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Episode 146 : Fred Goodman on Rock Films + D.A. Pennebaker + Burt Bacharach

13 February 2023

In this episode we welcome the exemplary Fred Goodman and ask him about his journalistic career and highly acclaimed books.

Fred talks about his early years as a jazz columnist for Cash Box, as well as his interest in the business side of popular music. He describes how a stint as a Senior Editor at Rolling Stone led to the idea of a book about "the head-on collision of rock and commerce", subsequently published as 1997's The Mansion on the Hill. Avid fans of that classic tome, Mark and Barney ask their guest about legendary figures such as Albert Grossman, David Geffen and Jon Landau, after which Fred explains why — in an effort to champion the late Mexican-American singer in her native USA — he wrote 2019's Why Lhasa de Sela Matters.

Moving on to Fred's latest book Rock On Film, conversation turns to some of his favourite music movies from A Hard Day's Night to This is Spinal Tap – with a nod to Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who wrote the foreword to Rock On Film. Clips from an audio interview with the late D.A. Pennebaker lead in turn to a discussion of 1967's Bob Dylan documentary Dont Look Back.

Not long after we've paid tribute to Television's mercurial Tom Verlaine, breaking news comes in that we've also just lost the great Burt Bacharach. Putting ourselves on the spot in real time, we talk about the genius who (with lyricist Hal David) created masterworks from 'Make it Easy on Yourself' to 'Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head'.

Finally, Mark talks us out with quotes from pieces about folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, the Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet and the late David Crosby, while Jasper concludes the episode with remarks about pieces on Keane and pop's relationship with social class.

Watch a video clip from this episode

Many thanks to special guest Fred Goodman. Rock on Film is published by Running Press and Why Lhasa De Sela Matters is published by University of Texas Press.