Lloyd Price is the only artist I remember who hired a major New York public relations firm to lobby for his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It worked. He was inducted in 1998.

Oh, okay, he very likely would have been inducted anyhow, because Price, who died Thursday at the age of 88, was more important than most rock ’n’ roll history tells us.

Hiring a lobbyist wasn’t self-delusion. It was more like moving perception into line with achievement.

If he had done nothing else, Lloyd Price’s 1958 version of the folk ballad “Stagger Lee” would…


The possibly apocryphal story goes that when Sam Phillips of Sun Records asked a young walk-in named Elvis Presley who he sounded like, the kid answered, “I don’t sound like nobody.”

For most singers, that would have been a lie. For Elvis, it wasn’t. In the radio biz, it wouldn’t have been a lie for Bob Fass.

Bob Fass interviewing Abbie Hoffman.

Fass, who died Saturday of Covid-19 complications at the age of 87, was for decades the host of an overnight show called Radio Unnameable on WBAI (99.5 FM) in New York. …


The strangest thing happened this week. For one brief shining moment, the rich didn’t get richer.

It’s a complicated story and it happened in the European soccer world, so it didn’t get a lot of attention on the American side of the pond.

Nonetheless, it’s worth noting, because in this golden age of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and extreme capitalism, it’s what we newspaper old-timers used to call a man-bites-dog story.

Not the response the new league’s founders had hoped for.

To oversimplify, the best and richest soccer teams in Europe and Britain got together to form what they modestly called a Super League.

The idea…


I enjoy enough Jim Steinman songs that I’m probably on the borderline between harmless guilty pleasure and the need for an intervention.

Jim Steinman talking on Youtube.

Steinman, who died Monday at the age of 73, wrote songs with really long titles like “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” and “Loving You is a Dirty Job But Someone’s Gotta Do It.” He wrote lots of them and they were pretty much all frenzied, with bombastic production that showcased swelling choruses and over-the-top vocals.

If Phil Spector created the Wall of Sound, Steinman jacked it up into the Great Wall of China.


I never met Mark Mitchell, so it’s fair to say I didn’t know him. But in a way, I kinda did. Welcome to the radio game.

Mark Mitchell, “Double M.”

Mark Mitchell, one of two on-air names used by Mark Wurzburger during a long career in radio, was for the last four years the morning host on my local radio station, WMTR-AM (1250 AM). He had been off the air since February, and last week he passed away from cancer.

His friends at the station, and others who did know him, say he was one of the good guys. They will be offering more…


I have finally found something to chat about with Bob Dylan or Paul Simon when we find ourselves waiting in line together at Trader Joe’s.

I figure they’re sick of people saying, “Oh, you’re Bob Dylan!” Or “Oh, you’re Paul Simon!” As if this comes as news to them.

And much as I love “The Boxer” and “Visions of Johanna,” I’m pretty sure that saying “I’m a big fan” won’t open the conversational door.

But I think I’ve found the common ground that will.

Decluttering.

Simplifying our lives. Getting rid of Stuff.

It’s perfect.

Just recently I went to Goodwill…


You wouldn’t say that World War II is public television’s happy place. You can say it seeded many notable programs for PBS, and two more arrive this Sunday.

Sofia Helin and Kyle MacLachlan in ‘Atlantic Crossing.’

Atlantic Crossing, an eight-part Norwegian series that airs at 9 p.m. ET on Masterpiece, dramatizes the real-life wartime relationship between Crown Princess Martha of Norway and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The first four episodes will be preceded at 8 p.m. ET by the British documentary series My Grandparents’ War, in which four well-known actors — with a lot of help from researchers and experts — dig into the details of their…


One of my first newspaper jobs, in the early 1970s, was editing copy on the night desk at the Daily Record in the small municipality of Morristown, New Jersey.

My shift ended around 3 a.m., at which time I would walk the half mile home to my apartment.

It was a pleasant walk, lit by the moon and a few street lamps and interrupted only by the occasional car tending, as was I, to the business of the night.

At the corner of Coal Avenue I passed an old wooden house with a sign that said “Ice.” I didn’t know…


And so a TV week that began with a series on Aretha Franklin wraps up with a documentary on Tina Turner.

It must be force-of-nature week on cable television.

Tina with her backup singers.

Tina, a two-hour straight documentary, premieres Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on HBO, and while Tina and Aretha were different singers with different stories, it’s hard not to notice a similarity or two.

That starts with their sheer power as musical performers. It also has to include the fact that Turner, like Franklin, had to break away from a dominating and sometimes abusive man.

Ike Turner was Tina’s musical partner as…


Nat Geo’s exhaustive bio-pic on Aretha Franklin suggests it may have been more fun to listen to the Queen of Soul than to be the Queen of Soul.

And you definitely did not want to set your moral compass by The Rev. C.L. Franklin, Aretha’s famous preacher father.

Cynthia Erivo as Aretha.

Those points are explored and illustrated at length in Genius: Aretha Franklin, which runs eight parts and premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. Nat Geo will air two episodes a night through Wednesday.

That’s a lot of Aretha, and while her music and her story warrant extensive examination, the sheer length and…

David Hinckley

David Hinckley wrote for the New York Daily News for 35 years. Now he drives his wife crazy by randomly quoting Bob Dylan and “Casablanca.”

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store