50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 13

Rolling Stone issue #13 had a cover date of July 6, 1968. 24 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of Tiny Tim by Baron Wolman.

This is a weird issue. There’s no “Perspectives” column by Ralph Gleason. The only thing written by Jann Wenner is his pseudonymous John J. Rock column. And there are two big features by San Francisco disc jockey Bob McClay, whose byline hadn’t been seen since a piece in Issue #1 about Murray the K and would never appear in another issue after this one. Maybe the regulars were on vacation.

Features: “Industry’s All-Stereo Push Puts the Needle in Consumer Instead of Inbetween the Grooves” by Bob McClay; “Othello in Rhythm & Blues: Jerry Lee Lewis with Willie Shake” by Donald F. Roth; “Listen to Joseph Cotton: He Sounds Like Butterfield” by Kevin Greenwood; Tiny Tim interview by Jerry Hopkins; “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Bob McClay.

News: ‘Beggar’s Banquet’ is New Stones LP; Fleetwood Mac Rolls Into Town; Cream Separation Is Denied; Little Willie John Dies in Prison; King of Soul [James Brown] Visits Africa; Dave Mason Rejoins Traffic; Donovan Splits with Manager.

Columns: “Aretha” by Jon Landau; John J. Rock on the latest goings-on with Mike Bloomfield, Frank Zappa, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison’s sister-in-law. And also this:

The Strawberry Alarm Clock, one of those one-hit Top 40 groups whose only meaning is their meaninglessness, got busted two weeks ago on dope charges in East Peoria, Illinois. Wait–not even East Peoria, in a small town outside East Peoria. Sensing that a dope bust is a real publicity break, their record company (UNI) hires a flamboyant lawyer, Melvin Belli, flies in some reporters, and holds a press conference for television cameras, etc. etc. So what does this mean (aside being a real “new style” hype?) It means that if you get busted for dope, you can be co-opted into the establishment! (The final irony is that this group’s last LP was titled “Sit with the Guru” with a big drawing of the Maharishi on the cover, and they are actively publicizing their dope arrest, a habit the Maharishi condemns.)

Which pretty much sums up the tone of Wenner’s John J. Rock gossip column. It was his vehicle for his snotty editorializing and it’s where he could pontificate his point of view most articulately. But he hides behind a pseudonym. He clearly knew he was a dick. And he didn’t want to spoil any opportunities with advertisers or relationships with artists.

Full-page ads: Quicksilver Messenger Service on Capitol; Donovan In Concert on Epic; Realization by Johnny Rivers on Imperial; Columbia Records (two-page spread); Underground by Thelonious Monk on Columbia.

More ads: Music And Gibran – A Contemporary Interpretation Of The Author Of “The Prophet” by Rosko on Verve Forecast; Guitar Player magazine; The United States of America on Columbia; Gris-Gris by Dr. John, The Night Tripper on ATCO; Big Brother and the Holding Company at the Fillmore.

Reviews: The Papas and the Mamas by Mamas and Papas on Dunhill (by Jim Ward); Quicksilver Messenger Service by Quicksilver Messenger Service on Capitol (by Barry Gifford); Joni Mitchell by Joni Mitchell on Reprise (by Les Black); Judy in Disguise with Glasses by John Fred and His Playboy Band on Paula (by Robert Christgau); The Might Quinn by Mannfred Mann on Mercury (by James Pomeroy).

Subscription offer: New subscribers could get a free copy of God Bless Tiny Tim (with 50 cents for shipping and handling). $5 for 26 issues; $10 for 52.

Previously: Issue 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

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