Listening to Paul Williams

I was still in high school when I found Crawdaddy in the fall of 1966. The phrase “hippie” had not been coined or placed in widespread use. Rolling Stone didn’t exist. I doubt that Williams had any ambitions beyond what he and the writers he published — who ranged from the studious Jon Landau to the brash R. Meltzer, set out to do: explain what was happening to rock and roll, to US, the tribe coalescing around the Stones Between the Buttons, Kinda Kinks, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, the Doors first album, Love’s first album with “My Little Red Book,” Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. There were clues in this music, and the drugs we took, the streets we marched, the love we made — that had something to do with putting our collective energy into getting busy being born lest we find ourselves being busy dying. We were on a journey for which no roadmap existed. Paul Williams was our mapmaker.

Wayne Robins, Listening to Paul Williams


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