking to Martin Aston in 1989, prompting recall of the great man's self-effacing radio personality and his incalculable impact on all forms of alternative music. Mark talks us through highlights of the week's new library pieces , including Nat King Cole's last-ever interview before his death in 1965 and a 69-year-old Cab Calloway speaking to Philip Elwood in 1976. Jasper concludes matters by discoursing on French quartet Phoenix, Malian master Ali Farka Touré and jazz legend George Russell

Many thanks to special guest Jonh Ingham, whose book Spirit of '76 is available online at Blackwell's and all other good bookshops.

Watch a video clip from this podcast recording.

Episode 74: Chris Blackwell's Island Records + Sparks + Remembering Phil May

In this week's episode, Mark, Barney & Jasper talk extensively about one of the great labels, Island Records — a hallowed home to such groundbreaking acts as Jimmy Cliff, Nick Drake, Roxy Music, (Bob Marley and) the Wailers and, yes, U2. Listening to clips from John Tobler's 1989 audio interview with Island founder Chris Blackwell, RBP's power trio reflect on what made the label such a powerhouse for non-mainstream genres like folk and reggae. Blackwell talks of its transformation after 1967, as well as his first encounter with Marley in 1972.

A neat segue via Lenny Kaye's 1975 overview of the label leads "the team" into a discussion of Sparks, the American art pop duo who've just released their new album, A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip. Mark & Barney reminisce about the Mael brothers' Island years in the '70s, commencing with Kimono My House and its astonishing hit single 'This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us'. We stay in the '70s, moreover, as the RBP troika considers great Disc pieces — about Lou Reed and Chinnichap — by the splendidly-named Ray Fox-Cumming.

Mark rounds matters off by talking us through new library pieces about Santana, Hamilton Bohannon, John Fahey, Joni Mitchell and N.W.A., while Jasper adds his tuppenceworth on articles about British folk institutionTopic Recordsthe death of the album and rapper Busta Rhymes. And we go out with a clip from Johnny Black's 1995 audio interview with Pretty Things frontman Phil May, who sadly passed away last week...

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Episode 73: James Fox on Keith Richards + Little Richard + Betty Wright + Pete Seeger

In this week's episode, we welcome special guest James Fox, author of 1982's bestselling White Mischief and the man who, ten years ago, made Keith Richards' Life one of rock's outstanding autobiographies. James talks us through his long and distinguished career as a journalist in Africa, and as a features writer during the golden era of The Sunday Times Magazine. He describes how his friendship with "Keef" was cemented by the pieces he wrote for that publication about the Rolling Stones in 1973 and 1976, answering his hosts' questions about the great man's rhythm guitar playing.

The fantastic Mr. Fox also offers his perspective on Little Richard, whose death last week prompts discussion of the gay black southerner's explosive role in the birth of rock & roll. We hear a clip of the sometime Mr. Penniman speaking in 1985 – as well as one of the late Betty ('Clean Up Woman') Wright owning up to being a shameless show-off in 1978. Handily, James is able to reminisce about the importance of Moe Asch's legendary Folkways label – as revisited in the week's new audio interview, a conversation with folk elder Pete Seeger conducted by Tony Scherman in 1987. Clips follow of Seeger talking about Asch and recalling Folkways legends Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie. [Note: the man who had Lead Belly performing in overalls was not Alan Lomax, as mentioned in the episode, but his father John.]

As ever, Mark guides us through his personal library highlights, including pieces about John Coltrane (1965), Deep Purple (1970), Ashford & Simpson (1982) and Billy Idol (1990). Jasper concludes matters with quotes from pieces about Joanna Newsom (2015), JPEGMAFIA (2017) and, erm, James Blunt (2020).

Many thanks to special guest James Fox—visit his website at

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Episode 72: Simon Witter on Kraftwerk + Rick Nelson audio + Lisa Verrico

In this week's episode of the RBP podcast, we pay tribute to Kraftwerk cofounder Florian Schneider, along with Afrobeat linchpin Tony Allen and Stranglers keyboardist Dave Greenfield. The excellent Simon Witter joins us to offer essential expertise on Schneider's vital part in making Kraftwerk the hugely influential group they were, with discussion revolving around our guest's epic MOJO retrospective on the electronica godfathers.

RBP's regular triumvirate consider pieces by the week's featured writer Lisa Verrico, commencing with a hilarious 1994 diatribe from the Fall's Mark E. Smith. More-up-to date are her great Sunday Times profiles of cutting-edge stars Billie Eilish and Christine & the Queens, prompting passionate endorsements by "our Jasper" Murison-Bowie. Being a tiny bit older than "our" Jasper, Mark Pringle & Barney Hoskyns steer the conversation towards the week's new audio interview. Clips from John Tobler's 1973 chat with Rick Nelson trigger musings on TV teen Idol Ricky's metamorphosis into a credible rock and roller and then into the trailblazing L.A. country rocker whose Stone Canyon Band backed him on his wry Top 10 hit 'Garden Party'. 

Finally, Mark walks us through the new library additions that most tickled his interest this week, including Jamie McCluskey III (a.k.a. Eden, a.k.a. Nikki Wine) chatting to the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson in 1965, David Keeps in conversation with Detroit's Was (Not Was) in 1983, and RJ Smith anticipating Trump's America in a prescient 1991 piece about Guns N' Roses. Barney picks Carol Clark's lovely 2001 lament for the inimitable Joey Ramone, while Jasper focuses on – among other items – John Calvert's 2015 dissection of problematic lyrics by Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye… 

Many thanks to special guest Simon Witter.

Episode 71: Jill Furmanovsky on Photography + Errol Brown audio interview

In this week's episode, RBP's very own Terrible Trio are joined by the legendary Jill Furmanovsky for a free-ranging conversation about her long career – and about rock photography in general. Jill describes her lucky 1972 break at London's Rainbow Theatre, talks about shooting Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan, and namechecks fellow snappers Pennie Smith and Barrie Wentzell. Discussion follows about free pieces (on Henry Diltz, Dennis Morris, and Barry Feinstein) by Observer photography critic Sean O'Hagan

The first of three clips from a 1975 interview with the late Errol Brown prompts reflections on the delicious Hot Chocolate – and what made Brown such a compelling star of '70s pop. Mark then guides us through new library pieces about Andy Williams (1963), the MC5 (1968), Ringo Starr (1972), and Scritti Politti (1988). Barney spotlights articles on Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the state of music journalism in 2018. Jasper wraps up the episode by considering the post-Velvets careers of Lou Reed, John Cale and co., plus an unlikely 2011 live pairing of Foo Fighters and CeeLo Green… 

Many thanks to special guest Jill Furmanovsky; visit to see her photography.

The collaboration between Rockarchive and RBP bringing together images and words, starting with Tom Waits in Santa Rosa, is available to view at

Episode 70: The Who Live at Leeds + KRLA Beat + Ron Sexsmith audio

Content warning: This episode contains discussion of assault (1:02:28–1:05:20) that some listeners may find distressing. 

In the 70th episode of our podcast, RBP's Zooming triumvirate talk about the Who's Live at Leeds — "the greatest live album ever made," in many people's H.O. — as it reaches its half-century. Referencing Geoffrey Cannon's unabridged Guardian review from May 1970, Mark & Barney relive memories of seeing the Who live and — with Jasper — explore what made the band such a uniquely powerful live unit.

The two other giants of '60s British pop feature in free pieces by KRLA Beat's Nikki "Eden" Wine, who attempts to explain Beatlemania in 1965 and hangs around a Rolling Stones session in Hollywood in 1966. Mark puts "the Beat" ("America's Pop Music NEWSpaper") into historical context and describes how some of its key female contributors wound up on RBP.

A passionate fan of Ron Sexsmith's for 25 years, Barney intros his own 2011 audio interview with the self-effacing Canadian. There are clips of Ron talking about Interscope signing him at the ripe old age of 31; about his and others' songwriting; and about his painful envy of Neil Diamond's onstage confidence.

Finally, Mark & Jasper chew over highlights among the week's new library pieces, including interviews with Chicken Shack (1969), Manitas de Plata (1971) and Creation's Alan McGee (1997); a report on the Jacksons' overblown Victory tour of 1984; a review of Childish Gambino's first London gig (2012); and a 2017 report on allegations of sexual abuse against "queer punk" duo PWR BTTM

Episode 69: Martin Colyer on Greil Marcus + Lucinda Williams + Rufus Wainwright

In this week's episode, your regular co-hosts are joined for the second time by RBP's original co-founder Martin Colyer, beamed in from Leyton, to offer his invaluable thoughts on Lucinda Williams and Greil Marcus' classic Mystery Train. 

Williams prompts near-rapturous approval for her 1998 masterpiece Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, with Mark and Barney similarly admiring its southern poetics and its Americana-defining country soul. Conversation flows seamlessly into the impact of Marcus' game-changing 1975 book, newly reissued (with lavish illustrations) by the Folio Society. Discussion of the book's chapters on Elvis Presley and The Band takes the RBP team back to Marcus' profound influence on British fans of American music.

Rounding out the episode's American theme, these four horsemen of the rock apocalypse hear clips from Maureen Paton's 2005 phone interview with the ever-amusing Rufus Wainwright, who covers all the topics you might expect from him, following the release of his remarkable Want albums: addiction, AIDS, America and the Wainwright/McGarrigle clans.

As per usual, Messrs. Pringle, Hoskyns & Murison-Bowie sift through some of the new library pieces that most intrigued them, including a Dawn James Rave interview with Small Face Steve Marriott from 1966; Michael Watts' underwhelmed Melody Maker response to Herbie Hancock's 1974 show at Carnegie Hall; Dave Thompson's fascinating 2004 Goldmine piece on the late Alan ('I Love Rock 'n Roll') Merrill's little-known Japanese glam band Vodka Collins; and, from 2006, a terrific Pete Paphides Times profile of Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hütz

Episode 68: Paul Gorman on Malcolm McLaren + R.I.P. Bill Withers & Hal Wilner

In this week's podcast – the second to be recorded remotely under the Covid-19 lockdown — Mark, Barney & Jasper are joined by special guest Paul Gorman to discuss his long and multi-faceted career... and his epic new biography of Malcolm McLaren. We also hear clips from the week's new audio interview: a 1989 conversation with "Malcy" himself, wherein the former Sex Pistols manager and professional provocateur voices his disdain for the music industry, his becoming an artist in his own right… and his despair at the passing of rock's pagan gods.

Paul also pitches in with his thoughts on the late Bill Withers, joining his hosts in celebrating the life and work of a unique singer-songwriter – and the dignity of a man who came late to fame and chose to walk away from it without regret. After hearing a clip of Bill speaking in 2004, the makeshift gang of four pay tribute to two more victims of the coronavirus: John Prine, discussed at much greater length in Episode 62, and Hal Willner, maverick mastermind behind such unorthodox tribute albums as 1988's Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films.

Finally, Mark talks us through his highlights of the week's new library load, including pieces on Nancy Sinatra and her walking 'Boots' (1966), Joel Selvin's Sid Vicious obituary (1979) and Annene Kaye interviewing the other Gang Of Four on a park bench in 1983. Jasper offers his tuppenceworth on a So Solid Crew profile from 2003 and a 2018 review of Prince's posthumous Piano and a Microphone album… and we say goodbye until the next time.

