Sunday, June 28, 2020

Letters to the Editor of Rolling Stone, 1967 - 1987

I'm still going through some old magazines that I've saved for years and while doing so I stumbled upon the twentieth anniversary issue of Rolling Stone (issue 512, Nov. 5 - Dec. 10, 1987) which I'm sure I never read until now.

To celebrate the occasion, the controversial rock magazine interviewed a large number of famous rock stars, writers, celebrities and politicians and reprinted a lot of photographs that appeared in earlier issues. Many of them were fascinating. 

Some of the magazine's out-of-date advertisements were interesting too. I could buy any new Sony CD player and get 3 CDs free plus a free membership to the CBS CD club. There was a full page ad for the old MacNeil - Lehrer Report on PBS and another one for Kodak film. My, how times have changed.

Other highlights in this 310 page special edition included old letters to the editor from every year of Rolling Stone's existence, beginning in 1967 and running through 1987.

Today's post offers a sampling of some of the letters I particularly enjoyed. I hope you find them entertaining even if you don't agree with all of the sentiments expressed in them. 

A couple of the letters are humorous and one or two could be considered shocking. Please note that I am not endorsing any kind of drug usage, lifestyle choices, or any particular political philosophy. 

The letters posted here are printed word for word, directly from pages 15 to 21, to show you what people had to say about music and our culture at the time they were originally published.

You dirty, drug-dropping beatniks. I am enclosing the money for a six-month subscription. We all know you're pinkos using rock & roll as a front.

Frank Lemons
Eugene, Oregon

You're right. - Ed.

Remember that handy little device you gave with the very first subscriptions? Well, after serving us well for hundreds of joints it has finally expired. If you have any left could you please send one? If not, my roaches salute you.

Bob Barnett
Los Angeles, California

The Age of Aquarius ended at Altamont. It's all over now, Baby Blue.

Jerry Oster
New York City

I have news of the utmost importance. My studies for the last three years, employing an IBM 059 computer, have been carefully carried out and point to only one appalling conclusion: we are about to "run out" of new songs. The total number of available notes (and I use this term in its broadest sense) will yield only a set number of possible melodies... If my calculations are correct... we will have reached that fateful number within the next  two years.

Gary Barclay
Vancouver, British Columbia

I thought you might like to know that the strange words John Lennon sings in "Across the Universe" on the Let It Be album are "Love is good hash" backward.

G. Grover III
Jacksonville, Florida

Dear G. Grover III of Jacksonville, Florida:
Don't Be Silly.

John and Yoko
New York City 

After spending my time hanging out at the Fillmore East; singing with a rock & roll band or two that needed a helping hand; having a gas, gas, gas at Your Mother's Moustache in Athens, Georgia; seeing the Allman Brothers Band get their gold record in Atlanta; coming back home to the Gaslight Au Go Go; the Village Oldies Record Shop; the Bitter End; Max's Kansas City and Ron Delsener's concerts in Central Park; getting in backstage with the New York Rock Ensemble, Commander Cody and the Allman Brothers Band; interviewing Henry Gross, the Blues Project, Fanny and Humble Pie; touring with the Rolling Stones for the last week (planes, limos, concerts, hotels, et cetera) and getting stories even you don't know about; hanging out with the Jefferson Airplane boys for a couple of days; and meeting, talking with, getting propositioned by and making friends with a host of others, I feel I can safely say that being a groupie isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Carol Fasciano
Berkley Heights, New Jersey

When music is a good part of your diet, you need Rolling Stone for the menu. But how John Rockwell's favorable feature on Bruce Springsteen ever happened is beyond comprehension ("New Dylan from New Jersey? It Might as  Well Be Springsteen," RS 197). Born to Run sounds like various forms of speech impediment caught either in an echo chamber or rock-orchestral mush. Greil Marcus's review of Born to Run compares Springsteen to Dylan, which to my mind is like comparing Jim Nabors to Humphrey Bogart. The only saving grace of the album is that most of it is inaudible.

Jeane Bice
New York City

Thanks so much for your extensive coverage on the Sex Pistols ("Rock is Sick and Living In London, RS 250"). I hope your next issue has a layout on the interior decor of a Nazi crematorium, because I know I would be just as interested. And the cover! As soon as I'm done reading the rest of the magazine, I'll use the cover as a kitty litter liner, because one look at that cover and my cat will surely be moved.

Jean Mandetta
Hawthorne, New York

All signs point to the possibility that Culture Club is destined to become the Fleetwood Mac of the Eighties ("London Calling," RS 408). Stevie, hand over your tiara. The Boy's Waiting. 

Jacqueline Sennott
Boston, Massachusetts

Enough already! MTV bombards me with Madonna videos consisting of an ugly white stomach flashing in and out of the camera and that same stomach rolling on the ground. Radio invades my home and car with her squeaky little voice. Now my favorite magazine has subjected me to a cover shot, a three-page article on her big-screen joke ("Lucky Stars," RS 447) and an eight-page spread on what the "lady" likes to call fashion. I never thought I'd see the day that I'd rip the pages out of Rolling Stone and burn them.

DelMar, California

No comments:

Post a Comment