Home Rock in the
Golden Age
The Myspace
Page
Who am I? Links &
Notes
Contact me



Wild tales of the golden age of rock by a reporter who was in the middle of it


I'm Mike Jahn, first rock critic of The New York Times and an award-winning author, reporter, critic, syndicated columnist and cultural commentator who was in the center of the golden age of rock and in the company of its biggest stars. I knew and wrote about Janis, Jim, Jimi, and John, and many others.

I'm not the only newsman in my family. We have been reporting on and active in American public affairs and the arts for three-quarters of a century. As a reporter for the legendary Brooklyn Eagle, my father covered the Hindenberg Disaster, the Lindberg Kidnapping, and Hitler's attempt to establish the Nazi Party in America. My son grew up surrounded by speakers and now is a rock marketing wizard.

I introduced major American media to serious coverage of rock, not only in The Times but also more than 100 newspapers across the land. I covered Woodstock and wrote about and often hung with classic rock's heroes and villains. I was friendly with some, and not so friendly with others. Occasionally I took pictures, such as that one of John Lennon at his first American recording session.

Too often I wrote their obituaries. Among other things, I:



Put Jim Morrison on the floor by shaking his hand too hard
Was mentioned by name in Morrison's Rolling Stone obituary
Was accused by John Lennon of conspiring with the CIA to get him deported
Was accused of having been with Janis Joplin the night she died
Polished off a bottle of Hennessy in the back of a limo with Rod Stewart
Helped hide Pete Townsend from the law after he threw a fire marshall off stage


Just over 35 years have passed since I first wrote about rock and what it means to you, me, and the world. During some of that time, I took a break from rock writing to develop a second career as an author of mystery and suspense novels. (Nearly all of them have rock aspects; name me one other mystery writer whose detective sings Tom Waits songs and quotes Leonard Cohen.) When I wasn't writing about rock I listened, kept playing (acoustic six-string and, more recently, blues harp), replaced vinyl with CDs, blew out several sets of speakers, and infuriated any number of neighbors.

Why am I suddenly interested in my ancient rock writing? First and foremost, rock is fun, it's important, the soundtrack of several generations. Second, why the hell not? My old rock reviews are pieces of rock history and are all over the Web anyway, posted by fans and bands. Third, a few years ago my rocker son and daughter-in-law were part of the Flaming Lips' stage act, dressed as giant bunnies; I like keeping them company, so in September of 2006 I was a dancing Santa onstage at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. So was my son. To me, this is a unique form of father-son bonding—dancing onstage with the Flaming Lips dressed as Santas. Fourth, major media, especially American newspapers and magazines, have few writers who have seen rock from its very beginning in 1954. That's when I caught Alan Freed's Cleveland rock and roll show on short wave radio, a kid laying in a New York bed wondering what new and wonderful stuff that was.

So I bought a scanner, pulled a three-foot-high stack of newspaper clips out of the closet, slipped some disks onto the burner, and here I am. Read on and enjoy my classic reviews and stories. I'll add to the list as I can.

I'm not making money from this site. I'm having fun. I think you will, too.


Home Rock in the
Golden Age
The Myspace
Page
Who am I? Links &
Notes
Contact me

Counter
Hosting by WebRing.