Loudon Wainwright III inherited more than his father's name: he also got his way with words. Loudon Wainwright Jr. wasn't a professional musician, but a renowned journalist with Life magazine. In an interview with the A.V. Club
, Wainwright III explained how his own work has a journalistic quality:
"He wrote for Life
magazine and had a column called "The View From Here," which in a way could be the title to almost any of my records. He had a free hand at Life
magazine; he could write about anything he wanted to, and he wrote about a lot of stuff in the same way I write topical songs and novelty songs, and occasionally kind of generic songs. But his best stuff was always his personal stuff, like about the day we had to put our dog down, or finding old photographs of his father, or passing a guy he went to boarding school with on a street in New York. Very specific, detailed, descriptive columns that he wrote. I think in a way, it could be argued that my best songs are that way too. They're almost journalistic in that they're very clear, and very specific, and they describe things."
Wainwright Jr. was a columnist and editor for Life
magazine off-and-on from the early-1960s until his retirement in 1985, just three years before his death from colon cancer (he was 63). He also wrote the book The Great American Magazine: An Inside History of Life