Friday, March 23, 2018

"I was bored in my first semester at college..."
The Crawdaddy! Origin Story

Many creation stories originate in frustration ennui, boredom, and/or obsession. The origins of Crawdaddy!, the early rock and roll magazine founded by Paul Williams, were no different. From college disaffection to rock fantasies realized, that old story.

From Williams's introduction to The Crawdaddy! Book: Writings and Images from the Magazine of Rock: "I was seventeen and a half. The most important thing in my life for the last two years had been music."
I’d been listened mostly to folk and blues, but the previous winter—spring (1965), when I was a senior in high school, rock ‘n’ roll had started talking to me in a big way....

I was bored in my first semester at college, although I did have a weekly blues program...and a morning rock ‘n’ roll program on the college radio station, WSRN. Then one day in late January 1966 I was in a drugstore off campus looking at a fan magazine aimed at teenage girls. I read that two of my favorite bands, the Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones, had got their start playing in a club in Richmond, Surrey, England, called the Crawdaddy CIub—and it hit me in a blinding flash that it was now time to start this rock ‘n’ roll magazine I’d been thinking about, and that it should be called Crawdaddy!

Walking back to campus, all the details of a plan of action flooded into my excited mind. I would hitchhike to New York City, scam some “review copies” of new records from record companies, write them up, put out the first issue of Crawdaddy! on a friend’s mimeograph machine, send it off to friends and radio stations, and try to sell it at newsstands and record stores in Cambridge and New York. And so I did....
So now I knew the name of the magazine and had a plan of how I could put together the first issue during the five days between the end of exams and the start of the next semester. I was happy and excited. I didn’t really know where this would go, but I had a place to start and a direction…a ticket to ride.
Excited-minded Paul Williams, armed with ideas

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