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Jim DeRogatis

Jim DeRogatis

Sound Opinions Host

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the year the Beatles arrived in America, Jim DeRogatis began voicing his opinions about rock ’n’ roll shortly thereafter. He is a full-time lecturer in the Professional Writing Program of the English Department at Columbia College Chicago and continues to write about popular music for WBEZ.

Together with Greg Kot of The Chicago Tribune, he co-hosts Sound Opinions —“the world’s only rock ’n’ roll talk show”—originating at WBEZ and distributed nationally on public radio via PRX.

Jim spent 15 years as the rock critic at The Chicago Sun-Times and is the author of several books about music: Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America’s Greatest Rock Critic; The Velvet Underground: An Illustrated History of a Walk on the Wild Side; Staring at Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma’s Fabulous Flaming Lips; Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock, and "Milk It! Collected Musings on the Alternative Music Explosion of the ’90s.

Outside of the musical realm, he published Sheperd Paine: The Life and Work of a Master Modeler and Military Historian in 2008, and in 2010, he and Kot issued their first book together, The Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones: Sound Opinions on the Great Rock ’n’ Roll Rivalry, written in the fun but combative style of the radio show.

Jim has played in punk-rock bands since age 13 but jokes that he is a drummer, not a musician. He lives on the North Side of Chicago with his wife Carmel (with whom he edited the 2004 anthology Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics), near their daughter Melody.

Recent Stories

Jim DeRogatis

50 Chicago Artists Who Changed Popular Music — Playlist

From Otis Rush to Chance the Rapper, here is a recap (and playlist) of Jim DeRogatis' 50 artists who changed Chicago music.

Jim DeRogatis

50 Chicago Artists Who Changed Popular Music — Alternative Rock

In his latest tutorial on Chicago's music history, Jim DeRogatis explains how alternative rock exploded in Chicago in the '90s.

Jim DeRogatis

Lester Bangs Comes Back To Life At Steppenwolf In July

'How to Be a Rock Critic' arrives at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre for a three-week run from July 6 to 22.

Jim DeRogatis

50 Chicago Artists Who Changed Popular Music — Rock In The ’80s

In his latest tutorial on Chicago's music history, Jim DeRogatis explains how rock came roaring back in the 1980s.

Jim DeRogatis

A Bounty Of Musical Readings And Other Mischief From Quimby’s

Chicago’s venerable bastion of left-field literature has a couple of notable music-related events coming up.

Jim DeRogatis

50 Chicago Artists Who Changed Popular Music — House Music

In his latest tutorial on Chicago's music history, Jim DeRogatis explores how house music started at a near West Side juice bar.

Jim DeRogatis

50 Chicago Artists Who Changed Popular Music — Soul And R&B

In his latest tutorial on Chicago's music history, Jim DeRogatis explores the enduring contributions of Chicago's soul and R&B music.

Jim DeRogatis

50 Chicago Artists Who Changed Popular Music — Rock In The ’60s And ’70s

In his latest tutorial on Chicago's music history, Jim DeRogatis describes a dark time in Chicago music.

Jim DeRogatis

50 Chicago Artists Who Changed Popular Music — Gospel

In his latest tutorial on Chicago's music history, Jim DeRogatis explains Chicago's strong ties to gospel music.

WBEZ Presents

Chess Records

Chess Records is the Chicago label that gave rise to Muddy Waters, Etta James and a force of nature named Chuck Berry, who died March 18.

Jim DeRogatis

50 Chicago Artists Who Changed Popular Music — Chess Records

In his latest tutorial on Chicago's music history, Jim DeRogatis explains how a local record label helped launch early rock 'n' roll.

Jim DeRogatis

Chicago Music History 101: The Blues

The argument can be made that all modern popular music started here on Maxwell Street.

Jim DeRogatis

SXSW 2017: It’s All About Convergence… Oh, And Some Genuine Musical Revelations

Music critic Jim DeRogatis says this year's SXSW was the "first when music almost seemed like an afterthought for the organizers."

Jim DeRogatis

The Feelies’ ‘In Between’ Is An Irresistible Place to Be

The Feelies have not significantly altered their formula over four decades, but it’s the rare case where that doesn’t matter a whit.

Jim DeRogatis

Lo-Fi Legend R. Stevie Moore Collaborates With Jason Falkner For An Outsider Pop Gem

For this fan, Make It Be is his best collection since Everything You Wanted to Know About R. Stevie Moore But Were Afraid to Ask in 1984.

Jim DeRogatis

A Cinematic Journey Down The Rabbit Hole Of Americana From Curse Of Lono

A stumble through hell and high water was never so alluring.

Jim DeRogatis

Regrettes? You’ll Have None About Loving ‘Feel Your Feelings Fool!’

Rarely has the future of rock felt like it's in such good hands.

Jim DeRogatis

Mourning The Passing Of The Great Percussive Engine Of Krautrock

Though his name may not be as familiar as that of many other legendary drummers, Liebezeit stands among the best.

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