Music

'I like upsetting people': Steven Wilson interviewed

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Michael Hann talks to the cult rock star Steven Wilson about why it’s harder to write a pop song than prog

From ancient Greece to TikTok: a short history of the sea shanty

6 February 2021 9:00 am

From ancient Greece to TikTok: Alexandra Coghlan on the pulling power of shanties

Will Britain’s orchestras survive the Brexit exodus?

30 January 2021 9:00 am

Will Britain’s orchestras survive the Brexit exodus?

'We knew there was greatness in these songs': Steve Diggle of the Buzzcocks interviewed

16 January 2021 9:00 am

Graeme Thomson talks to Steve Diggle, front man of Buzzcocks, about orgasms, boredom and Pete Shelley

'You can't have opinions any more': Rick Wakeman interviewed

19 December 2020 9:00 am

Rod Liddle talks to Rick Wakeman about lockdown, the Sex Pistols, and how you can’t have opinions any more

Why AI will never write a great song

19 December 2020 9:00 am

Two years ago, the songwriter Nick Cave told his fans that he’d speak to them directly — not through an…

Mick Fleetwood: Why Peter Green was the greatest guitarist

19 December 2020 9:00 am

In a normal week, I would jam with local musicians, but that stopped in March and we musicians miss the…

Jonathan Biss: The sadness and euphoria of playing to an empty room

19 December 2020 9:00 am

My November was bookended by two characteristic displays of grace. I ushered it in by falling on all fours while…

Mozart the infant prodigy was also a child of the Enlightenment

19 December 2020 9:00 am

‘My dear young man: don’t take it too hard,’ Joseph II counsels a puppyish Mozart, the colour of his hair…

Is any song more lucrative than ‘Happy Birthday’?

12 December 2020 9:00 am

Last orders The new tier restrictions have made life difficult for pubs. How many are closed? — According to the…

You won’t be able to look away: Shirley reviewed

31 October 2020 9:00 am

This week, two electrifying performances in two excellent films rather than two mediocre performances in the one mediocre film —…

The dazzling, devious, doomed sound of James Booker

10 October 2020 9:00 am

Dr John called James Booker ‘the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced’. Booker died…

The joy of an illegal rave

22 August 2020 9:00 am

Every time I read that Britain’s anti-coronavirus measures are being jeopardised by a ‘small minority of senseless individuals’ holding illegal…

Young people have never paid attention to the BBC

25 July 2020 9:00 am

In January, the director-general of the BBC, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, announced that the corporation intended to shift away from…

The problem with livestreaming heavy metal? No moshpits

25 July 2020 9:00 am

There was only so long anyone could put up with the live musical performances of the early days of lockdown:…

SOS: Save our singers

11 July 2020 9:00 am

‘Musician’ is how I described myself to the nice Latvian lady interviewing me the other week for an ONS survey…

The festivalisation of TV

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Televising Glastonbury has changed the festival, and in turn transformed television, says Graeme Thomson

The power of cheap music: pop podcast round-up

13 June 2020 9:00 am

Noël Coward was so right that his words have become a cliché: it is indeed extraordinary how potent cheap music…

Privatisation is the best option for the South Bank Centre

6 June 2020 9:00 am

I must have written about this subject 100 times in 30 years and I’m still having to restate the bloody…

Dion, one of the last living links to the earliest days of rock ’n’ roll

30 May 2020 9:00 am

He toured with Little Richard, sang with Van Morrison, inspired the Beatles and Paul Simon. Graeme Thomson talks to Dion, one of the last living links to the early days of street-corner rock ’n’ roll

One of the more disturbing films I’ve seen: Arena’s The Changin’ Times of Ike White reviewed

23 May 2020 9:00 am

Arena: The Changin’ Times of Ike White (Monday) had an extraordinary story to tell — but one that, halfway through…

Joyous and very, very funny: Beastie Boys Story reviewed

16 May 2020 9:00 am

The music of the Beastie Boys was entirely an expression of their personalities, a chance to delightedly splurge out on…

You’re not special – just ask Google

16 May 2020 9:00 am

My research assistant, John Steele, is also a songwriter. A friend emailed him with the lyrics of a Fleetwood Mac…

Beautiful voice, pretentious album: Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters reviewed

9 May 2020 9:00 am

Grade: C+ Where did they all come from, the quirky yet meaningful rock chicks who don’t have a decent song…

From Middlemarch to Mickey Mouse: a short history of The Spectator’s books and arts pages

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

The Spectator arts and books pages have spent 10,000 issues identifying the dominant cultural phenomena of the day and being difficult about them, says Richard Bratby