Music Journalism A-Z – Lenny Kaye

Lenny-KayeLenny Kaye

Many people know Lenny Kaye as a guitarist and composer with the Patti Smith Group.  I have seen him play with Patti Smith four or five times in the past few years. I love his style and his gentle enthusiasm.

Lenny Kaye is lesser known but greatly respected as a music journalist. He has a powerful writing command  that makes him one of America’s leading music analysts and interpreters.

Lenny began by writing reviews for Jazz and Pop magazine. He later branched out to foundation rock magazines like FusionCrawdaddy and Rolling Stone. He next became the music editor for Cavalier, a gentlemen’s magazine.where he authored a monthly column until 1975.

He then decided to become a free-lance writer where he would a wrote for hire with a range of publications that included Melody Maker and CREEM. Again he served in an editor role for music monthly magazines like Rock Scene and Hit Parader through the seventies.

Lenny Kaye is the co-author of  the autobiography, Waylon, The Life Story of Waylon Jennings written with the late Waylon Jennings.

Lenny Kaye has written with an authoritative sense about several defining periods in the history of music.

One literature work that represents his history/analysis writing skills is You Call It Madness: The Sensuous Song of the Croon. This book  highlights the age of crooning in early 1930s New York City. The book centers on Russ Columbo, known as Bing Crosby’s rival. Lenny Kaye as a Columbo enthusiast offers the reader a scrapbook research title accompanied by many rare photographs and memorabilia from his own collection.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Nuggets about the first psychedelic era which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. Lenny Kaye wrote the liner notes and helped assemble the collection with Jac Holzman of Elektra Records fame. I purchased that edition for Lenny Kaye to autograph for me someday in the future 😉


You can find monthly writing contributions from Lenny Kaye at e-Music where he writes for them today. Here are some of his 2012 writing efforts.

Delve into the catalog of Jamie Records and their associated labels, covering everything from Duane Eddy to the Fantastic Johnny C.
Visit Nico at her resting place and think of how she remains with us still and evermore.
Celebrate Johnny Cash and his walk o’ the line.
Muse on the life and art of Chet Baker, he of the mournful trumpet and romantic song.
58 Lambert Drive, Milford, CT

2 Replies to “Music Journalism A-Z – Lenny Kaye”

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.