Alan Light

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Alan Light
Born c. 1966 (age 49–50)
Occupation Journalist, author, editor
Citizenship United States
Alma mater Yale University
Subject Music
Years active 1990–present

Alan Light (born August 4, 1966)[1][2] is an American journalist who has been a rock critic for Rolling Stone and the editor-in-chief for both Vibe and Spin.[3]

Early life[edit]

Light grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he attended Cincinnati Country Day School. His mother was a dance reviewer for the local newspaper. He graduated from Yale University in 1988, majoring in American Studies, and wrote his senior thesis on Licensed to Ill by the Beastie Boys.[4]


Light had been an intern at Rolling Stone during their 20th anniversary year while still a student.[1] He later joined the staff as a fact checker in 1989, becoming a senior writer in 1990.[1][5] In 1993, he became the founding music editor of Vibe magazine, becoming editor-in-chief in 1994.[5] In 1999 he became editor-in-chief for Spin magazine.[6] He left Spin in March 2002.[7] He then worked as music reviewer on radio station WFUV, and served as music correspondent on NPR show Weekend America.[7] He writes regularly for The New York Times.[8]

Light has worked as consultant for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.[7] He was a judge for the 4th Annual Independent Music Awards in 2005,[9] and subsequently for the 11th, 12th and 13th Annual Independent Music Awards.

Light has also been involved in assisting homeless people with the Housing Works AIDS charity.[1][10]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Tupac Amaru Shakur: 1971–1996 (with Quincy Jones), 1998
  • The Vibe History of Hip Hop, 1999
  • The Skills to Pay the Bills: The Story of the Beastie Boys, 2006
  • My Cross To Bear (by Gregg Allman, with Alan Light), 2012[2]
  • The Holy or the Broken – Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of 'Hallelujah', 2012[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Maniaci, Paul (August 27, 2006). "Alan Light Music Journalist". Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Kaminer, Michael (August 15, 2012). "Gregg Allman's Ghost Writer". The Jewish Daily Forward. Archived from the original on May 11, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ Inoue, Todd (April 18, 2002). "Licensed to Edit". Metroactive Arts. Archived from the original on September 30, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  4. ^ Arzoian, Rebecca (November 17, 2006). "Alum Light tops music mag world". Yale Daily News. Archived from the original on May 12, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Light, Alan". Contemporary Authors. January 1, 2007. Retrieved August 20, 2014. During early career, worked as a freelancer, as a fact checker for periodicals Village Voice and 7 Days in New York, NY; Rolling Stone (music magazine), senior writer, 1990–93; Vibe (music magazine), founding music editor, 1993, editor in chief, 1994–97; Spin (music magazine), editor, beginning 1999; cofounder and editor in chief, Tracks Magazine. 
  6. ^ Ward, Steven; Woods, Scott. "Still Able to See the Light – Spin Editor Defines His Territory". Archived from the original on December 5, 2004. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Alan Light". Center for Communication. 2006. Archived from the original on July 2, 2009. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (December 9, 2012). "Time Passes, but a Song's Time Doesn't – 'The Holy or the Broken' by Alan Light". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 31, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ "4th Annual Judges". Independent Music Awards. Archived from the original on November 12, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Community Story: Alan Light, Board Cochair, Housing Works Bookstore Café". Housing Works. Archived from the original on December 12, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2009. 

External links[edit]