- Author of Tell Me Why: The Beatles: Album by Album, Song by Song, the Sixties and After; Hard Rain: A Dylan Commentary; Madonna: Illustrated; and Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music – The Definitive Life
- NPR music critic and Graduate Program Director of Journalism at Emerson College (one USA Today’s top journalism schools).
- Lecture topics include: social media, convergence journalism, “How Wall Street killed newspapers” and “John Lennon- The Man, The Music”
Perhaps the first serious analysis of the Beatles' work and its impact on popular music, "Tell Me Why" is meticulous in its purpose and long overdue....Of the hundreds of books written about [the Beatles] none bring the musical knowledge and the familiarity with the period that Riley offers here.
Riley's talk remains the most memorable and instructive presentation we've had since we launched the conference in 2005.
Shrewdly balanced -- with musicology as important as sociology -- [Riley] offers Beatles criticism of unprecedented fullness.
Riley already wrote a useful book about Beatles music, "Tell Me Why", but the added biographical dimension in “Lennon” has deepened his insight considerably. His account of the writing and making of “Strawberry Fields Forever,” for example, is a critical tour de force.