Nik Cohn  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Nik Cohn, also written Nick Cohn (born 1946), is a British writer, author of Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom (1969) and Rock Dreams (1973).

Life and career

Cohn was born in London, England and brought up in Derry, in Northern Ireland, the son of historian Norman Cohn and Russian writer Vera Broido. An incomer to the tight knit town, he spent most of his time at the local record shop and the walk there, from his home on campus at Magee University College, inspired one of his earliest stories, 'Delinquent in Derry'. He left the city to attend the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne in England then moved to London.

Cohn is considered by some critics to be a father of rock criticism, thanks to his columns in Queen and his first major book Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom, first published in 1969. Cohn has since published articles, novels and music books regularly.

When reviewing a rough mix of the Who's rock opera Tommy, he told the group members that the album lacked a hit single. Hearing this, Pete Townshend decided to take the song "Pinball Wizard," which he had already written knowing that Cohn was a fan of pinball, and incorporate it into the rock opera. Cohn also panned The Beatles and Abbey Road upon their release in reviews for The New York Times.

He wrote the 1976 New York article "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night", which was the source material for the movie Saturday Night Fever.

In 1996, Cohn revealed the article to have been a complete fabrication, based only on clubgoers he knew from his native England. In the early 1980s, he was indicted on drug trafficking charges for importing $4 million worth of Indian heroin. He refused to give testimony and the trafficking charges were subsequently dropped. Instead, he was given five years' probation and fined $5,000 for possession.

Cohn was a columnist for The Guardian in the mid- to late 1990s as he researched his book on the underbelly of England, Yes We Have No: Adventures in the Other England. He is also a regular contributor to Granta. In 2016, Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom was listed by The Guardian 's Robert McCrum as one of the "100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time." It and The Heart of the World were subsequently reissued by Penguin UK's Vintage Classics imprint.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nik Cohn" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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