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Richie Unterberger

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Subject: Matt Suggs, Charlie Gillett, Great Speckled Bird (album), The Beach Boys, AllMusic
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Richie Unterberger

Richie Unterberger (2009)

Richie Unterberger (born 1962) is an American author and journalist whose focus is popular music and travel writing.

Life and writing

Having worked as a DJ at WXPN in Philadelphia, he started reviewing records for Op magazine in 1983. From 1985 to 1991, Unterberger was an editor for Option.[1]

Since 1993, he has been a prolific contributor to allmusic, the on-line database of music biographies and album reviews for which he has written thousands of entries. (Many of Unterberger's on-line contributions have also found their way into the print versions of Allmusics.) Unterberger contributes to various local and national publications, including Mojo, Record Collector, Rolling Stone, Oxford American, and No Depression. He has written liner notes to dozens of CD reissues for labels like Rhino, Collectors' Choice, and Sundazed.

Unterberger's books draw extensively upon first-hand interviews [2][3][4][5] with musicians and their associates.

Travel writing; public speaking

Unterberger has given numerous talks on music and popular culture at public libraries throughout San Francisco, Berkeley, and San Mateo County, California. He is also a speaker at area bookstores, including The Booksmith in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco.

Unterberger has also written on travel, including The Rough Guide to Seattle (1996); and is co-author of The Rough Guide to Shopping with a Conscience (2007), a book about ethical products, investment, and related topics. He has traveled to more than thirty countries, and is an advocate of independent travel and alternative culture.


His nephew, Andrew, formerly wrote for,[6] and in 2007 was part of the winning team on VH1's World Series of Pop Culture.[7] He has been a staff writer or featured contributor on a number of music or sports blogs.[8][9][10]

Selected publications

His books include:

  • 1998: Unknown Legends of Rock'n'Roll. Profiles of 60 under-appreciated cult rock artists of all styles and eras
  • 1999: The Rough Guide to Music USA. A guidebook to the evolution of regional popular music throughout America in the twentieth century
  • 2000: Urban Spacemen & Wayfaring Strangers: overlooked innovators and eccentric visionaries of '60s Rock. Another look at under-appreciated cult rock artists
  • 2002: Turn! Turn! Turn!: the '60s Folk-Rock revolution. The first part of a history of folk rock
  • 2003: Eight Miles High: Folk-Rock's flight from Haight-Ashbury to Woodstock. The second part of the author's history of folk rock
  • 2006: The Unreleased Beatles: music and film. An illustrated 400-page guide to the music the Beatles recorded but did not release, as well as musical footage of the group that hasn't been made commercially available. The Unreleased Beatles won a 2007 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.[11]
  • 2009: White Light/White Heat: the Velvet Underground day-by-day
  • 2011: Won't Get Fooled Again: The Who from Lifehouse to Quadrophenia. The book details the Who's amazing and peculiar journey in the years during which they struggled to follow up Tommy with a yet bigger and better rock opera.


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External links

  • 2002 interview with Unterberger
  • Richie Unterberger's Unknown Legends at
  • Profile at Rough Guides // // IMDb
  • SF WeeklyArticle about Richie Unterberger in the
  • The WELL interviews on Turn! Turn! Turn! // Eight Miles High // The Unreleased Beatles
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