Goldman, Vivien

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Goldman, Vivien


Born in London, England. Education: Attended the University of Warwick.


Home—New York, NY. Office—Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, New York University, 194 Mercer St., 5th Fl., New York, NY 10003. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, music journalist, television writer, editor, musician, songwriter, educator, and broadcaster. New York University, Department of Recorded Music, adjunct professor. Presenter on television programs, including The Tube and The Late Show (with Charlie Gillett). Creator and coproducer, Big World Cafe (television program). Founding member of the avant-garde pop music group The Flying Lizards. Recordings include Dirty Washing, 1981.


(With Adrian Boot) Bob Marley, Soul Rebel—Natural Mystic, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1982.

The Black Chord: Visions of the Groove: Connections between Afro-Beats, Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop, and More, photographs by David Corio, foreword by Isaac Hayes, Universe (New York, NY), 1999.

(With Paolo Hewitt) Made in the UK: The Music of Attitude, 1977-1983, photographs by Janette Beckman, foreword by Paul Smith, PowerHouse Books (New York, NY), 2005.

The Book of Exodus: The Making and Meaning of Bob Marley and the Wailers' Album of the Century, Three Rivers Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including Village Voice, Interview, Rolling Stone, Spin, Daily Telegraph, and Harper's Bazaar. Sounds (a London music weekly), former features editor.


Vivien Goldman is a writer, music journalist, and broadcaster. A multifaceted musician and performer, Goldman was a founding member of the new wave group The Flying Lizards, which flourished in the 1980s. She was also a member of the French new wave group Chantage, noted Rachael Doyle on the Blonde Oracle of Delphi Web log. As a music journalist, Goldman focuses her writing on punk and Afro-Caribbean music and culture, reported a biographer on the New York University Department of Recorded Music Web site. She is also one of world music's earliest proponents, working with artists such as Hugh Masekela and Rakim, producing the pioneering 1980s television series Big World Cafe and creating documentaries and music videos for a variety of musicians. Her solo musical work includes the single "Launderette," which was coproduced with punk-rock legend John Lydon, otherwise known as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. Goldman also serves as adjunct professor of punk and reggae at New York University's Department of Recorded Music. Doyle commented that for Goldman, daughter of two Jewish- German refugees, "music runs in the family. Her father was a musician who escaped Nazi Germany with his violin in tow."

The Black Chord: Visions of the Groove: Connections between Afro-Beats, Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop, and More is "an eloquently written, all-encompassing Diasporic literary and photographic retrospective" of the "ties that bind jazz, R&B, rap, salsa, or reggae to the ancestral anthems of Africa," commented Eugene Holley, Jr., in the Black Issues Book Review. Divided into four sections, the book discusses the African origins of world music and how that music has become more important, and more prominent, in the lives of average listeners. According to Dunkor Imani, writing in the Black Issues Book Review, the work "draws unusual but interesting polemic parallels" between pioneer rockers and rhythm and blues greats such as Fats Domino and modern R&B stars such as Monica and jazz poet Jayne Cortez. The book's first section, "Roots and Culture," looks at the connections between drums, voice, and the music made by African ancestors. "Heart and Soul" explores the mellow love songs and intricate melodies of artists such as Sade, Brandy, and Marvin Gaye. "Revolution" delves into the counterculture music of rebellion championed by Bob Marley and Fela Kuti. Finally, "Explorers" covers experimental musicians and performers such as Grace Jones, Wu-Tang Clan, and George Clinton.

Goldman's long tenure in music brought her into contact with many notable performers, and with The Book of Exodus: The Making and Meaning of Bob Marley and the Wailers' Album of the Century, she relates her experiences as a colleague of Marley's who was present during the many phases of the making of Exodus, the album that Time named album of the century in 1999. Goldman frequently interviewed Marley in Jamaica during this period and attended many of the recording sessions for Exodus. She also accompanied Marley and the Wailers during their European tour in 1977. Using this deep acquaintance as background, Goldman provides "excellent insight into the genesis of a transporting piece of music," commented Mike Tribby in Booklist. She relates considerable information on Marley's history and development as a musician, including his early years in Jamaica's music business, the tenets of the Rastafarian faith that underpinned Marley's attitudes, and the troubled politics of 1970s Jamaica that informed the music Marley and his band produced. Goldman devotes considerable space to a song-by-song examination of the album, with background information on the development, meaning, and recording process for each song. Goldman's effort "stands out owing to the author's tight prose, attention to detail, and insider access," commented Bill Walker in Library Journal. A Publishers Weekly contributor called the book "a brimming, tightly constructed examination," of Marley's music, life, and attitude, but also of "human nature itself and the struggle for freedom."



Black Issues Book Review, July, 2000, Dunkor Imani, review of The Black Chord: Visions of the Groove: Connections between Afro-Beats, Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop, and More, p. 34; July, 2000, Eugene Holley, Jr., review of The Black Chord, p. 35.

Booklist, April 15, 2006, Mike Tribby, review of The Book of Exodus: The Making and Meaning of Bob Marley and The Wailers' Album of the Century, p. 17.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2006, review of The Book of Exodus, p. 273.

Library Journal, April 1, 2006, Bill Walker, review of The Book of Exodus, p. 96.

Publishers Weekly, April 10, 2006, review of The Book of Exodus, p. 64.


Blonde Oracle of Delphi Web log, (December 11, 2005), Rachel Doyle, profile of Vivien Goldman.

New York University Department of Recorded Music Web site, (November 19, 2006), biography of Vivien Goldman.

Rock's Backpages, (November 19, 2007), biography of Vivien Goldman.

Vivien Goldman Home Page, (November 19, 2006).