Many thanks to special guest Paul Gorman; his new book The Life and Times of Malcolm McLaren is published by Constable. Visit his website at

Episode 67: Warren Zevon + Miles Davis' Bitches Brew + Dusty Springfield

After its Covid-19-enforced interruption, the RBP podcast returns for its first remotely-recorded episode. Mark, Barney & Jasper — all splendidly self-isolated, if not entirely locked down — are reunited online to run through everything that's new or free on Rock's Backpages. Noting the sad losses of Cristina, Manu Dibango and Fountains Of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger — all recent victims of the coronavirus — RBP's troika discuss the week's new audio interview, a 2000 conversation with a supremely droll Warren Zevon, who talks to Adam Sweeting about Jackson Browne, David Geffen and Scottish Makar poet William Dunbar.

From there, they move on to the week's free feature, which focuses on the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis' groundbreaking Bitches Brew. RBP's very own Three Degrees revisit Richard Williams' original Melody Maker review of the 1970 album, along with Al Aronowitz's account of hanging out with Miles in the fall of that year. Then it's on to featured writer Lois Wilson and her near-definitive account of the making of 1969's Dusty in Memphis and her profile of British rhythm & blues mainstay Georgie Fame.

Among the new library pieces singled out for general discussion by Messrs. Pringle & Murison-Bowie are interviews with Elton John from 1971, Billy Cobham from 1974, Agnes Bernelle from 1985 and Kate Tempest from 2014…

Episode 66: Remembering Charlie Gillett + Johnnie Allan audio

In this week's episode, RBP's self-styled "power trio" pay tribute to the late Charlie Gillett, without whose seminal 1970 book The Sound Of The City Rock's Backpages probably wouldn't exist. It is a decade since we lost Charlie – one of the first RBP writers to come on board, back in 2000 – so we wanted to do justice to the enduring influence of The Sound, as well as to his wonderful "Honky Tonk" radio show, his Oval Records label and his passionate championing of African and other "world" music genres.

Two clips from Bill Brewster's 1999 audio interview with Charlie prompt reflection and reminiscence from Mark & Barney, as does a Record Mirror piece in which Charlie describes the infamous 1970 press junket that took 134 UK rock journalists to New York to watch the little-known Brinsley Schwarz play Bill Graham's Fillmore East.

From there, we segue neatly into a clip from Cliff White's 1978 audio interview with Cajun "swamp-pop" star Johnnie Allan, whose immortal 1971 cover of Chuck Berry's 'Promised Land' – featured on Charlie's 1974 compilation Another Saturday Night – made Oval Records beloved of a generation of rootsy UK pub rockers. Mark, Barney & Jasper wax lyrical about the wonders of 'Promised Land', and about Cajun music in general, before Mark guides us through his weekly library highlights. Among the latter are pieces about "Peter No-One" of Herman's Hermits, tenor legend Stan Getz and 'Cuddly Toy' boy Roachford. Jasper finishes things off with closing remarks about pieces on Missy Elliott and Clean Bandit.

Episode 65: Michael Watts on Melody Maker + Swamp Dogg + Cramps audio

In this week's episode, Mark & Barney are joined by a not-so-"Anonymous" Michael Watts, who regales his hosts with tales of life as the Walsall Observer's "Mick" Watts before reminiscing about his halcyon days as one of Melody Maker's star '70s scribes.

Watts waxes poetic – not to mention humorous – about his encounters with David Bowie, Bob Dylan, the Sex Pistols and others, and about the Maker's rivalry with the N(ew) M(usical) E(xpress). Mark & Barney grill him on the MM's response to punk and hear about colleagues such as Richard Williams and Caroline Coon.

After a brief discussion of the week's featured artist, hilarious country-soul eccentric Swamp Dogg, the trio hear the first of two clips from Martin Aston's 1986 audio interview with Lux Interior and Poison Ivy Rorschach, prompting conversation about the Cramps' inspired mash-up of '50s psychobilly and sub-Hollywood horror – and, 11 years after Lux's death, the band's unique place in post-punk rock'n'roll. [Note: the first audio clip actually features Lux & Ivy talking about original Cramps guitarist Bryan Gregory rather than about producer Alex Chilton. Apologies for our erratum.]

Finally, as Mark presents his highlights of RBP's new library additions, Barney & Michael pitch in with asides on Lou Reed, Talking Heads … and Michael's Chiswick neighbour Sophie Ellis-Bextor!

Many thanks to special guest Michael Watts; for more of his writing, please visit his writer's page.

Episode 64: The Meters + Joanna Newsom + Buzzy Linhart audio interview

In this week's episode, RBP's original "house band" pays homage to New Orleans funkmeisters the Meters, enjoys Frances Morgan's 2004 interview with the 22-year-old Joanna Newsom, and listens to the late Buzzy Linhart telling Steve Roeser about Lenny Bruce's 1964 bust at New York's Café au Go Go.

Road-weary veterans Mark & Barney saddle up with hip young gunslinger Jasper to explore the Meters' close involvement with Crescent City maestro Allen Toussaint – and the unique grooves of funk classics like 'Cissy Strut' and 'Just Kissed My Baby'. They also savour the prose of Frances Morgan's Newsom profile for Plan B and her meditation on the first four albums by Can.

A clip from Roeser's 2008 audio interview with Linhart reveals the cult Greenwich Villager's disdain for Café au Go Go owner Howard Solomon. Unfortunately, an almost equal amount of disdain is meted out to Buzzy's music by Mark & Jasper. Mark then zips through new additions to the RBP library — including Chris Welch's 1966 Melody Maker interview with the Bonzo Dog (Doo-Dah) Band, featuring quotes from the late Neil Innes; Pete Silverton's 1979 Sounds encounter with punk poet John Cooper Clarke; and Loudon & Rufus Wainwright weighing up their paternal/filial issues in 1999 for the benefit of Rolling Stone's Fred Schruers. Jasper discusses a Times live review of Steven "Flying Lotus" Ellison from Bristol's Colston Hall and Pip Williams (and others) getting in questions for One Direction's Harry Styles and Niall Horan in 2015…

Episode 63: Neil Tennant on Smash Hits + Pet Shop Boys + Andy Weatherall

In this week's episode, Mark & Barney invite the ever-entertaining Neil Tennant to look back on his time at Smash Hits magazine — and explain how he became pop's ultimate poacher-turned-gamekeeper.

Neil talks about mid-'70s London and about interviewing a pudgy Marc Bolan for Marvel UK. He recalls the laughter and irreverence of his 1982-85 stint at Smash Hits before the Pet Shop Boys shot to No. 1 in Britain and then America. After hearing clips of himself speaking to Steven Daly in 1996, he attempts to explain the longevity of the PSBs but takes issue with the term "national treasure".

Mark & Barney pay tribute to the late Andrew Weatherall as we hear a clip of the legendary DJ/producer/remixer talking to DJ History's Bill Brewster in 2009. Neil offers his perspective on the evolution of the UK's club culture through the '90s, then pitches in as Mark guides us through highlights of the week's new library additions. Discussion follows on Hawkwind's topless dancer Stacia, Michael Watts' 1976 dinner with Laura Nyro and the 10th anniversary of Manchester's Haçienda club…

Many thanks to our very special guest; details of the Pet Shop Boys’ new album Hotspot and upcoming tour are available via The new editions of Chris Heath’s Pet Shop Boys, Literally and Pet Shop Boys versus America are published by Heinemann and out on March 19th.

The Rock's Backpages podcast is proud to be part of the Pantheon podcast network.

Episode 62: Bryan Ferry + Prog Rock + John Prine audio interview

In this week's episode, RBP's power trio reforms to talk about all that's new – and everything that's free – on the site this week. Los tres hombres start with the solo Bryan Ferry, a.k.a. "Byron Ferrari", a.k.a. "Friern Barnet", revisiting the Roxy Music frontman's makeover as a dinner-jacketed lounge lizard and aspiring country gentleman. 

They then mark the publication of Mike Barnes' Prog-Rock magnum opus A New Day Yesterday with a free-ranging chinwag about the pros and cons of said genre – with specific reference to Mike's great pieces on Pink Floyd and Peter Hammill.

We hear a hilarious clip of beloved country-folk troubadour John Prine reminiscing about an improbable visit to Phil Spector's L.A. mansion, followed by a good-humoured debate on the merits or otherwise of, well, country-folk troubadours such as John Prine.

Finally, Mark walks us through his personal highlights of the week's "library load", focusing on quotes from pieces about Paul Simon, the Bang(le)s and an unlikely 1997 hook-up between the Wu-Tang Clan and Sharleen Spiteri's Texas. Discussion of maverick axeman Marc Ribot and electro-swingers Caravan Palace rounds out the episode.

Episode 61: Colleen "Cosmo" Murphy on David Mancuso and Lydia Lunch

In this week's episode, Mark and Barney are joined by the delightful Colleen "Cosmo" Murphy to mark the 50th anniversary of David Mancuso's legendary first Loft party in New York City. Colleen talks about her friendship with Mancuso and about her own musical journey as a revered DJ (not to mention host of Classic Album Sundays).

Barney notes the week's featured writer Daryl Easlea — and specifically his pieces on Elvis Presley the movie star and (tying in with this week's reissue of his excellent book Everybody Dance) Chic protegée Norma Jean Wright. Colleen concurs that the latter's 'Saturday' (1978) is a stone disco classic.

The New York theme continues with discussion of the week's new audio interview, featuring No Wave queen and fearless transgressor Lydia Lunch talking to Martin Aston in 1989. We hear a clip of Lydia holding forth on her staunch refusal to be part of any cultural mainstream — and conversation ensues about her huge influence and complicated relationship with radical feminism.

Finally, Mark talks us through such new additions to the RBP library as a 1969 Jimi Hendrix interview from the L.A. Times, Nick Kent's 1978 encounter with Elvis Costello, and Sean O'Hagan's account of his 1998 trip to Belfast with U2. A second clip from the Lydia Lunch audio takes us out of the episode…

Many thanks to special guest Colleen Murphy: like her Facebook page at Colleen "Cosmo" Murphy and visit

Episode 60: Dorian Lynskey on Daft Punk, Can audio interview ... and Brexit

In this week's episode, we wave a sad goodbye to the EU with the aid of Dorian Lynskey, Guardian contributor, author of 33 Revolutions Per Minute and The Ministry Of Truth, and host of the excellent Remainiacs podcast.

Dorian talks Mark, Barney & Jasper through his stellar career in music writing, focusing on his interviews with German superstar Paul van Dyk and French electro-House robots Daft Punk. Dorian also discusses Remainiacs on the eve of the Brexit countdown, and the four remoaners collectively lament the end of the beginning of the withdrawal… or is it the beginning of the end?

The Euro theme continues with a clip from the late Andy Gill's delightful 1997 audio interview with Irmin, Holger & Michael of krautrock kings Can, heard chuckling about the "erotic dreams" embedded in soldiers' mattresses. A brief discussion of Can's uniqueness as an experimental unit ensues.

Also for RBP subscribers is the selection of new library pieces presented by Mr. Pringle, including fashion tips from Mods in 1964, a tour of Philly's Sigma Sound studios in 1975, and a cab ride across London with jazz legend Archie Shepp in 1985…

Many thanks to special guest Dorian Lynskey; visit his website for further information about his books and the Remainiacs podcast.

