Patterico's Pontifications


Robert Hilburn’s Real Sin

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Morons,Music — Patterico @ 7:49 pm

Kevin Roderick reports that Bill O’Reilly is upset at Robert Hilburn. Why? Apparently Hilburn said something about O’Reilly that O’Reilly didn’t like. Who cares?

There is good reason to be furious at Robert Hilburn, but it has nothing to do with anything he has said about some narcissistic talking-head blowhard. Hilburn is the guy who undermined Ian Anderson’s confidence in awe-inspiring concept albums like “A Passion Play,” with this ignorant, boneheaded review, written in 1973. After that, Anderson’s group Jethro Tull gave up on concept albums (and no, “Too Old to Rock ‘N’ Roll: Too Young to Die!” doesn’t count).

Robert Hilburn, you are a rat bastard. Ah, to turn back the clock and take a hatchet to your typewriter as you were tapping out that review . . .

13 Responses to “Robert Hilburn’s Real Sin”

  1. “I’m all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let’s start with typewriters.” — Frank Lloyd Wright

    jd watson (d52088)

  2. Brain-storming habit-forming battle-warning weary
    winsome actor spewing spineless chilling lines —
    the critics falling over to tell themselves he’s boring
    and really not an awful lot of fun.

    Well who the hell can he be when he’s never had V.D.,
    and he doesn’t even sit on toilet seats?

    Court-jesting, never-resting — he must be very cunning
    to assume an air of dignity
    and bless us all with his oratory prowess,
    his lame-brained antics and his jumping in the air.

    And every night his act’s the same
    and so it must be all a game of chess he’s playing —

    “But you’re wrong, Steve: you see, it’s only solitaire.”

    Only Solitaire
    Lyrics & music by Ian Anderson

    Tim (7cf97a)

  3. Yup — and Anderson has said that song is about Hilburn.

    But I think it would have been better for him to simply call Hilburn a rat bastard, as I have done.

    Patterico (756436)

  4. Cutting adroitly through the muck of critics — they’re like eunuchs in a harem, aware that something wonderful is going on all around them but unequipped by nature to participate — I would note that the most beautiful passage of Thick As a Brick is surely “Do You Believe?” It is perfection incarnate.

    I wonder whether these critics, yapping about “repetition” and length, ever listen to classical music.

    (One rock critic, lost at an LA Philharmonic concert, conceded that “Bach wrote well for the keyboard.”)


    Dafydd (f8a7be)

  5. Dafydd-

    In response to 4. Oh My GOD!! (looking around) Now where is the damn pin for that ejection seat.

    Richard Cook (80aa3d)

  6. Now that gives me an idea. How about a narcisstic talking-head blowhard contest? I’d add at least Lou Dobbs to the list.

    Kevin Murphy (9982dd)

  7. Richard Cook:

    In response to 4. Oh My GOD!! (looking around) Now where is the damn pin for that ejection seat.

    The pin? I would hope that you would have already removed that before you took off! It’s a little late when you’re already in the air and have double fire lights….


    Dafydd (f8a7be)

  8. I thought I was the only one who liked “Passion Play”. I’m 44, and still listen to it on occasion. Now I HAVE to read that critique of Hilburn’s. Hard to believe that guy’s still pounding out reviews of rock music in the 21st Century. I hate ageism, but isn’t he a little old for this work?

    Brian (73b44b)

  9. Why doesn’t he just retire? Or better yet, the Times could fire him (like it did Robert Scheer) like they should have done years ago. His reviews were always predictable (anything the Boss ever did was awesome — ditto Dylan — anything Billy Joel did was crap — etc, etc, ad naseum) and devoid of popular and melodic sensibility.

    But for Jethro Tull to ever waste their time paying any attention to what this goon ever wrote is absurd. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, write reviews.

    Thomas Burk (65cbc6)

  10. […] A few months ago, Patterico vented his rage against Hilburn for a 1973 Jethro Tull review that allegedly steered the band’s career in an unrewarding direction. Helpfully, he links to the review, which Hilburn could’ve written yesterday:   If there was ever any question about the rambling, disjointed nature of (Ian) Anderson’s longer works, the placement of these punchier, crisper, more concise pieces from Aqualung on the same show answered it. Anderson remains a talented, serious, imaginative artist, but his extended works need more easily identifiable, engaging themes and varied musical elements if they are to be worthy of the attention he wants for them. […]

    From the Desert to the Sea… by John Stodder » Robert Hilburn, in quintessence (346605)

  11. Critics should never be taken too seriously. A Passion Play is a magnificient work of art which has stood the test of time despite the critical mauling of Hilburn, Chris Welch et al. I’ve always found the power of critics to impose their opinions on the populace to be offensive. Make your own minds up.

    James in Cala Dor Palma de Mallorca (234c6a)

  12. My God! Robert Hilburn is still around?

    In the 1970s, I used to read his reviews of Golden Earring and Rick Daringer. Back then, all the bands were “socio-political.”

    Argonheart_Po (de5a83)

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    More and more international buyers are investing in property at Mallorca…

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