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Robert Hilburn (born September 25, 1939) is a pop music critic and author. As critic and music editor of the Los Angeles Times from 1970 to 2005, his reviews, essays and profiles have appeared in hundreds of publications around the world.  Hilburn reflects on those years in a memoir, “Corn Flakes with John Lennon (And Other Tales from a Rock ‘n’ Roll Life),” which was published on Oct. 13, 2009 by Rodale.  He is a member of the nominating committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and lives in Los Angeles.
Born in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and lived until he was 5 mostly on his grandfather’s cotton plantation in nearby Campti. During those years and when visiting his grandparents in later summers, he was exposed to the blues and country music styles that eventually gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll. After a few years in Dallas, Texas, he moved with his family to Southern California, where he graduated from Reseda High School in 1957 and California State University, Northridge (journalism degree) in 1961. His first musical hero was Elvis Presley. He worked as a news reporter on a suburban Los Angeles newspaper (the Valley Times TODAY) for two years, but tired of journalism and became a public information officer for the Los Angeles Unified School District in the mid-1960s. While there he began missing writing around the same time he fell in love with the work of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Eager to write about music, Hilburn did a series of freelance pieces on such figures as Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin for the Los Angeles Times before being hired full-time by the paper.
The Los Angeles Times
Hilburn began working at the Lost Angeles Times in 1969. While at the Times, Hilburn accompanied several notable artists on tour, such as Johnny Cash for his landmark Folsom Prison concert, Elton John's inaugural visit to Russia, Paul Simon's “Graceland” tour stop in Zimbabwe, and Bob Dylan's first concert swing through Israel. He also spent a week on the road with the Sex Pistols during their first U.S. tour. At the Times, Hilburn wrote favorably about new pop culture movements as punk, techno, and rap.
Later work and personal life
Hilburn published a biography of Bruce Springsteen in 1985 as one in a series of Rolling Stone Press books. Hilburn left the Los Angeles Times in 2005. He published “Corn Flakes with John Lennon” focusing on the work and influence of John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Phil Spector, Michael Jackson, U2, Kurt Cobain and N.W.A.
Hiburn is married and lives in Los Angeles.
- Kinchen, David (November 3, 2013). "BOOK REVIEW: 'Johnny Cash': Meticulous Attention to Facts Sets Robert Hilburn's Biography Apart". Huntington News. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
- Hilburn, Robert (2009). Corn flakes with John Lennon and other tales from a rock n' roll life. New York, New York: Rodale. ISBN 9781605291659.
- Hilburn, Robert (2013). Johnny Cash: The Life (Deckle Edge). New York, New York: Little Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-19475-4.
- Hilburn’s biography, Los Angeles Times