Episode 59: Laura Barton on Road Trips + Sam Cooke + Isobel Campbell

In this week's episode, Mark & Barney welcome the wonderful Laura Barton and learn all about her career as a star Guardian writer – and as an author and broadcaster.

Laura talks about her travels in America, and about working with photographer Sarah Lee on the newly-published collection West Of West. The hosts ask her about her pieces on Bon Iver, Daniel Johnston and Riot Grrrl power – and more generally about her deeply personal approach to music writing.

A new Sam Cooke box set prompts a conversation about the pin-up gospel star who crossed over to become an icon of "proto-soul" before his shocking and tragic death in 1964. A 2010 hymn to Sam by the legendary Lenny Kaye provides the platform for ruminations on the man's sublime voice and his immeasurable influence on everyone from Otis Redding to Rod Stewart.

A clip from the late Andy Gill's 2005 audio interview with ex-Belle & Sebastian member Isobel Campbell is the catalyst for a discussion of the latter's collaborations with brooding grunge survivor Mark Lanegan. Having interviewed the Scots singer-songwriter when the duo's Ballad of the Broken Seas came out in 2006, Laura helps to place the pair in the tradition of such "beauty-and-the-beast" hook-ups as Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra.

Mark talks us through highlights of the week's additions to the RBP Library, including pieces on the unsavoury Jonathan King, the fabulous Freddie Mercury and David Bowie's personal tour of his London landmarks. The episode concludes with discussion of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's just-announced Class of 2020 – with specific reference to the covert racism (not to mention misogyny) underpinning reaction to the inclusion of Whitney Houston

Many thanks to special guest Laura Barton, who is on Twitter @missbarton. West of West, by Sarah Lee with an introduction by Laura, is published by Unbound.

Episode 58: James Blood Ulmer + Joan Baez audio + Chris Bourke

In the first episode of 2020, Mark, Barney & Jasper celebrate the 40th birthday of James Blood Ulmer's startling Are You Glad to be in America?. Pringle waxes lyrical about seeing Ulmer live and about the man's influence on his own guitar-playing – and then, with his colleagues, discusses the "punk-jazz" scene that coalesced around JBU, James Chance, Defunkt and others.

RBP's power trio then considers amusing interviews with Billy Idol, Gerry [and the Pacemakers] Marsden and Solomon Burke by New Zealander and former Rip It Up editor Chris Bourke. (Honorary mentions, along the way, to Nik Cohn, Nick Lowe and Jürgen Klopp.)

Mark intros a discussion of the week's new audio interview — with Joan Baez in 1992 — by playing a clip of America's folk queen describing how she's (temporarily) let go of her political activism. Baez's significance and legacy are considered after a second clip about learning how hard it is to write songs when you're not Bob Dylan.

Mark also talks us through his highlights of the week's new library additions, including a report on hanging out with Madeline Bell in swinging '60s London that reads like a scene from Austin Powers; Sounds' Dave McCullough bemoaning the joyless postpunk of the Raincoats and the Mekons in 1979; and Police man Stewart Copeland and others on the art of drumming in 1988…

By contrast, Jasper revisits the return of avant-funk postpunks 23 Skidoo in 2000, a probing biog of Beyoncé from 2015 and the musings of Panic! at the Disco's Brendon Urie in 2016…

Episode 57: Aretha's Amazing Grace + Mark Ronson audio + Tom Cox

In this week's episode – the last of 2019 – Mark, Barney & "Jazzbo" see out the year by celebrating the sheer majesty of Aretha Franklin and the posthumously-released Amazing Grace documentary.

Featured writer Tom Cox provides the perfect segue: a 1999 piece about the Queen Of Soul and her Atlantic Records producer/mentor Jerry Wexler. Your hosts also enjoy a chuckle as they revisit Tom's 2004 piece on Apple's new GarageBand "workstation".

Attention then turns to a 2007 audio interview with uptown funkateer and retromaniac producer Mark Ronson. We hear a clip from Maureen Paton's back-of-a-cab conversation with Ronson, after which RBP's three amigos discuss his subsequent career and his work with Amy Winehouse.

Marks talks us through new additions to the RBP library, including Keith Altham in the studio in 1968 with the Rolling Stones (and Jean-Luc Godard!); a 1971 Roy Carr rendezvous with the skinhead edition of Slade; and Joe "Mr. C" McEwen profiling the splendidly eccentric Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams in 1975. Jasper rounds matters off with quotes from David Toop's 2001 Wire interview with the brilliant Björkand a brief chat about Boris Johnson's new nemesis Stormzy.

Oh, and to prove we're not just about yesteryear, we've compiled a playlist of our favourite tracks of 2019: beautiful & thrilling music by the likes of Lizzo, Foals, Brittany Howard, Bon Iver, Nilüfer Yanya, Rustin Man, Billie Eilish, Vampire Weekend, Joan Shelley... and of course Amyl & the Sniffers! 

Episode 56: Kris Needs on The Clash + Zigzag magazine + Politics & Pop

On the day after the UK's Tory landslide, Mark & Barney ask the legendary Kris Needs to look back at the legacy of ultimate agit-rockers the Clash on the 40th anniversary of their classic London Calling.

Needs reminisces about key music venue Friar's in Aylesbury and his involvement with (and subsequent stewardship of) Pete Frame's seminal ZigZag magazine. His hosts ask about Just a Shot Away, part 1 of his memoir of the pivotal rock year of 1969, and then discuss his integral involvement with his mates Mick Jones, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon. Spinning off from the Clash, the trio hear a brief audio clip of tireless politico Billy Bragg talking about the Tories in 1990 – and then discuss free RBP pieces on "revolutionary rock" and "the greening of Planet Pop".

Mark introduces the week's new audio interview, a 1989 conversation with the much-missed Kirsty MacColl. After we hear a clip of the singer talking to John Tobler about an unreleased album she made for Polydor, there's an appreciation of MacColl as a songwriter and all-round good egg (and, later, a clip of her talking about her timeless contribution to the Pogues' Yuletide classic 'Fairytale of New York'). 

Finally, Mark talks us through his highlights among the week's new library articles, including pieces on Chuck Berry playing live in Lewisham in 1965, Sweet playing the Rainbow in 1973, and Donna Summer riding the "dark horse" of disco in 1976… 

Many thanks to special guest Kris Needs, whose new book Just a Shot Away: 1969 Revisited is out now and published by New Haven.

Episode 55: David Toop on art and sound + Arthur Russell + Joe Smith R.I.P.

In this week's episode Mark & Barney invite writer and fearless musical improviser David Toop to reminisce about his work and his long and fascinating career.

Toop talks about the impact of an aunt returning from New York with a stack of rhythm & blues 78s – and how this instilled a lifelong love of black American music. After he describes his early adventures in free and improvised music, his hosts ask how a man who's collaborated with Brian Eno and Max Eastley came to profile Bros for The Face – by way of his pioneering 1984 book The Rap Attack, the first serious study of the East Coast hip hop scene. The three men then discuss the cult "disco auteur" Arthur Russell, whom Toop interviewed.

Toop also pitches in on the subject of the week's free feature, cult dubstep star Will "Burial" Bevan, with Barney waxing ecstatic about the man's noughties albums and subsequent Hyperdub tracks – and Toop making slightly more sceptical noises.

Mark intros the week's new audio interview, with the late Joe Smith, and we hear a clip of the veteran West Coast executive discussing Joni Mitchell, one of the many artists he worked with at Warner Brothers and Elektra/Asylum. After considering Smith's role in the rise of acts like the Grateful Dead, Toop confesses to a surprising penchant for Crosby, Stills & Nash, prompting a more general discussion of dismantling musical hierarchies.

Finally, Mark talks us through his highlights among the week's new library articles, including pieces on the Four Tops (1966), Mott the Hoople, with David Bowie on backing vocals (1972) and the late Luther Vandross (1985) – another artist Toop interviewed for The Face.

Many thanks to special guest David Toop; Inflamed Invisible is out now, and you can visit his blog at

Episode 54: Barbara Charone on The Who + Keef Richards + Chelsea FC

In this week's episode, Mark & Barney welcome music scribe turned PR legend Barbara Charone into the RBP "cupboard" (© David Hepworth) and ask her about moving to London from her native Chicago in 1974 – along with her experiences of interviewing the Who, the Stones and other superstars of the '70s.

"BC" talks about befriending Keith Richards and writing his biography while staying at his Sussex home, Redlands, then reminisces about her move into PR and her decades-long association with such clients as Madonna and Robert Plant. Finally, Mark & Barney ask Barbara how she came to support the team they all three (and Jasper!) adore: Chelsea FC. (Spurs fans may wish to fast-forward at this point.)

The conversation segues seamlessly into a discussion of the week's fascinating new audio interview, in which John Tobler asks Pete Townshend about his 1993 solo album Psychoderelict – and all about the Who, Tommy and Pete's childhood traumas.

After semi-skirting around the week's free feature on Coldplay – an act for whom none of the three can muster much enthusiasm – Mark takes the reins and talks us through his highlights of the week's new additions to the RBP library – including a report of the 1966 scrapping of seminal TV pop show Ready, Steady, Go!, a review of the opening date of Led Zeppelin's 1975 tour of America, and a 1977 Rolling Stone interview with the 'Clean-Up Woman' woman Betty Wright.

Episode 53: John Fogerty audio + Peter Guralnick + Céline Dion

In this week's episode Mark, Barney & Jasper discuss the work of American music writer Peter Guralnick, with reference to the three free interviews featured on Rock's Backpages this week. They talk about the impact of Guralnick's books about southern soul and Elvis Presley, along with his earlier profiles of Howlin' Wolf and Charlie Rich.

RBP's power trio then turns its attention to super-diva Céline Dion, subject of the week's free feature. Barney defends the empress of pop shlock against his colleagues' scorn and draws support from interviews with her by David Sinclair and Ian Gittins.

The week's new audio offering is Adam Sweeting's 1997 interview with John Fogerty, who — in the episode's featured clips — recalls the origins of his Creedence Clearwater Revival and the bitter acrimony of their eventual split. Mark, Barney & Jasper put Creedence in context and hear Fogerty reminisce about his unhappy experiences under contract to Fantasy's Saul Zaentz.

New library highlights considered by your hosts include Cilla Back "in her own words" in Disc, the Guardian's Geoffrey Cannon lambasting Led Zeppelin in 1970, Michigan State News man Bill Holdship dissing disco in 1978, Police manager Miles Copeland declaring himself to be "a nasty S.O.B." in Musician and NME's Steven Wells introducing Suffolk metalheads Cradle Of Filth to the chairman of the Campaign for Courtesy …

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Enter the giveaway at for a chance to win an RBP subscription or book.

Episode 52: Gene Clark + Mick Hucknall + Mick Brown on Spector & Soul

In this week's episode, Mark & Barney invite the marvellous Mick Brown to reminisce about his journey from editing mid-'60s fanzine Soulbeat to feature-writing for the Guardian and the Telegraph, via stints at Sounds and Street Life.

