Paul Williams – skaberen af rockmagasinet Crawdaddy – er død, 64 Ã¥r gammel.

29. marts 2013
Paul Williams startede bogstaveligt talt selv det legendariske rockmagasin Crawdaddy som unge collegestudent. Det første duplikerede nummer havde Williams selv skrevet fra ende til anden. Det var starten på det første store, landsdækkende rockmagasin i USA. Det var i januar 1966. Williams var allerede på det tidspunkt en relativt garvet publicist, idet han havde været med til at udgive diverse science fiction-fanzines.
Interessen for science fiction holdt Williams fast i til det sidste. Han var god ven med Philip K. Dick og i en periode leder af Philip K. Dick Society.
I Crawdaddys første nummer opstillede Williams et ideal for rockjournalistik, som burde være et ideal for alle efterfølgere. Han skrev: “You are looking at the first issue of a magazine of rock and roll criticism. Crawdaddy will feature neither pin-ups nor news-briefs; the specialty of this magazine is intelligent writing about pop music.” Dermed lagde han også afstand til andre, mere kommercielt orienterede magasiner som Billboard og Cash Box. Og gødede jorden for Rolling Stone, der så dagens lys godt og vel 1½ år senere.
I et senere interview fortalte Williams om begyndelsen pÃ¥ Crawdaddy: “ Well, it started out completely as a fanzine, and the first issue I mailed out to record companies and radio stations, and waited for something to happen. Same thing with the second issue. And I began selling it in newsstands in Boston and around Philadelphia and New York, and each issue kind of grew a little. We really didn’t know anything was happening, it might’ve died between the third issue–there was a big gap, I think the third issue came out in March, I was still at Swarthmore. And then I had that problem which caused me to drop out of college, that you know about, Richard Farina’s death. I went back to Boston, didn’t know what I was going to do, and finally put together another issue of Crawdaddy! that was mimeographed and sold it at the Newport Folk Festival in July. And that, actually, was kind of a breakthrough. We put Bob Dylan on the cover, which was a good idea [laughs]; we sold a lot of copies at Newport. Simon & Garfunkel’s office actually gave me $100 to write a little bio or something, but it was a way of giving me some money so I could print the next issue. But the response to that issue was very encouraging. And the other thing was I met Jac Holzman of Elektra at Newport, and he bought the first national ad for the next issue of the magazine, so it’s like, all right, now we can do the next issue!
I 1968 forlod Williams Crawdaddy og begyndte at skrive bøger, bl.a. Outlaw Blues: A Book of Rock Music (1969), Bob Dylan: Performing Artist (i flere bind), Neil Young: Love To Burn (1997). Mere end tyve bøger blev det til. Og i 1993 gjorde han igen krav på Crawdaddy, men måtte opgive at videreføre bladet i 2003 på grund af økonomien.
I 1995 var Williams udsat for en alvorlig cykelulykke, hvor han pådrog sig hjerneskader, der gjorde ham dement og efterhånden overlod ham til andres omsorg og pleje. Han døde af komplikationer i forbindelse med de skader, han havde pådraget sig dengang.
[Foto, lånt fra Facebook, ikke krediteret]

Navnet Crawdaddy tog Williams fra Crawdaddy Club i London, hvor Rolling Stones begyndte deres karriere i starten af tresserne….

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