Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Web Site Caveats

Executive Summary: This web site is an honest effort to make as much of Robert Christgau's writing as possible easily available to the public, but inevitably the site has errors, omissions, and inconsistencies that the reader should beware of. The current [2003-08-30] situation is much improved over the initial release of the website, thanks largely to contributions from readers. Gory details follow.


The goal here is to put up all of Robert Christgau's writings, but like most goals that is easier said than done. The writings go back to 1967 (barring some juvenilia), but nothing written before 1988 has been preserved digitally. So only expect these "early" writings to appear sporadically, when someone gets the inspiration to retype something. When this happens, expect the occasional typo. We'll fix the typos as we find them, but proofreading, too, is likely to be sporadic.

Starting in 1988, we have a more/less complete set of digital files, stored in various vintage WordPerfect formats. We have programs to convert these formats to HTML, but none of these programs are perfect, and every file that we push through these converters has to be tuned by hand. One thing that happens maybe 2-3 times per article is that the space between a pair of words gets dropped.

But there's a more pervasive problem with the post-1988 WordPerfect files, which is that they are more/less preliminary versions of the actual published essays. They often don't have titles, and they often do have self-reminders to flag phrases that still might need editorial work before publication. The self-reminders show up in bold, usually marked xx, so they are pretty glaring; we fix them ASAP, but a few still sneak through. But there isn't a single clear standard here: the articles are neither verbatim reprints of historical publications, nor systematically updated.

You may also see some notes that look like missing text--something that was started but not yet finished.

One more thing: Harvard University Press owns digital rights to the essays in Grown Up All Wrong, and has thus far declined to let us reprint any essays from the book. This also knocks out some of the original articles (mostly from The Village Voice) where the book essays originally appeared.

Some of the earlier essays have been retyped from damaged or incomplete photocopies. These are listed in the Clipped file. If you have access to the original publications, we'd appreciate any help you can provide to fix up the clipped sections.

There are also essays in the Not Yet section which originated in Christgau's word processor files but haven't been checked against the published versions: they usually have minor discrepancies, xx notes, publication date issues, etc. Again, if anyone can check these against the published versions and let us know what (if anything) needs to be changed, we'll be able to move these pieces to finished sections of the website.

Consumer Guide

The Consumer Guide has been written in more/less monthly columns since 1969, and consolidated in three decade-spanning books. Not surprisingly, it has evolved over time: most dramatically in 1990, when it was reconceived as "The A-List" -- as a broader search for exceptionally good records, rather than a comprehensive digest of rock and roll. The 1990 shift brought forth new grades/icons (compare the CG '90s Icons to the CG '70s Grades book summaries). The Consumer Guide database folds the entire historical evolution of the Consumer Guide into a single, inevitably inconsistent, entity.

But there are more specific problems with the Consumer Guide database. It was assembled quickly and rather haphazardly from several sources:

  • Tom Hull's legacy music database provided discographical information for the first 4-5 thousand records, but often the records were attributed to a different label, were given a different release date, and in some cases had slightly different artist names and/or titles. Most of these have been corrected.
  • This was augmented with additional entries from post-1988 Consumer Guide columns. We still [2003-08-30] have some problems with entries that were rewritten in the CG '90s book.
  • The missing records from the CG '70s and CG '80s books were typed in, first with grades, then with reviews. The books should now be complete, and we've scoured through most (but not all) of the CG columns to pick up stragglers (sometimes left out of the book for good reason).

Eventually, most technical errors will be found and fixed. Labels will be original issues (i.e., the label at the time of the review); release dates the same. Missing information on reissues and EPs will be added/corrected. Artist names will be consolidated a bit and/or cross-referenced. [Actually, we've tended to undo the consolidations to match the artist attribution on the albums, as reviewed. There is a cross-referencing method for related artist names.]

Copyright and Disclaimers

Unless otherwise specified, all text in this website is written and copyrighted by Robert Christgau or Tom Hull (rarely, mostly technical stuff). All rights reserved.

This website is provided as a public service. We work hard to make it as accurate and authoritative as possible. If you find errors herein, we would appreciate hearing about them: please send email to webmaster at, and be as specific as possible. We've received a lot of help since the website was launched, much of which is attributed on the Acknowledgments page. Thanks. Standard disclaimers follow.

This website is provided to you "as is," "with all faults," and "as available." We cannot and do not warranty its completeness, currentness, noninfringement, merchantability or fitness to a particular purpose of the information available through the site, nor that the site will be error-free, or continuously available, nor that the site will be free of viruses or other harmful components.

Under no circumstances shall we be liable to you or anyone else for any damages arising out of use of this website including, without limitation, liability for consequential, special, indicental, indirect, or similar damages, even if we are advised beforehand of the possibility of such damages. (Because some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of certain categories of damages, the above limitation may to apply to you. In such states, our liability is limited to the fullest extent permitted by such state law.)