Mick recalls his encounters with Marvin Gaye, Mac Rebennack and Phil Spector, subject of his seminal 2008 biography Tearing Down the Walls of Sound. He also weighs in on Gene Clark's cult classic No Other, of which he was an early champion on its 1974 release. He joins Mark and Barney in an extended appreciation of the troubled "Byrd Who Wouldn't Fly".

The three hombres then hear clips from Maureen Paton's 2009 audio interview with Mick Hucknall, in which the Simply Red frontman holds forth on Manchester, the Iraq war, The X-Factor and plenty more besides. 

New library additions highlighted by Mark include '60s pieces on the Troggs and the Yardbirds, plus interviews with Barry Manilow and Public Enemy's Chuck D.

Many thanks to special guest Mick Brown; find more of his writing on his Telegraph writer’s page at

Enter the giveaway at for a chance to win an RBP subscription or book.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 51: Bonnie Raitt + The Pop Group + Caroline Sullivan on the Bay City Rollers

In this week's episode Mark & Barney welcome special guest Caroline Sullivan and hear all about her journey from New Jersey to the republic of Brightonia, discussing in the process her poptastic pieces about Girls Aloud, Adele and Courtney Love's optioning of her classic Bay City Rollers book.

Jasper then rejoins the band as Caroline, citing "artistic differences", splits the crazy scene and heads back to Brighton. Talk turns to the week's other free pieces, which mark the 40th anniversary of postpunk legends the Pop Group's incendiary debut album Y.

The week's new audio offering is John Tobler's 1977 interview with the great Bonnie Raitt, 70 years young next week. After hearing a clip in which Bonnie talks about how she got into blues, Mark, Barney & Jasper pay tribute to her voice, her slide-guitar playing, and her soulful interpretations of songs by Eric Kaz, Jackson Browne & friends.

New library highlights considered by your hosts include Disc's Caroline Boucher chatting with Marc Bolan in 1972, Trouser Press' Jim Green tagging along with Elvis Costello in Belfast, The Wire's David Stubbs going into Battles and Lisa Verrico seeing M.I.A. in live action in 2007.

Caroline Sullivan's Bay City Rollers book is available on Amazon; follow her on Twitter @TheCSullivan.

Enter the giveaway at for a chance to win an RBP subscription or book.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 50: Snoop Dogg + Motörhead + Nick Tosches tribute

In this week's episode (the 50th, no less), Mark, Barney & Jasper pay tribute to the late Nick Tosches, discussing pieces by him on Captain Beefheart (1981) and his great biographical subject Jerry Lee Lewis (1982).

They then discuss the week's other free pieces, which concern the annus metallibis that was Motörhead's 1979 – the year of both Overkill and Bomber. They also lament the passing of original 'head guitarist Larry Wallis, who last month departed the stage for the final time.

The week's new audio offering being a 1993 conversation with Long Beach OG Snoop (Doggy) Dogg, lost trios paranoias hear clips from Steven Daly's fascinating interview and reminisce about the impact of Dr. Dre's languid beanpole prodigy.

New library highlights considered by your hosts include Disc's Rosalind Russell on Sweet's Brian Connolly, Glenn O'Brien on the (temporary) shuttering of NYC landmark Max's Kansas City and Susan Corrigan on her abiding love affair with Madchester. After Jasper samples some Señor Coconut from 2002, the RBP "team" bows out for another week.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Enter our great giveaway at for a chance to win an RBP book or subscription.

Episode 49: INXS' Michael Hutchence + Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood

In this week's episode of the RBP podcast, cocktail-lounge trio Mark, Jasper & Barney kick things off by discussing Oz rockers INXS. Ahead of the release of new documentary Mystify, they consider the tragic death of frontman Michael Hutchence.

The week's featured writer is Tim Riley, whose articles on roots rock, 2 Live Crew and Buddy Holly's influence on John Lennon spark discussion of the intersection between nostalgia and authenticity, the disproportionate censorship of black voices... and Lennon's inner geek.

The trio then listen to excerpts from Andy Gill's 2003 conversation with Jonny Greenwood about the Radiohead guitarist's first film soundtrack Bodysong – and early electronic instrument the Ondes Martenot. 

Finally, they each pick highlights from the articles added to the RBP library this week – among them a Brian Case interview with tenor-sax great Sonny Rollins and Jamiroquai's Jay Kay, a.k.a. "the prat in the hat", plus a piece from the early days of the internet and an interview with Charles Mingus' son Eric.

Episode 48: Ginger Baker audio + Elbow with guest David Hepworth

In this week's episode of the RBP podcast, Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns are joined by special guest David Hepworth to talk about his experiences as a journalist, editor, publisher and now bestselling author.

In a free-ranging conversation, your hosts hear how Dave got his start at the bottom of the NME totem pole before joining the nascent Smash Hits under Nick Logan. They also discuss his longstanding friendship with Mark Ellen, from founding Q, MOJO and The Word to presenting The Old Grey Whistle Test and the TV coverage of Live Aid. Finally, they quiz him on his new book, The Rock and Roll A Level: A Very Hard Pop Quiz.

There is a brief discussion of free-featured artists Elbow, noting the Bury quintet's unlikely ascent to the status of National Treasure and the all-round decency and right-on-ness of the band's "shambling everyman" of a singer, Mr. Guy Garvey.

The week's audio interview is with the late and reliably irascible Ginger Baker, speaking on the phone to Jim Sullivian in 2015. Mark, Barney & Dave hear a clip in which the Cream legend refuses to be drawn on his relationship with his family. There follows a discussion of Baker's status as rock's first superstar drummer – and conjecture as to whether he might possibly be the single most unpleasant man in the history of rock and roll.

Finally, Mark presents some of his highlights from the week's other additions to RBP, including interviews with Pete Townshend, Billy Paul and rapper (and "complete tosser," says Mark) Just-Ice. Barney touches on the passing of Eddie & the Hot Rods frontman Barrie Masters.

Many thanks to special guest David Hepworth, whose book The Rock and Roll A Level is published by Bantam Press.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 47: Loleatta Holloway audio + Robert Hunter R.I.P. + Phil Symes

Content warning: This episode contains a description of violence that some listeners may find distressing.

In this week's episode of the Rock's Backpages podcast, RBP's Mark, Barney & Jasper pay tribute to Robert Hunter, discussing his role within the Grateful Dead and how he helped unlock Jerry Garcia's voice with his lyrics.

Featured writer for the week is Phil Symes with three articles: Neil Diamond is mocked and disparaged by your hosts; a young Michael Jackson talks on the phone about his sideline solo career; and Sylvia (Robinson)'s 1973 smash 'Pillow Talk' is acknowledged as the American version of 'Je t'aime (moi non plus)'.

Your hosts then listen to a clip from the week's audio interview, in which disco diva Loleatta Holloway talks to Cliff White about the transition from gospel to secular soul – and the attendant issues. Mark argues that Holloway's gospel roots enabled her to succeed as the euphoric disco chanteuse whom Black Box sampled (sans permission) on 'Ride On Time'.

Mark presents his highlights from the week's new library additions, including the earliest mention on RBP of songsmith Randy Newman (in a Cilla Black interview); a contemplative Bill Withers talking to Disc's Robin Katz; and the violent tale of Coxsone Dodd attacking Joe Higgs over royalties. Jasper brings tales from the deep with Laurie Anderson's take on Melville's Moby Dick; Coldplay supported by Jay-Z; and just how streaming is skewing the pop charts.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Italian language consultant: Giacomo Bruzzo of RareNoiseRecords

Episode 46: The Beatles' Abbey Road + Blondie audio with Mat Snow

In this week's episode of the Rock’s Backpages podcast, Mark & Barney are joined by the "Fab"-ulous Mat Snow to discuss the 50th anniversary of Beatles swansong Abbey Road. Mat also regales them with his tale of setting off a firework in the NME reviews office... plus his further adventures in the world of music journalism (including a pivotal stint as editor of MOJO).

The week's audio interview is a 1977 conversation with Blondie, so the trio hear a clip of Debbie Harry recalling her life as a waitress at Max's Kansas City. Archive highlights as selected by Mark include yodelling Frank Ifield, the Monkees' Davy Jones, and a Steven Wells review of Napalm Death's cheerily-titled Fear, Emptiness, Despair...

Episode 45: Madonna audio interview + Sugarhill Gang's 'Rapper's Delight'

In this week's episode, RBP's original power trio is reunited as Barney Hoskyns returns from holiday, joined by Mark Pringle and Jasper Murison-Bowie. Los tres hombres commence with a discussion of the Sugarhill Gang's groundbreaking 'Rapper's Delight', considering its place in the history of hip hop with reference to three contemporary articles about the record.

The week's featured writer is Hit Parader's girl-about-town in swinging '60s London, Miranda Ward, whose scenester piece on Otis Redding and TV interview with George Harrison are discussed. Talk then turns to the week's audio interview, which features Madonna in conversation with Steven Daly in 2002. La Ciccone talks about her forthcoming (and widely-mocked) film Swept Away, as well as the difference between British and American class and her lapsed Catholicism and devotion to Kabbalah.

Mark begins the archive highlights section with Karl Dallas interviewing Woody Guthrie's son Arlo in 1966, moves swiftly on to John Mendelssohn poo-poohing Humble Pie live in 1969 and sparks a conversation about whether or not the live album is dead with a review of Free: Live.  Jasper rounds out the episode by discussing an interview with Héloïse Letissier of Chris/Christine and the Queens and a review of Common's Black America Again.

Episode 44: Simon Witter on Cameo, Zapp & House + Robbie Robertson audio

In this week's episode of the RBP Podcast, Mark Pringle and Jasper Murison-Bowie are joined by Mr. Simon Witter to talk about his career in music journalism, from Zapp to acid house by way of Cameo and his forays into the early days of Chicago house with pioneering DJs Frankie Knuckles and Ron Hardy

Simon's interviews with Larry Blackmon and Roger Troutman inform conversation about afro-futurist funk and D.C.'s go-go music. The trio also discuss what kinds of powders taste better dissolved in cream soda  and the impact of said powders (and other drugs!) on the second summer of love in 1988.

Mark, Jasper and Simon briefly talk about the week's featured artists the Pixies and pay tribute to the late Daniel Johnston, before moving on to the new audio interview, a 1991 conversation with The Band's Robbie Robertson conducted by Tony Scherman. Robbie talks about his pre-Band days with Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, how they weren't allowed to have steady girlfriends... and getting kicked out of a barbecue joint with Sonny Boy Williamson by racist Arkansas cops. 

In the archive section, Mark picks the week's highlights – including an interview with Marc Bolan of T(yrannosaurus) Rex plus the Village People doing their damnedest to remain ambiguous about their sexual preferences, while Jasper picks a review of Burial's Untrue and an interview with Anderson "best teeth in the game" .Paak.

Many thanks to special guest Simon Witter.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 43: The Story of Electronic Music + Slade + Status Quo with David Stubbs

In this week's episode of the RBP Podcast, Mark Pringle and Jasper Murison-Bowie are joined by David Stubbs to talk about his book Mars By 1980, which traces the story of electronic music from its beginnings in the mechanical experiments of the late nineteenth century through Stockhausen and musique concrète to Stevie Wonder's cosmic funk, the 80s electropop of bands like Depeche Mode and beyond.

