Barney Hoskyns began writing about music for MELODY MAKER and NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS after leaving Oxford University in 1980. In 1985, he quit his job as staff writer at NME to research a book about soul music. The result was SAY IT ONE TIME FOR THE BROKENHEARTED (UK: Fontana, 1987; Bloomsbury reissue 1998).
Hoskyns’ other books include JAMES DEAN: SHOOTING STAR (UK: Bloomsbury/ US: Doubleday, 1989), MONTGOMERY CLIFT: BEAUTIFUL LOSER (UK: Bloomsbury/ US: Grove, 1992), ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE: THE BAND AND AMERICA (UK: Viking/US: Hyperion, 1993) and the novel THE LONELY PLANET BOY: A POP ROMANCE (UK/US: Serpent’s Tail, 1995). His WAITING FOR THE SUN: STRANGE DAYS, WEIRD SCENES & THE SOUND OF LOS ANGELES (UK: Viking/US: St. Martin’s Press, 1996) was nominated for a Ralph J. Gleason award in the U.S.
Aside from his books, Hoskyns has written regularly on pop culture and the arts for British VOGUE, where for five years he was a Contributing Editor, and for THE TIMES, THE GUARDIAN, THE INDEPENDENT, THE OBSERVER and ARENA. Between 1993 and 1999, Hoskyns worked as ASSOCIATE EDITOR and then U.S. BUREAU CHIEF of MOJO, simultaneously contributing to such American publications as HARPER'S BAZAAR, INTERVIEW, SPIN and ROLLING STONE, as well as to AMAZON and CDNOW. In 1998, Faber (UK) and Simon & Schuster (US) published his GLAM! BOWIE, BOLAN & THE GLITTER ROCK REVOLUTION, tying in with Todd Haynes’ VELVET GOLDMINE. Haynes provided an introduction. 1999 saw the publication of the bestselling THE MULLET: HAIRSTYLE OF THE GODS, written with Mark Larson and published by Bloomsbury.
After four years in America, Hoskyns returned to London, writing for GQ (U.S.), SPIN (U.S.), REVOLVER (U.S.), MOJO, THE GUARDIAN, THE INDEPENDENT and the TELEGRAPH magazine. He is a regular broadcaster and pundit on both radio and television, appearing on The TOP TEN series (CHANNEL 4), The I LOVE THE 80s/90s series (BBC 2), WALK ON BY (BBC 2), BEHIND THE MUSIC (VH1) and CLASSIC ALBUMS (BBC2).
In 2000 Barney became Senior Editor of CDNOW in London, leaving to set up Rock’s Backpages. RBP has been acclaimed as a major archival resource by MOJO, THE GUARDIAN, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY and many others. Barney recently edited THE SOUND AND THE FURY: A ROCK’S BACKPAGES READER.
2003 saw updated reissues of WAITING FOR THE SUN (Bloomsbury) and ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE (Pimlico), together with the collection RAGGED GLORIES: CITY LIGHTS, COUNTRY FUNK, AMERICAN MUSIC (Pimlico). Barney's latest book, HOTEL CALIFORNIA: SINGER-SONGWRITERS & COCAINE COWBOYS IN THE L.A. CANYONS, is published in the UK by Fourth Estate and in the US by John Wiley & Sons. An accompanying CD, BACK TO CALIFORNIA, is available on Rhino.
Hoskyns' acclaimed biography of Tom Waits, LOWSIDE OF THE ROAD (2009), is published by Faber in the UK and Broadway/Random House in the US. TRAMPLED UNDER FOOT: THE POWER & EXCESS OF LED ZEPPELIN is published by Faber in September 2012.
Hoskyns' SMALL TOWN TALK, about the music scene in and around Woodstock and Bearsville in the era of Bob Dylan's manager Albert Grossman, is published in March 2016 by Faber in the UK and by Da Capo in the US.