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Alan Light

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Alan Light
Born (1966-08-04) August 4, 1966 (age 57)
OccupationJournalist, author, editor
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materYale University
Years active1990–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 Vibe, Spin, and Tracks.[3][4]

Early life


Light grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he attended Cincinnati Country Day School. His mother was a dance reviewer for the local newspaper. His father, Dr. Irwin Light, was a neotologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. He graduated from Yale University in 1988, majoring in American Studies, and wrote his senior thesis on Licensed to Ill by the Beastie Boys.[5]



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][6] In 1993, he became the founding music editor of Vibe magazine, becoming editor-in-chief in 1994.[6] In 1999 he became editor-in-chief for Spin magazine.[7] He left Spin in March 2002[8] and founded the music magazine Tracks in 2003.[4] He then worked as music reviewer on radio station WFUV, and served as music correspondent on NPR show Weekend America.[8] He writes regularly for The New York Times.[9]

Light has worked as consultant for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.[8] He was a judge for the 4th Annual Independent Music Awards in 2005,[10] and subsequently for the 11th, 12th and 13th Annual Independent Music Awards. Starting in October 2016 Light is one of the mainstay hosts of the newly created Volume music talk channel on Sirius XM on the afternoon show Debatable.

Light has also been involved in assisting homeless people with the Housing Works AIDS charity.[1][11]

After publication of his 2012 book The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & the Unlikely Ascent of 'Hallelujah, Light served as consulting producer for the 2022 film Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song.[12]

Selected bibliography



  1. ^ a b c d Maniaci, Paul (August 27, 2006). "Alan Light Music Journalist". TheCareerCookbook.com. 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. ^ a b "New music magazine's grown-up appeal could be a hit". archive.boston.com. Retrieved 2024-03-01.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ a b "Light, Alan". Contemporary Authors. January 1, 2007. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. 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.
  7. ^ Ward, Steven; Woods, Scott. "Still Able to See the Light – Spin Editor Defines His Territory". RockCritics.com. Archived from the original on December 5, 2004. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "Alan Light". Center for Communication. 2006. Archived from the original on July 2, 2009. Retrieved July 2, 2009.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "4th Annual Judges". Independent Music Awards. Archived from the original on November 12, 2015. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  11. ^ "Community Story: Alan Light, Board Cochair, Housing Works Bookstore Café". Housing Works. Archived from the original on December 12, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
  12. ^ Chiu, David (July 9, 2022). "Leonard Cohen's Enduring "Hallelujah" Celebrated In New Film". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 9, 2022.