Mark and Jasper hear how David got his start at Melody Maker after co-founding Oxford magazine Monitor as a student; he confesses that at the time he was in a 'slightly pompous phase' where the only music he was listening to was avant garde classical and jazz or funk. These areas inform much of the discussion that follows, as the three of them consider the initially slow and then suddenly meteoric rise of the synthesizer in popular music.

The week's audio interview is with Francis Rossi of Status Quo in 2010, with the chosen clips concerning the adjustment of Her Majesty the Queen's undergarments as well as his relationship with bandmate Rick Parfitt. The free feature is Slade, with three pieces about Noddy and co up for grabs.

In the archive section, Mark highlights a few pieces including Cecil Taylor's hands blurring with the speed of his playing live in Hammersmith, Muddy Waters interviewed by Max Jones and Dennis Wilson opening up about his time with Charles Manson for the first time to Joel Selvin. Jasper selects Evan Parker playing the Invisible Jukebox game with Mike Barnes for The Wire plus a piece by their illustrious guest about whether humour and music can mix.

Mars By 1980: The Story of Electronic Music is available via the Faber website at

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 42: Dusty Springfield + Alicia Keys + Taylor Swift with Lucy O'Brien

In this week's episode of the RBP podcast, Mark & Barney are joined by She Bop queen Lucy O'Brien to discuss her life in journalism – from her days distributing Spare Rib magazine at her convent school to being a member of the "soulcialist" faction at the NME. They explore how creeping consumerism and confusion about the paper's identity caused it to lose much of what set it apart, precipitating its eventual demise.

To celebrate the new revised and updated edition of Lucy's classic Dusty Springfield biography, they discuss what set Dusty apart as a singer and the problems she faced as a result of her sexuality. In the context of Lucy's definitive She Bop: The Definitive History of Women in Popular Music, the three of them consider a number of female artists including Madonna, Taylor Swift and Skunk Anansie's Skin, before listening to a clip from the week's audio interview with Alicia Keys, conducted by Maureen Paton in 2010.

Finally, exploring what else is new in the RBP archive, Mark reads from some of his highlights, including a somewhat perplexing Iggy Pop interview, Lemmy talking about Mods and combs, and Tim Westwood's cultural appropriation of hip hop.

Find Lucy O'Brien's website at and order Dusty: The Classic Biography from the publisher's website at

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 41: Easy Rider + Arthur Lee with Richard Williams

In this week's episode, Barney Hoskyns and Jasper Murison-Bowie are joined by Richard Williams to discuss his long and august career in music journalism, from his writing about avant-jazz giant Albert Ayler for his local Nottingham newspaper through his stewardship of Melody Maker to his time as the Guardian's chief sportswriter. 

The three men talk about Ayler and the great Laura Nyro, as well as about Richard's early interview with Bob Marley, at whose UK label (Island) Richard became Head of A&R for over two years. Asked what sort of music excites him these days, Richard (and Jasper) enthuse about the contemporary London jazz scene.

The week's free feature marks the passing of Peter Fonda, with contemporary appraisals of Dennis Hopper's 1969 classic Easy Rider that spark discussion of the film's soundtrack.

We then hear clips from John Tobler's 1980 interview with Arthur Lee, wherein the sometime Love frontman toys with the notion of getting the original band back together and reminisces about meeting Jimi Hendrix for the first time in 1964.

The episode concludes with a brief look at highlights among new articles in the RBP library, including an early Pink Floyd interview, a review of Panjabi MC's The Album and a live review of rapper Dave at Koko. 

Find Richard Williams' blog at

Episode 40: Ian Penman on Prince + Charlie Parker + ZZ Top audio

In this week's episode of the Rock's Backpages Podcast, Jasper Murison-Bowie and Barney Hoskyns are joined by the great Ian Penman to discuss his new essay collection It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track – along with his late '70s/early '80s years at the NME and his subsequent writing for The Wire and the London Review of Books.

Thus commences a wide-ranging conversation about everything from Frank Sinatra to Charlie Parker to Prince, via John Fahey, Nina Simone and Kate Bush. Along the way, Penman passionately disputes the received wisdom that he brought down the NME with his infrequent references to French theorists Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida.

Los tres hombres hear clips from a 1990 audio interview with Billy Gibbons, wherein the urbane ZZ Top frontman recalls meeting Muddy Waters and pays homage to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Finally, having had far too much fun with this episode, your hosts run swiftly through a handful of the new library pieces available to RBP subscribers.

It Gets Me Home, This Curving Track is published by Fitzcarraldo Editions; purchase the book here.

Find Ian Penman on Twitter @pawboy2.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 39: Tammy Faye Starlite does Marianne Faithfull + Miles & more

In this week's episode, Mark & Barney are joined by American singer/performance artiste extraordinaire Tammy Faye Starlite to talk about grande dame of British art-pop Marianne Faithfull. Tammy discusses her upcoming run of New York shows based around Faithfull's 1979 classic Broken English – plus the week's new audio interview, with the lady herself. The trio mull over Faithfull's relationships and/or friendships with Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg. They also discuss parallels between her and Nico, another object of Tammy's hommage.

Talk turns to David Dalton, featured writer of the week and co-author of Faithfull's autobiography. The recent passing of filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker is marked by discussion of Dalton's 1999 interview with "Penny".

The week's free feature is about Miles Davis, marking the 50th anniversary of  groundbreaking "ambient jazz-rock" masterpiece In A Silent Way. Discussion touches on the album's sessions and the influence on Miles of funky Betty Davis (née Mabry), in terms of both music and fashion.

Mark picks his highlights from the archive pieces, which include a 1970 interview with Love's Arthur Lee, a David Hepworth review of Michael Jackson's Off The Wall and Nick Coleman talking to Anita Baker in 1986.

To buy tickets for Tammy Faye Starlite's run of Marianne Faithfull shows, please visit the Pangea website.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 38: Woodstock '69 + Shirley Collins audio interview + Mark Anthony Neal

Content warning: This episode contains references to sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Following the cancellation of Woodstock 50, regular RBP podcast hosts Mark Pringle & Barney Hoskyns are joined by occasional host Jasper Murison-Bowie to discuss the legacy of those fateful three days in August 1969. RBP's very own power trio considers contemporary reports that paint contrasting pictures: Danny Goldberg's positive story for Billboard, Miller Francis Jr.'s altogether more sanguine account for Atlanta's Great Speckled Bird, highlighting the survivalist nature of attending the festival as a punter.

Featured writer of the week is Duke University professor Mark Anthony Neal, with pieces on "blue-eyed" soul enigma Lewis Taylor, the demise of Vibe magazine, and the remarkable voice of doomed New Jersey soul singer Linda Jones.

Los tres hombres hear a clip from a 1991 audio interview with Shirley Collins, wherein the English folk doyenne discusses her 20-year-old No Roses album. Collins talks about the album's recording process and (most of) the 26 musicians who performed on it.

Mark presents his highlights from the archive, including a report on the controversy that followed Norman Jopling's unfavourable live review of Otis Redding on the 1967 Stax revue; a Roy Carr interview with Tina Turner, and a report on Ecstasy in Holland. Jasper rounds out the selection of archive highlights with a live review of reggae singer Shaggy, aka Mr Boombastic/Mr Lover Lover/Mr Romantic.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 37: Glen Campbell, Jimmy Webb and 'Wichita Lineman' with Dylan Jones

Joined by GQ editor (and sometime i-D contibutor) Dylan Jones, Mark and Barney talk about Dylan's new book The Wichita Lineman: Searching in the Sun for the World's Greatest Unfinished Song and celebrate 'Lineman''s composer Jimmy Webb and the song's original singer, the late Glen Campbell. Dylan explains how he came to write the book and the three men enthuse about Webb's ability to tell stories in song and in person.

After listening to a clip from a 2005 audio interview with Webb himself, wherein he laments the lack of complexity in contemporary pop and discusses his use of harmony and chords, Mark and Barney quiz Dylan about hiring Boris Johnson as car correspondent for GQ magazine. Talk turns briefly to politics as they consider how Dylan's acquaintance David Cameron might now feel about calling the 2016 referendum.

Mark presents highlights from the week's new library pieces. These include an interview with Robin Gibb shortly after he left the Bee Gees, a report from the Wailers' first trip to London, and a Diana Ross press conference about the album she recorded with Chic's Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards.

To buy Dylan JonesThe Wichita Lineman, visit the Faber website.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 36: KLF + Echo & the Bunnymen + Julian Cope with Mick Houghton

This week, Mark and Barney are joined by Mick Houghton, Let It Rock and Sounds scribe turned beloved publicist for Echo & the Bunnymen, the Teardrop Explodes and the KLF.

Discussing Mick's new book Fried and Justified, Barney addresses Mick's rage at a bad NME review of Julian Cope's World Shut Your Mouth written by... Barney himself.

The three of them listen to excerpts from an unwieldy but fascinating conversation between New Orleans R&B legends Dave Bartholomew, Red Tyler and Earl Palmer, in which they discuss what makes the Crescent City so different – and hence so tricky for non-NOLA musicians.

Finally, Mark presents highlights from the week's new library pieces, including Geoffrey Cannon's live review of Joni Mitchell getting off to a rocky start at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival; Michael Goldberg's report on the John Fogerty/Saul Zaentz "Zanz Kant Danz" lawsuit, and Steven Daly's 1999 interview with the young Britney Spears, which prompts both Mark and Barney to laud the pop genius of '...Baby One More Time' and 'Oops!...I Did It Again'.

To buy Fried and Justified: Hits Myths, Break-ups and Breakdowns in the Record Business 1978–1998, please visit the Faber website.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 35: P-Funk Special + Hal David audio with Lloyd Bradley and Tom Vickers

In this week's episode, Mark and Barney are joined by not one but two guests. Lloyd Bradley and Tom Vickers tell the story of how they first met, Lloyd blagging his way into a singles-reviewing session with George Clinton at Blues and Soul magazine when Tom was Parliament's publicist and self-dubbed "Minister of Information". This gives rise to a lengthy discussion about all things Parliamentary and Funkadelical, with Lloyd explaining how he morphed from sneaking into gigs to a long and illustrious career as a music journalist and author.

The four men hear a clip from the week's new audio interview, a 1999 conversation with Hal David, the brilliant lyricist for Burt Bacharach's pop masterpieces. Hal reminisces about demo'ing 'Make It Easy on Yourself' with Dionne Warwick – and recalls her subsequent disappointment when the song went to Jerry Butler.

Mark presents the highlights from the articles added to the archive, including Jimmy Page waxing astrological, Mick Jagger feeling intellectually-limited, and Eminem being booed off stage in London — leading the group to debate whether, and how, hip-hop can be successful in large venues.

Lloyd Bradley's website is, where you can find details of his books Bass Culture and Sounds Like London.

Tom Vickers' website is, where you can find information about his writing and excerpts from Tales from the Tour Bus.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 34: Amy Linden on Amy Winehouse + Kanye West + Nico + Bobby Womack

In this week's episode, Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns welcome special guest Amy Linden to reminisce about reading Creem at her local library and falling in with the punk scene in San Francisco in the late '70s... and then about writing for Vibe, Spin and XXL. Amy shares stories of chasing Amy Winehouse and detesting Kanye West.

