Who is Nik Cohn?
Nik Cohn is a British rock journalist, born in London in 1946. He was brought up in Derry, in Northern Ireland, the son of historian Norman Cohn and Russian writer Vera Broido. An incomer to the tight knit town, he spent most of his time at the local record shop and the walk there, from his home on campus at Magee University, inspired one of his earliest stories, 'Delinquent in Derry'. He left the city to attend school in Newcastle upon Tyne in England.
Cohn is considered by some critics to be a father of rock criticism, thanks to his time on The Observer's early rock column entitled The Brief and his first major book Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom, first published in 1969. Cohn has since published articles, novels and music books regularly.
When reviewing a rough mix of The Who's rock opera Tommy, he told the group members that the album was less than spectacular. Knowing that Cohn was a fan of pinball, Pete Townshend suggested that the album's deaf, dumb, and blind title character could also be an exceptional pinball player. Cohn's opinion of the album immediately improved, and Townshend subsequently wrote "Pinball Wizard" to be added to the album.