Barney Hoskyns

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Barney Hoskyns (born 1959) is a British music critic and editorial director of the online music journalism archive Rock's Backpages.


Hoskyns graduated from Oxford with a First Class degree in English. He began writing about music for Melody Maker and New Musical Express, quitting his job as staff writer at NME to research a book about soul music. The result was Say It One Time For The Brokenhearted: Country Soul In The American South (UK: Fontana, 1987; Bloomsbury reissue 1998).

Hoskyns has written regularly on pop culture and the arts for British Vogue, where for five years he was a Contributing Editor, and for The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer and Arena magazine. He has also contributed to Harper's Bazaar, Interview magazine, Spin magazine and Rolling Stone, as well as to and CDNOW.

Between 1993 and 1999, Hoskyns worked as Associate Editor and then U.S. Editor of Mojo magazine. Faber (UK) and Simon & Schuster (US) published his Glam! Bowie, Bolan & The Glitter Rock Revolution in 1998, tying in with Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine. Haynes provided an introduction. 1999 saw the publication of the bestselling The Mullet: Hairstyle Of The Gods, written with Mark Larson and published by Bloomsbury.

In 2000, Hoskyns became Senior Editor of CDNOW in London, leaving to co-found Rock's Backpages, an online library of classic rock journalism.[1] Hoskyns edited The Sound and the Fury: A Rock’s Backpages Reader (Bloomsbury, 2003) and Ozzy Osbourne: A Rock’s Backpages Reader (Omnibus, 2004). Hoskyns’ Hotel California: Singer-Songwriters & Cocaine Cowboys In The L.A. Canyons (UK: 4th Estate/Harper Collins; US: Wiley), was published in 2005. A BBC documentary based on the book was broadcast in 2007.

In 2006, Hoskyns published his study of Led Zeppelin IV in Rodale’s Rock Of Ages series, together with a US reissue of Across The Great Divide (Hal Leonard Books). His next book on American music, Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits, was published in March 2009 by Faber and Faber.

Hoskyns' oral history of Led Zeppelin was published in 2012 as Trampled Under Foot: The Power and Excess of Led Zeppelin in the UK (Faber) and as Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Band in the US (Wiley).

Hoskyns has been a regular broadcaster and pundit on both radio and television in the UK, appearing on the Top Ten series (CHANNEL 4), the I Love The 80s/90s series (BBC 2), Walk On By (BBC 2), Behind The Music (VH1) and Classic Albums (BBC2). He was the consultant on the acclaimed 2005 series Soul Deep (BBC 2). Hoskyns’ other books include Montgomery Clift: Beautiful Loser (UK: Bloomsbury/ US: Grove, 1992), Across The Great Divide: The Band & America (UK: Viking; US: Hyperion, 1993) and the novel The Lonely Planet Boy: A Pop Romance (UK/US: Serpent’s Tail, 1995). Waiting For The Sun: Strange Days, Weird Scenes & The Sound Of Los Angeles (UK: Viking/US: St. Martin’s Press, 1996) was nominated for a Ralph J. Gleason award in the U.S. In 1997 he published Beneath the Diamond Sky: Haight-Ashbury 1965-1970.

Hoskyns' Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix & Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock was published in the spring of 2016 by Faber (UK) and Da Capo (US). MOJO reviewer Jim Farber gave it four stars and described it as "a pitch-perfect East Coast corollary to his Laurel Canyon classic Hotel California".

Personal life[edit]

Hoskyns is married to former actor and interior designer Natalie Forbes. They have five sons between them. His brother-in-law is musician Midge Ure O.B.E.


  1. ^ Interview with Barney Hoskyns in Pop Matters

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