The Way it Used to be.
Someone let me borrow an old Rolling Stone magazine from August of 1969, which was issue number 40. The current issue (below) is number 1074.
Number 40 had Jerry Garcia on the cover.
Far from the glossy paper of today's Rolling Stone in 1969 it was printed on plain newsprint that was folded in half. The feature article on the Dead by Michael Lydon is very well written. Before Rolling Stone almost all rock journalism was just corny hype, with the Stone being the first to treat rock music not like something for pubescent teens but as a serious musical form deserving serious discussion. Rolling Stone really revolutionized music journalism in that sense. Here's a picture of Bob Weir from that article.
There is also an article in it about the controversy surrounding the new Jefferson Airplane album that was coming out.
Airplane Puts RCA Up Against Wall
LOS ANGELES - Jefferson Airplane and RCA have just finished up their latest fight -this time over what the record company callled "objectionable words" in two songs from the band's upcoming sixth album.
One of the songs, a Paul Kantner composition titled "We Should Be Together," has the line "up against the wall, motherfucker" in it and the execs at RCA made it clear that that particular cliche doesn't appeal to them at all.
The second of the "objectionable" lines is more original and rather more amusing and if from "Eskimo Blue Day" by Grace Slick:
Animal game for me
But the human name
Doesn't mean shit to a tree
The conflict - begun during the final editing of the LP - was a simple one. RCA believed inclusion of the lines will make the album less commercial, because several record chains might boycott the disc. Jefferson Airplane, meanwhile, said record chains like that suck, and the lines should stay.
In the end - which came about two weeks ago - RCA execs gave up. Both songs - and both words - will be on the LP when it is released late in August. Although members of the band claim they've gotten a few other four-letter words past the RCA censors by burying them in the instrumental or vocal overdubs in albums past, this is not the first time lyrics have been audible enough (and considered controversial enough) to raise eyebrows to go shooting for the receding hairlines in the executive suite.
The band's first single release, "Runnin' Round This World," had the word "trips" in it and that was deemed so daring at the time, the song was not included in the Airplane's first album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off.
I was attending Duggan Junior High School when that album came out, and I remember my friends and I listening to it on Frank Bourbeau's tape recorder in Cafeteria #2. We couldn't believe someone got away with singing "motherfucker" on an album!
There are interesting advertisements in #40 that also reflect the censoring atmosphere of the times. The new Blind Faith album had to have two covers, one for the cool places and one for the uptight areas. This advertisement was to instruct fans that both covers enclosed the same album.
To entice people to subscribe, Rolling Stone offered to send you these four free paperbacks! (click to enlarge)
There was also a half-page advertisement in #40 for this upcoming concert festival. Hey, it only cost seven dollars! (click to enlarge)
Does anybody know if the show was any good?
Speaking of protests, a big rally in Northampton on Friday resulted in two arrests. The rally was about a proposed Business Improvement District that critics say will significantly alter the character of downtown. Some see it as a means to implement changes, such as panhandling controls, that have failed through the political process in what some are calling the "privatization of public spaces." This video of the rally sent to me by gifted troublemaker Caty Simon explains many of the issues involved, as well showing how no one can pull off a rally quite like good ol' Hamp.
Taken from a UMass bulletin board:
I laughed to see this sign in downtown Northampton.
Here's the song the sign refers to, with a surprise.