Remembering John Swenson

1950-March 27, 2022

A tribute to the music historian

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Journalist and music writer John Swenson passed away on March 27, 2022 at the age of 71.

He was born in 1950, beginning his writing career in 1967.

Swenson was an important rock journalist, working as an editor at Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone, Circus and Rock World and being a syndicated music columnist for UPI and Reuters for more than 20 years.

He authored 14 books including biographies of Bill Haley, the Who, Stevie Wonder and the Eagles, co-editing the Rolling Stone Record Guide, and editing the Rolling Stone Jazz And Blues Album Guide.

Swenson was also a sportswriter who covered horse racing for the Daily Racing Form and the New York Post, and covered the New York Rangers for 30 years.

In his later years, he lived in New Orleans and wrote about jazz as a contributing writer and editor for Offbeat; his 2011 book New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans is about the New Orleans music scene after Hurricane Katrina.

Here is an insightful and informative interview that Ken McCarthy conducted with John Swenson.

-Scott Yanow


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