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Episode 147 : Ellen Sander on rock life in the sixties + Robert Palmer audio

27 February 2023

In this episode we welcome pioneering '60s rock writer Ellen Sander and invite her to discuss her classic 1973 book Trips: Rock Life in the Sixties, reissued in an "augmented" edition in 2019.

Ellen recalls her New York upbringing and initiation into the folk scene in Greenwich Village, then explains how Danny Fields (episode 28) steered her towards writing for Sing Out! and Hullabaloo. With references to David Crosby, David Geffen, Abbie Hoffman and the Monterey Pop festival, she talks about the inextricable relationship between '60s music and the decade's political upheavals. We also hear about her 1968 article on groupies; her troubling experiences on the road with Led Zeppelin; and her relationship with Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman (father of her son Marin), all of which led to the writing of Trips.

Attention then turns to two clips from the week's new audio interview, in which suave Yorkshire-born rock'n'soul man Robert Palmer talks about his love of bossa nova and the fun he had on the sessions for 1974's Sneakin' Sally through the Alley with Little Feat's Lowell George.

After Mark quotes from new library interviews with the Beatles (1963), B.B. King (1968), and Simpsons creator Matt Groening (1993), Barney cites an early Steely Dan piece from 1973 and Jasper recommends articles about emo stars Paramore (2010), Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor (2014) and – from 2016 – jazz hybridiser Jacob Collier.

Watch a video clip from this episode

Many thanks to special guest Ellen SanderTrips: Rock Life in the Sixties is published by Dover and available now.