The trio listen to excerpts from a 1976 Bobby Womack audio interview in which the maverick soul man – who died five years ago this week – talks about recording at Muscle Shoals with white musicians and tells of how Wilson Pickett's voice replaced his own on early recordings for Atlantic Records.

Ahead of the opening of Maxine Peake's Nico Project in Manchester, the former Christa Päffgen is featured as artist of the week on RBP, sparking discussion of a late interview in which she claims she'd like to be a farmer – or the captain of a ship.

Finally, Mark presents archive highlights that include an account of what it's like to play a Rolling Stones gig (supposedly penned by Brian Jones), a Randy Newman interview in which he playfully describes himself as "lovable and friendly and perfect in every way" and a De La Soul interview that prompts Amy to mock Mark's pronunciation of their name mercilessly.

Find Amy's podcast, ImmaLetYouFinish, on Spotify, Instagram @immaletyoufinishny and Twitter @finishimma.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 33: L.A. Special with Chris Campion + Elliot Roberts audio + Little Feat

In this week's episode, Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle are joined by Chris Campion all the way from Pioneertown, California. The subject of Chris' upcoming book, John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, leads into a wide-ranging and discursive conversation about L.A. in the '60s and the music and madness of Arthur Lee and Charles Manson.

Continuing the Southern California theme, the three men hear excerpts from a 1993 audio interview with the late Elliot Roberts in which the legendary manager talks about his client Joni Mitchell's house, the Eagles, and the impact of cocaine on the L.A. scene.

Finally, in the archive highlights section, Mark selects an interview with Keith Richards' mother, a live review of Jimi Hendrix playing London's Bag O'Nails club in 1967 and – returning to the L.A. theme – a 1972 interview with Elliot Roberts' managerial/Asylum Records partner David Geffen.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 32: Go-Go in D.C. + Anita Ward audio + Felix Dennis and the Oz Trial

For this week's episode, Mark, Barney and Jasper look back at Go-Go, the funk 'n' roll sound of Washington, D.C.. Discussing its influences on Swing Beat and its intersections with hip-hop, they revisit classic Go-Go articles by the NME's Richard Grabel (1984) and Simon Witter (1987), plus Don Snowden's tribute to "Go-Go godfather" Chuck Brown.

Your hosts then hear a clip from an 2016 audio interview with Memphis disco queen Anita Ward, who discusses life as a one-hit-wonder – and 'Ring My Bell', the No. 1 smash in question. Barney, Mark and Jasper mark five years since the death of Felix Dennis, reflecting on his experiences in the Oz Trial and his subsequent incarnation as a crack-smoking media magnate.

Rounding up highlights in the new RBP library additions, Mark starts with Mike Nesmith of the Monkees, moves on to the Grateful Dead live in Europe in 1972 Europe 72 and considers an NME Gram Parsons interview conducted not long before the country-rock icon's death in 1973. Jasper enthuses about the live sound of Oxford band Foals.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 31: Bernard Fowler's Life in Music + Dr. John audio + Andy Gill R.I.P.

Hosts Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle are joined by special guest Bernard Fowler to discuss his life in music, from the Peech Boys at the Paradise Garage to working with Mick Jagger on She's the Boss and commencing a 30-year relationship with the Rolling Stones. He also regales the chaps with tales of recording a disco cover of Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick in the Wall' and explains how growing up in New York City influenced his new album of Stones covers Inside Out.

Barney enthuses about Martin Scorsese's new Rolling Thunder Revue, a film about Bob Dylan's mid-'70s tour of America, before paying tribute to NME/Q/Independent writer Andy Gill – noting pieces he wrote about Cabaret Voltaire (and Andy's native Sheffield), Frank Zappa and the man for whom he was often mistaken: Gang Of Four guitarist Andy Gill.

The three hombres then listen to clips from Andy Schwartz's 1994 audio interview with Dr. John, wherein the man born Malcolm Rebennack remembers being ripped off by labels in his early recording career – and his struggle to get clean.

Finally, Mark presents highlights from the week's other additions to the RBP archive, including a 1956 interview with Alexis Korner about British skiffle, Labelle shaking up the male-dominated music industry in 1974 and Barbara Ellen's report of having a truly miserable time at the Glastonbury festival.

For details about Inside Out and The Bura, please visit

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 30: Dawn James on The Beatles + Roky Erickson R.I.P. + Neil Young audio

Content warning: This episode contains a description of sexual assault that some listeners may find distressing.

Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns are joined by queen of Rave magazine Dawn James to hear about her wild life as a '60s pop feature writer. She remembers her friends the Beatles, reveals the identity of her most difficult interview and astonishes Mark 'n' Barney by confessing her love for ELP. She also talks about her sister Twinkle, whose career as a pop singer-songwriter is celebrated on Twinkle: Girl In A Million, a new compilation on RPM records.

Paying tribute to Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators, Barney and Mark discuss his huge influence on punk rock and psychedelia. They then move on to a lengthy and fascinating 1985 audio interview with Neil Young, including a clip in which he talks about rock 'n' roll being "a young person's game".

Lastly, Mark presents the highlights from the articles added to the library, including interviews with Nancy Sinatra about being in her father's shadow, James Brown wanting to see the Queen and the President "get down" to soul music, and Flaming Lip Wayne Coyne's desire to struggle with the "insane beast" that is rock music.

To buy Twinkle: Girl In A Million, please visit You can find more information via the Facebook page.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 29: Rickie Lee Jones + Harry Doherty + Rory Gallagher audio

In this week's episode, Barney Hoskyns and Jasper Murison-Bowie hold the fort in Mark Pringle's absence as he enjoys the sunny shores of Crete. Back in muggy London, Rickie Lee Jones is the free feature on RBP, ahead of the release of new covers album Kicks. Barney and Jasper take a look at pieces about Jones' unexpected success with 1979's 'Chuck E's in Love', as well as her drug problems and wild days with boyfriend Tom Waits.

The two of them then consider pieces by Melody Maker mainstay Harry Doherty, who died five years ago: a report from a 1977 Queen/Thin Lizzy tour; an interview with the young Kate Bush; and a 1976 interview with Irish blues guitar hero Rory Gallagher. By editorial design, the week's audio interview is also with Gallagher, this time from 1978 and with Cliff White. Barney and Jasper hear a clip in which Rory talks about recording live.

Despite his absence, Mark has selected highlights from the week's library load, including an interview with the Beatles before they embark on their 1964 tour of the U.S., plus an interview with Pete Townshend in which he slags off Paul McCartney's song 'Yesterday'. A brilliant Steven Wells polemic about homophobia sparks discussion of Morrissey's far-right views – and of whether or not bad people can make good music. Pieces on Gnarls Barkley and Christine and the Queens/Chris round out the episode.

Episode 28: Danny Fields on the Stooges + the Ramones + George Clinton audio

Joined by the legendary Danny Fields, Mark and Barney hear tales of his days with the Stooges and the MC5 – and the five years he spent managing the Ramones. He also recounts the tale of the night Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin wound up rolling around on the floor of Steve Paul's The Scene in a ball of cartoon smoke and fists.

The week's free feature focuses on Primal Scream: Mark, Barney and Danny compare notes on the band's frontman Bobby Gillespie and weigh up the influence of 1991's Screamadelica. The trio then listen to excerpts from a 1978 audio interview with George Clinton, in which the P-Funk chief talks about what "funkadelic" means and how the classic 'One Nation Under a Groove' was born.

To round out the episode, Mark presents highlights from the articles added to the archive, including a 1966 interview with Kim Fowley, a 1976 review of Shirley Bassey live at the Royal Albert Hall and a 1983 report on MTV.

Danny Says is on Netflix + Danny's book My Ramones is available on Amazon

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 27: Bruce Springsteen + Elton John + The Beatles + Stevie Wonder with Bob Spitz

In this week's episode, Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns are joined by Bob Spitz, who was all set to go to medical school until his parents talked him out of it. Instead, he bagged a job with "New York's Mickie Most", Wes Farrell, and went on to discover Bruce Springsteen, helping to land him a record deal with Columbia's John Hammond. Tiring of life on the road, Bob began writing about rock for Crawdaddy before going on to author major books about Bob Dylan and the Beatles.

Bob recounts fascinating stories about all of the above, conveniently tying in with this week's featured artist Elton John ahead of the release of new biopic Rocketman. The trio hear a clip from a 1995 audio interview with Stevie Wonder in which the Motown maestro talks about why he started writing more politically – and about the inspirational influence of Marvin Gaye's album What's Going On.

Mark selects highlights from the week's new additions to the library, ranging from a Crispian St. Peters interview – in which Chelsea players chuck olives at him on a plane back to London from Barcelona – to John Sinclair's White Panther Statement in the Warren-Forest Sun... not forgetting a pre-release review of the Beatles' Let It Be when it was still titled Get Back.

Many thanks to special guest Bob Spitz

Please visit for information on his books, including The Beatles: The Biography.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 26: Mavis Staples + Bob Stanley/Saint Etienne + The B-52s audio

This week, Mark, Barney and Jasper start with featured artist Mavis Staples and discuss her legacy as a member of the Staple Singers – as well as her solo work with Prince and other producers.

Three pieces by featured writer Bob Stanley spark discussion of Johnny Cash and self-proclaimed "best group on the planet" the Stone Roses. A 1992 interview with Saint Etienne cements Bob's "poacher turned gamekeeper" status as one third of that "meta-pop" trio.

The week's audio interview is with B-52s Keith Strickland and Katie Pierson, wherein they skirt around the subject of bandmate Ricky Wilson's AIDS-related death in 1985. Mark and Barney consider the group's status as darlings of late '70s New York and hail them as one of "the best things to come out of New Wave".

Launching into the highlights of the rest of the week's additions, Mark selects a diverse selection of pieces including a 1972 live review of the Rolling Stones, plus interviews with jazzman Horace Silver and Bobby Brown of the rebooted New Edition. Barney mentions the irascible Mark E. Smith and a review of the late Ellen Willis' book Out of the Vinyl Deeps. Jasper introduces his considerably older colleagues to the music of young guns Crystal Fighters.

Episode 25: Jordan's Story + Goth + Bay City Rollers with Cathi Unsworth

In this week's episode, Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns are joined by special guest Cathi Unsworth to discuss collaborating with punk icon Jordan on the autobiographical Defying Gravity: Jordan's Story. They consider the latter's influence on the London punk scene, in which women found a voice and carved out a space for themselves they hadn't previously been afforded.

A long piece she wrote about the '80s Goth scene leads Cathi to reminisce about her early days on Sounds and Melody Maker. Her interviews with the late Dick Dale and with Ozzy progeny Kelly Osbourne provide the basis for discussion of Pulp Fiction and The Osbournes.

Discussion of the Cranberries and their late singer Dolores O'Riordan precedes a clip from the week's audio interview, with disgraced Bay City Rollers manager Tam Paton. From his bungalow inside a barbed-wire-walled garden, Paton complains that nobody sends him Christmas cards any more and explains why the Rollers broke up.

Finally, Mark and Barney talk through their favourite pieces from the week's library additions, including a 1966 Rave magazine feature on drugs ("a drag on a drug is still a drag"), Paul Morley falling for all-female hard rockers Girlschool, and Richard C. Walls on the "total bust" that was Stevie Wonder's Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants.

