BIOGRAPHY – Dave Marsh 1.01
Dave Marsh, rock critic, historian, anticensorship activist, talk show host, and “Louie Louie” expert, has written more than 20 books about rock and popular music, as well as editing that many more. He co-founded and for four years edited Creem, the legendary rock and roll magazine that helped launch heavy metal, glam and punk, and spent five years as an associate and contributing editor of Rolling Stone, where he was chief music critic, columnist and feature writer. From 1985-2002, he served as music critic for Playboy.
For the past 25 years, Marsh has written and edited the monthly music and politics newsletter, Rock and Rap Confidential. He has lectured widely on music, politics, and censorship. As a book editor, he compiled 50 Ways to Fight Censorship (Thunder’s Mouth, 1990), and was coeditor with Don Henley of Heaven Is Under Our Feet: A Book for Walden Woods (Longmeadow Press, 1991), essays in honor of Walden Woods and Henry David Thoreau. Marsh also edited the first two editions of The Rolling Stone Record Guide, and Pastures of Plenty, the papers of folksinger Woody Guthrie.
In 2004, Marsh began hosting Kick Out the Jams, a weekly two hour radio talk show about music and social and political issues on the Sirius Satellite Network. In 2008, he began hosting Live from the Land of Hopes and Dreams, a politically based call-in show on Sirius. The following year, he added Live from E Street Nation, a weekly live dialogue with Springsteen fans.
The nineteen-year-old Marsh dropped out of Detroit’s Wayne State University to edit Creem in 1969. He departed in 1973 to become Newsday’s pop music critic, spent a short spell as music editor of The Real Paper, returned to Newsday, and in 1975, joined Rolling Stone as chief reviewer, feature writer and columnist. He and several others started Rock and Rap (then Rock and Roll) Confidential in 1983. (Marsh edited an anthology of material from the newsletter, The First Rock and Roll Confidential Report, in 1985.) From 1987 to 1992, Marsh served as acerbic rock critic for the weekly syndicated radio program, “Rock Today.”
Marsh’s first book, Born to Run: The Bruce Springsteen Story (Doubleday) was published in 1979. It made the New York Times best-seller list. He has also written Trapped: Michael Jackson and the Crossover Dream (Bantam, 1986), Before I Get Old: The Story of the Who (St. Martin’s Press, 1983), Elvis (Times Books, 1982; Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1992), The Book of Rock Lists (Dell, 1980), Sun City: The Making of the Record (Penguin, 1985), Rocktopicon (Contemporary, 1982), and Fortunate Son, a collection of his journalism and criticism (Random House, 1983). Glory Days: Bruce Springsteen in the 1980s, a sequel to Born to Run, appeared in 1987, and became a national hardcover bestseller. (In 2003, Routledge published Born to Run and Glory Days in a single volume with an epilogue, titled Two Hearts.) In 2005, he wrote the 40,000 word text for Bruce Springsteen On Tour.
The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (Plume/NAL, 1989) remains the world’s lengthiest act of rock criticism; Louie Louie: The History and Mythology of the World’s Most Famous Rock’n’Roll song; Including the Full Details of Its Torture and Persecution at the Hands of the Kingsmen, J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I., and a Cast of Millions; and Introducing, for the First Time Anywhere, the Actual Dirty Lyrics (Hyperion, 1992), may be the strangest.
Marsh’s other books include Merry Christmas Baby: Holiday Music from Bing to Sting (Little Brown, 1992), cowritten with Steve Propes, The New Book of Rock Lists, created with James Bernard, Forever Young (Da Capo, 2004) based on the photographs taken of Bob Dylan in 1964 by Douglas Gilbert; and, as general editor, Mid-Life Confidential: The Rock Bottom Remainders Tour America with Three Chords and an Attitude (Viking), a book about the experiences of the all-author rock band featuring Stephen King, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Barbara Kingsolver, and Marsh, among others; and The Great Rock’n’Roll Joke Book (St. Martin’s Press, 1997). He also edited the oral history series, For the Record for Avon Books, and wrote the first of its nine volumes with Sam Moore of Sam and Dave.
Marsh’s most recent book is The Beatles Second Album (Rodale, 2007),
He is currently writing a book about why American Idol is evil, and completing a long-term project, O Freedom!, the history of music and the Southern civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
Marsh lives in Connecticut with his wife, Barbara Carr, and two cocker spaniels. He serves as a trustee of the Kristen Ann Carr Fund, which funds sarcoma research and services for teenagers and young adults with cancer, named in honor of his late daughter. He is also a board member of the North American Alliance for Folk Music and Dance; Ribbon of Highway, a Woody Guthrie tribute troupe; and serves on the National Advisory Board of PROTECT, the National Association to Protect Children, dedicated to effective child protection and anti-crime policy.