barney hoskyns 20cm@300dpi

I’ve been a writer for almost 40 years and am the author of books such as Hotel California, Small Town Talk, Lowside of the Road and the recently-published Never Enough: A Way through Addiction (2017). Read more here…

I began writing about music in 1980 for Melody Maker and then, in 1981, for New Musical Express. For over a year I wrote the pop column in the New Statesman.

In 1985 I quit my staff job at NME to research the southern soul book that became Say It One Time for the Brokenhearted (1987), following it up with a short study of Prince called Imp of the Perverse (1988).

Subsequently I wrote books about James Dean and Montgomery Clift for Bloomsbury, then returned to music with 1991’s From a Whisper to a Scream, a love song to my favourite voices, and a biography of The Band, Across the Great Divide (1993). A short novel, The Lonely Planet Boy, was published in 1995.

My history of the L.A. music scene, Waiting for the Sun, was published in 1996 and nominated for a Ralph J. Gleason award in America. During this time I wrote regularly on pop culture and the arts for British Vogue, where for five years I was a Contributing Editor, and for The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, and The Observer.

Between 1993 and 1999 I worked as associate editor and then U.S. correspondent of MOJO, also contributing to such American publications as Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, Spin and Rolling Stone. Beneath the Diamond Sky: Haight-Ashbury 1965-1970 was published in 1997.

In 1998, Glam! Bowie, Bolan & the Glitter Rock Revolution was published to tie in with Todd Haynes’ glam film Velvet Goldmine. Haynes provided the book’s introduction and a certain David Bowie described it as “excellent”. 1999 saw the publication of the bestselling The Mullet: Hairstyle of the Gods, written with graphic designer Mark Larson.

After four years in America I returned to London, writing for GQ, Spin, MOJO, Uncut, The Guardian, The Independent and the Telegraph magazine. I also worked as a regular broadcaster and pundit on both radio and television, appearing on Walk On By (BBC2), Behind The Music (VH1), Classic Albums (BBC2), and many other programmes. I was the consultant on the acclaimed 2005 series Soul Deep (BBC2).

In 2000 I became Senior Editor at CDNOW in London, leaving a year later to co-found the online archive Rock’s Backpages with Mark Pringle and Martin Colyer. Rock’s Backpages has been acclaimed as a major archival resource by Mojo, The Guardian, Entertainment Weekly, Library Journal and many others. I edited The Sound And The Fury: A Rock’s Backpages Reader in 2003, a year that also saw the publication of Ragged Glories: City Lights, Country Funk, American Music, an anthology of pieces about my favourite American artists.

My bestselling Hotel California: Singer-Songwriters & Cocaine Cowboys in the L.A. Canyons was published in 2005. A BBC documentary based on the book was first broadcast in early 2007.

My Tom Waits biography Lowside of the Road was published in the spring of 2009. Three years later, my oral history of Led Zeppelin, Trampled Under Foot, appeared. A study of the music scene in Woodstock, Small Town Talk, was published in spring 2016.

Most recently I published Never Enough: A Way through Addiction, a short study of drugs, obsession, and spiritual awakening.

I have three sons from my first marriage and two stepsons from my second marriage to interior designer Natalie Forbes.

“Barney Hoskyns is surely the finest British rock writer of his generation.” Charlie Gillett, late author of The Sound of the City

“One of Britain’s finest rock journalists.” Mick Brown, author of Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector

“You won’t find a more affable, wry or learned helmsman than Barney Hoskyns.” David Dalton, author of Piece of My Heart: A Portrait of Janis Joplin

“Barney Hoskyns is rock’s poet of observation, a journalist with a very valuable gift for separating the nugget from the slag.” Fred Goodman, author of The Mansion on the Hill


Contact me at barney@backpages.com

Barney’s agents are Matthew Hamilton at Aitken Alexander in the UK (matthew@aitkenalexander.co.uk) and Matthew Elblonk at DeFiore & Co. in the US (matthew@defliterary.com)

10 thoughts on “About

  1. Having just finished Never Enough, I wanted to tell you what a profound impression your words left on me. At times it was as though you had interrogated my own soul to bring realisations, and a sense of understanding, that I might never have arrived upon alone.

    Thank you, truly, for your honesty and for your articulate observations on addiction. I hope, and am sure that, a great many people will find solace in your work.


  2. Small Town Talk….What a great great read. This is one the best music reads I have read in ages. It follows my completion of Robbie Robertson’s book,Testimony so, good timing.
    You certainly have a knack for keeping the reader engaged. I felt like I was there. Thanks for great read. I am a fan for more of your works…Rich O


  3. Good Morning. If, by any chance, you were looking for something to do, I always thought that it would be great for someone from the outside to compile a history of rock ‘n’ roll and rock music behind the iron curtain. Some of the bands and musicians were fantastic and would be household names today, if they were born a couple of hundred miles to the west. But unfortunately, most of those who were there during the classic era are dead by now…


  4. Hi Barney , I am a few days older than yourself, I have enjoyed your books and must say , the interviews you partook with , Danny Hutton, Van Dyke Parks, Rodney Bingenheimer , Nick Kent were particularly enjoyable for me
    Best wishes and Many Thanks
    Kevin Houlihan


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