Cathi Unsworth's new book Defying Gravity: Jordan's Story is available for pre-order now from Amazon. Find out more on Cathi's website,

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 24: Al Green + Anita Pallenberg audio + Thundercat

Mark Pringle and Jasper Murison-Bowie explore what's new in the RBP archive this week, starting with featured artist Al Green. Three classic interviews take them through the various stages of the soul legend's career, including his gospel period and his return to secular music in more recent years.

They then discuss featured writer Ann Moses, whose editorship of Tiger Beat magazine and contributions to the NME led her to interview the Beach Boys, the Monkees and many more, as described in her 2017 memoir Meow! My Life with Tiger Beat's Teen Idols.

Despite his temporary absence, Barney Hoskyns makes an appearance on the podcast via the week's audio interview, which features him asking the late Anita Pallenberg about her experience of being a rock muse. Mark and Jasper listen to Anita's thoughts on how rock's gentlemen still prefer blondes, how they sometimes get more than they bargained for, and how things still aren't close to equal in such relationships.

To round things out, your hosts present their selections from the week's other additions to the library. The pair discuss everything from a 1964 Billboard report on 'The Jamaica Ska' to an all-night graduation party in Detroit that features possibly the first print mention of the MC5 – and from Sun Ra's cosmology to Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G, with much else in between. Finally, a discussion of the excellent Thundercat is prompted by a 2017 review of the man live in London.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 23: Todd Rundgren audio + Orange Juice + Danny Goldberg

This week, Barney, Mark and Jasper listen to excerpts from Bill DeMain's 1997 interview with the wizard, the true star that is Todd Rundgren. Subjects include "online music delivery" and the challenge of originality in songwriting.

They then move on to the week's free feature, about Orange Juice and Postcard Records. Danny Goldberg, former manager of Nirvana, is the featured writer for the week, so the boys discuss '70s pieces on Alice Cooper and Led Zeppelin and a memoir of attending high school with the late Gil Scott-Heron.

Highlights among the new RBP library additions include pieces on Gerry & the Pacemakers, Yoko Ono on saving John Lennon from chauvinism, Depeche Mode, Foo Fighters, Lenny Waronker and the Stooges. Jasper rounds out the selection with discussion of Mel C, Clipse and Lauryn Hill.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 22: Joy Division special with Jon Savage + Dizzee Rascal audio

In this week's episode, Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle are joined by Jon Savage to talk about his new Joy Division book This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else. Jon tells the story of moving to Manchester and getting to know the band plus Tony Wilson and Martin Hannett – and speaks about how seeing Joy Division live haunts him to this day.

The three men listen to excerpts from a 2007 audio interview with Dizzee Rascal, in which the breakout Grime star and interviewer Maureen Paton take a taxi ride through his old East London haunts. Dizzee tells Maureen about how music shaped his life, how London knife crime is influenced by skunk – and about getting stabbed in Ayia Napa.

Mark highlights a number of interesting new additions to the library, including pieces on the Yardbirds playing the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, George Harrison in full "mystic" mode, a scathing review of David Bowie's 'Young Americans' and Johnny Rotten talking right after the Sex Pistols split.

Jon Savage's new Joy Division book This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else is available now, including from Rough Trade.

Hosted by Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 21: Tribute to Scott Walker + Jimi Hendrix + ABC with Keith Altham

In this week's episode, Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle are joined by special guest Keith Altham to pay tribute to the late Scott Walker, an artist he interviewed many times for New Musical Express. They consider Walker's early years as a teen idol and as a Walker Brother, followed by his bold '60s solo albums and his radical re-emergence in the '80s. Keith talks about touring with Scott and Jimi Hendrix – and about introducing the NME to the concept of "humour".

The three of them listen to a clip from an interview with Martin Fry and Mark White of '80s icons ABC about Trevor Horn's production of debut album The Lexicon of Love. Mark then introduces selections from the week's new additions to the RBP library, including Mick Jagger talking to Dawn James in 1965, Anne Briggs "zooming down a whirlpool to annihilation", David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album, My Bloody Valentine live at London's Clarendon, John Mellencamp's self-confessed status as a rock cliché and Salt-n-Pepa being denied their rightful place in hip-hop's history. Barney rounds it all off with tributes to writers Steven Wells and Mick Farren.

Hosted by Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 20: Van Morrison + Pink Floyd + Steve Earle with Tony Stewart

This week, Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle welcome special guest Tony Stewart to revisit the glory days of the NME – and Tony's notoriously tricky interviews with Van Morrison and Freddie Mercury. They then hear about the time Tony saw the first-ever performance of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, brought to a standstill by technical difficulties within half an hour of starting.

The trio then tune into clips from a 1996 audio interview with Steve Earle, following his recovery from heroin and crack addiction. They also discuss his six (yes, six) marriages and his enduring influence as a country rebel.

After Barney comments on Lana Del Rey – the featured artist in the week's Free On RBP section – Mark rounds up highlights from the new pieces in the archive, starting with an interview with Ken Brown, member of the pre-Beatles Quarrymen, followed by articles on Lulu & the Luvvers, L.A. mogul Lou Adler, Orange Juice's Edwyn Collins, Sinead O'Connor's prescient comments on Catholicism... and the '90s hip hop wars between the East and West coasts.

Hosted by Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 19: Morrissey + Madonna + Minnie Riperton with James Medd

Joined by RBP contributor James Medd, Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle hear tales of interviewing Morrissey and Joanna Newsom for Esquire and of life at The Word. Paying tribute to drummer Hal Blaine, one of the great American session players, the trio discuss L.A.'s legendary Wrecking Crew and marvel at just how many hits they played on. Talk then moves on to the week’s free feature, Lambchop, via another great session player, Charlie McCoy – a stellar guest on their forthcoming album. 

James, Mark and Barney hear an excerpt from an audio interview with the late great Minnie Riperton and discuss her "whistle register" and cancer activism. Mark then presents his selection of choice cuts from the week's new library pieces, including articles on Rolf Harris, the Osmonds, Johnny Nash, Scritti Politti, Carl Wilson and the Talking Heads film Stop Making Sense. The show this week winds up with some thoughts on Madonna, sparked by a 7000-word NME interview conducted by Barbara Ellen in 1995.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 18: The Prodigy's Keith Flint R.I.P. + Jayne County audio interview

In the absence of Mr. Mark Pringle, Barney Hoskyns and Jasper Murison-Bowie pay tribute to Keith Flint of the Prodigy, revisiting three articles from the RBP archive, including an interview conducted during the shoot for the 'Firestarter' video.

Three pieces by the week's featured writer Jeff Tamarkin spark discussion of Bay Area musicians Marty Balin, Greg Kihn and the Residents before talk turns to a brief but brilliant 1985 audio interview with Jayne County. Contemplating her influence as the first open transwoman in rock, Barney and Jasper listen to an excerpt from Ira Robbins' phone interview in which she talks of transitioning and working in a Berlin "house of prostitution".

Finally, Jasper and Barney introduce select highlights from the new additions to the RBP library: Beatles label court battles of the early '60s, Jeff Beck's 1970 visit to Motown, Alice Cooper's shock-rock and Rage Against the Machine raging against the corporate rock machine.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 17: Remembering Mark Hollis + Dead Kennedys Audio + Mark Leviton

Paying tribute to the late Mark Hollis, Mark Pringle, Barney Hoskyns and Jasper Murison-Bowie consider the Talk Talk frontman's huge influence on "post-rock" (and even trip-hop) and trace the band's evolution from early '80s synth-pop to 1988's beautiful jazz/classical-influenced Spirit of Eden.

The trio then hear an excerpt from the week's new audio interview, recorded in 1981 with Dead Kennedys Jello Biafra and Klaus Fluoride, and discuss the California punk scene (and rise of American indie). Mark Leviton is the week's featured writer, commencing with his account of a week on a recent "rock cruise" – Pringle's idea of "hell" – and wrapping up with a 1984 report on L.A.'s Slash Records.

Pringle presents his highlights of the week's new library additions, including pieces on Scott Walker, the Beatles' White Album, Queen's Brian May, Jackie Wilson, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWBHM — "the worst acronym in music history"?) and the first reports, in 1993, of Michael Jackson's sexual abuse of young boys.

"Jazzbo" Murison-Stardust discusses the 2015 film Whiplash – with its "sports-movie" approach to jazz drumming – along with the xx and Alessia Cara. Barney babbles about maverick British record man Andrew Lauder and Cajun-pop icon Johnnie Allan...

Hosted by Barney Hoskyns, Mark Pringle and Jasper Murison-Bowie

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 16: Curtis Mayfield + Sigue Sigue Sputnik + History of RBP with Martin Colyer

Together with special guest (and RBP co-founder) Martin Colyer, Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns consider soul giant Curtis Mayfield and his enduring influence. They hear a snippet of Julian Henry's 1985 audio interview with the absurd Sigue Sigue Sputnik – and talk about how Tony James and co. crashed down to earth despite their stratospheric ambitions. There's a brief discussion of pieces by featured writer Mac Randall on Robert Wyatt & Bill Nelson, Linda Thompson and Beck, leading on to a rundown of what's new in the archive for the subscribers, led by chief archivist Pringle: specifically, articles on Del Shannon, Diana Ross, Keith Richards, Viv Stanshall, Joy DivisionAndrew Weatherall and Missy Elliott, as well as a lengthy feature on the drug Ketamine from 1976. Martin, Mark and Barney then take a journey back in time to the origins of Rock's Backpages, explaining how the idea for the archive came to be and what steps they took together to make it a reality.

Martin Colyer's blog can be found at and the book, Five Things I Saw & Heard This Week, Volume 1: Dispatches from the everyday world of music is available on Amazon.

Hosted by Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 15: Radiohead, Gladys Knight and Daft Punk

Barney Hoskyns is joined by Mark Pringle and Jasper Murison-Bowie to discuss the week's free feature, which coincides with the publication of RBP's new Radiohead anthology Present Tense. While Mark can't abide Thom Yorke's "middle class pain", Barney deems the 'head to be The Greatest British Band of the past 25 years. Jasper meanwhile describes his "pivotal" role in the Radiohead story: clapping along as a 10-year-old to In Rainbows' '15 Step'.
Los tres hombres hear an excerpt from Cliff White's 1976 audio interview with Gladys Knight & the Pips and enthuse wildly about the lady before considering three free pieces by Jon Young – about Soft Cell/Yaz(oo), LL Cool J and Mariah Carey. Talk then turns to highlights among the new additions to the RBP library, including articles on Cassius Clay the soul singer, Nick Cave and the Birthday Party and Daft Punk's 2013 revival of disco...

Hosted by Barney HoskynsMark Pringle and Jasper Murison-Bowie

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 14: KRS-One + Avril Lavigne + Alex Harvey with Michele Kirsch

Joined by very special guest Michele Kirsch, regular host Mark Pringle and irregular host Jasper Murison-Bowie start with classic Kirsch pieces on the Replacements, KRS-One and New York Dolls Syl Sylvain and Jerry Nolan. Michele then tells the story of how she was mistaken for an intern at New York’s Soho Weekly News, which started her on the path to NME and City Limits in '80s London. Talk then turns to her life after music journalism, including coming off prescription drugs and working as a cleaner — experiences that formed the basis of her forthcoming memoir, Clean. The week’s free feature Avril Lavigne sparks some discussion of Sk8er boys and the merits or otherwise of manufactured pop, while the sensational Alex Harvey tells tales of the early British rock’n’roll in a clip from a 1975 audio interview by Ira Robbins. Mark presents the highlights from the week’s library load, including John Mendelssohn's fabulous dismissal of the MC5, Larry Graham’s departure from Sly and the Family Stone and Quincy Jones’ pigeonhole-defying career in music.

Michele Kirsch's book Clean can be pre-ordered via Amazon.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 13: Sid Vicious does it his way + Bobbie Gentry's Delta Sweete

This week, Sid Vicious talks about the Sex Pistols splitting up and his inimitable cover of 'My Way' in clips from a previously unheard audio interview by John Tobler. RBP podcast host Mark Pringle is joined in Barney Hoskyns' absence by Jasper Murison-Bowie to listen to it and, predictably, talk about it. They contemplate Sid's sadness at the band coming to an end, as well as his endorsement of Nancy Spungen as his manager, who he thinks will take the music industry by storm. Moving on to the week's free feature, Bobbie Gentry, ahead of an upcoming reimagining of her album The Delta Sweete, they consider the meaning of 'Ode to Billy Joe' and Gentry's retirement from music after only three albums, with Mark wondering what else might have been if she hadn't. Next up are pieces by featured writer Andrew Bailey of Rolling Stone on British bluesman Alexis Korner, T. Rex's Marc Bolan and Guy Peellaert's Rock Dreams, before Mark and Jasper pick some of their highlights from the week's library load. Topics range from Cliff Bennett meeting Jerry Lee Lewis to Caroline Sullivan on the disappointing boybands of the 90s, via Cannonball Adderley on the intellectualisation of jazz, John Mendelssohn slagging off Led Zeppelin I and Van Morrison's Astral Weeks in one fell swoop, and much else besides. Finally, Mark and Jasper discuss Loyle Carner's approach to grime and London hip-hop, producer Mura Masa's difficulty at being a convincing performer and the despicable Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 12: Big Star + Prefab Sprout with special guest Jennifer Otter Bickerdike

Welcoming special guest, featured writer and hilarious raconteur Jennifer Otter Bickerdike, hosts Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns hear stories of Jennifer's days in the record business, including the time her car broke down with Kurt Cobain in it... as well as her subsequent decision to give it all up to write a PhD on Joy Division. Having moved to a rat-infested flat in London's New Cross, Jennifer's initial thought was: "My god, what have I done?" She has since gone from strength to strength as the queen of rockademia and global music ambassador for BIMM. Her books Joy Devotion and Why Vinyl Matters serve as the springboard for discussion before talk turns to her biography-in-progress of the doomed Nico. Mark, Barney and Dr. Bickerdike then listen to 1986 audio of Alex Chilton talking about cult Memphis band Big Star and about his decline into alcoholism in the mid-'70s. Barney's attempts to sing the praises of Prefab Sprout are met with unbridled disdain by both Mark and Jennifer, who shut him down in order to move on to the subjects of P. J. Proby's ripped trousers, Van Halen's David Lee Roth and much, much more...

Visit Jennifer's website at and buy Why Vinyl Matters and Joy Devotion on Amazon.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 11: The Specials + Juliana Hatfield + Dave Laing

Hailing 'Ghost Town' as "one of the great British records", RBP podcast hosts Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns consider The Specials and their politically conscious combination of punk and ska. They then pay tribute to Dave Laing and reflect on his role in the influential Let It Rock magazine, presenting pieces of Dave's on John Martyn, a Bill Monroe live show in a Scottish monastery and singer-songwriters from Jim Croce to John Denver. The week’s audio interview sees Juliana Hatfield in conversation with Ira Robbins about not wanting to get pigeonholed as the Lemonheads' bassist and her subsequent solo album Hey Babe. Beyond all of that, Mark and Barney somehow find time to discuss an early Beatles piece, get confused about Dawn James interviewing her sister Twinkle and berate Robert Fripp for his lack of self-awareness...

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 10: Earth, Wind & Fire + special guest Mark Sinker on the underground music press

Joined by special guest Mark Sinker, RBP's Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle discuss A Hidden Landscape Once A Week, an anthology on the "unruly curiosity" of the UK's music press from the late '60s to the '80s. Moving on to the week's free feature, goth-punks the Flesh Eaters and their contemporaries the Gun Club spark a discussion of the L.A. scene in the early '80s. The tres hombres then talk about Earth, Wind & Fire's metaphysical funk and the philosophical ramblings of mainman Maurice White (as heard in clips from a 1979 interview by Cliff – no relation – White). Further topics include Liverpool's legendary Cavern club, the Temptations dissing Motown, "pop's public intellectual" Brian Eno and Millie Jackson's self-proclaimed status as "one of the rudest b****** around".

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 9: The Absurdities of Bros + Kenny Rogers audio + Oz Rock

Chatting about Bros and how appallingly they come out of the After the Screaming Stops doc, RBP podcast hosts Mark & Barney agree that Matt Goss is a "grotesque parody of overweening ego". Moving seamlessly on to Kenny Rogers, the duo hear a clip from John Tobler's 1989 audio interview with the man and discuss his uneasy status as a country icon and his true roots in rhythm & blues. Your hosts then pay tribute to RAM founder/editor Anthony O'Grady, who died in December, and discuss his writing on Australian rock from AC/DC to Radio Birdman. They also consider Paul McCartney & Wings, legendary jazz drummer Elvin Jones and Ecstasy's role in the Second Summer of Love.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 8: Keith Richards on drug busts + Mick Jagger in Performance

Featuring exclusive clips of an increasingly intoxicated Keith Richards during a 2002 interview by Adam Sweeting, this week's RBP podcast could be described as a Rolling Stones special if there weren't so many other things being discussed. Lauding Keef as the band's heart and soul and asking "how has this man made it to 75", Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns wax lyrical about the brilliant Performance. Directed by the late Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell – with a Jack Nitzsche soundtrack Barney describes as one of the "creepiest, weirdest, but most mesmerising" he's ever heard, Performance sums up the transition from '60s flower power to something altogether darker and spookier, with the Stones themselves at "the centre of a vortex of social change". Other topics under consideration include Elvis Presley, the Beastie Boys, Paul Weller, Fleetwood Mac, Ice Cube and Gary Barlow's envy of of Robbie Williams...

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 7: Be-Bop Deluxe, Wu-Tang Clan + Tim Cooper on David Bowie

In this week's podcast, hear Be-Bop Deluxe's Bill Nelson reminiscing (in February 1978) with Ian Ravendale about starting bands in school and working on the Futurama album with Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker... followed by your hosts Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns discussing Staten Island hip hop collective the Wu-Tang Clan. Attention then turns to featured writer Tim Cooper and his Heathen-era interview with David Bowie. New library pieces under the spotlight include a 1962 letter to Record Mirror from Frank Sinatra fan Fred Dellar; Paul Morley's 1977 NME live review of Little Feat; the return of jazz giant Dexter Gordon; and an unsavoury encounter with the Prodigy.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 6: Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry + the birth of Americana + NYC in the 70s

Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music talks about interpreting the music of others, resents being called a country gent and loves vinyl. Your hosts Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle debate whether For Your Pleasure or Stranded is the better album, contemplate country and Americana and explore featured writer's Susin Shapiro's New York escapades, which include an interview with Patti Smith about Horses. Next, Barney and Mark consider Aretha Franklin's I Never Loved a Man, recorded at Muscle Shoals, and Joe Zawinul of Weather Report, probably their favourite 'fusion' band. Returning to New York, they reflect on New Wave in response to Robert Duncan's piece describing Television as being 'possessed of all the manners of an oyster', before rounding off with discussions of punk vs. prog, the rise of female sexuality in pop music, and the infamous Kim Fowley.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 5: Led Zeppelin + Kate Bush with special guest John Mendelssohn

Welcoming special guest and featured writer John Mendelssohn, RBP's Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle present an excerpt from an interview with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant and discuss the finer points of rock criticism with John, including the glamour of being threatened by Led Zeppelin from the stage at one of their gigs. Ahead of the publication of a new book of Kate Bush's lyrics, the three of them consider Wuthering Heights (John liked it, Barney didn't, and Mark hated it so much that he didn't listen to her music again for two decades) and discuss Mendelssohn's own book on the singer, Waiting for Kate Bush. Their guest also regales Barney and Mark with tales of finding David Bowie 'really pretty' and how 'deeply appalling' he thinks Richard Meltzer is.
Find John's own podcast at, his blog at and visit his band's website at

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 4: Etta James talks in 1978 + Marc Bolan + Willie Nelson

Etta James considers her life in RnB up to 1978—'Roll With Me Henry', Johnny Otis, Chess Records and working with Rick Hall. Your hosts Mark Pringle and Barney Hoskyns in turn consider her impact on singers from Janis Joplin to Adele and discuss featured writer Rob Partridge, raunchy and/or art-rock Royal Trux, and Jobriath. Their attentions then turn to Burl Ives, Marc Bolan and the joy of seeing Willie Nelson live, before they start disagreeing about Portishead as well as The Fugees, with Barney stubbornly refusing to be snobbish about their album The Score

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 3: Sex Pistols interview + Chic + David Hepworth

Berating "idiot" Malcolm McLaren and "poxy" Vivienne Westwood, Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious hold forth, slagging off everyone under the sun, or at least everyone they can think of, in a 1977 interview with John Tobler. RBP podcast hosts Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle do some holding forth of their own, about the Sex Pistols (naturally) but also about Chic, featured writer David Hepworth, Nico, Gene Clark and Luther Vandross. Hailing Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards as "two of the greatest players of any musical instrument in any musical medium", Barney and Mark enthuse about disco, discuss the state of electronic music in the 1980s and question whether or not music can enact political change (spoiler: it can't). 

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 2: Massive Attack + Rosanne Cash + the night Johnny Thunders died

"Massive Attack [...] bores me to tears", says Mark Pringle ahead of their 20th-anniversary tour of Mezzanine. Following some discussion of the Bristol Scene, he and Barney Hoskyns consider this week's featured writer Terry Staunton. They then present an excerpt from a 2014 interview with Roseanne Cash in which she talks to Adam Sweeting about revisiting the south of the USA, which plays at the end of the podcast. Talk then turns to Joan Baez, Steve Marriott of The Small Faces and Marianne Faithfull, the latter of which turns out to be the starting point for a conversation about addiction and drug abuse, further fuelled by Susin Shapiro's withering review of Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie

Episode 1: Freddie Mercury on Bohemian Rhapsody + Joni Mitchell + the Wu-Tang Clang

Hear an excerpt from a 1976 interview between Freddie Mercury and Robert Duncan of Creem about 'Bohemian Rhapsody' (among other things). Your hosts Barney Hoskyns and Mark Pringle then consider this week's additions to the Rock's Backpages archive, including pieces on Joni Mitchell, Lionel Richie, Randy Newman and the Rolling Stones at the height of their devilish mythology. While discussing Neil Kulkarni's rave review of Wu-Tang Clan's Forever, Barney and Mark recall the time they met Wu-Tang's U-God at San Francisco airport.

Produced by Jasper Murison-Bowie