Paul Williams – the writer and editor who helped create what we now know as rock journalism with Crawdaddy!, a magazine he founded in 1966 – died last night at the age of 64 from complications related to a bike accident in 1995.
Williams began publishing Crawdaddy! at the age of 17, following his earlier work publishing science fiction fanzines – as Johan Kugelberg stresses on Williams’ website, “science-fiction fandom roots… all rock fanzines and of rock fandom” – continuing for two years, printing the early work of influential writers such as Sandy Pearlman and Jon Landau; the former would go on to produce The Clash’s Give ‘Em Enough Rope, while the latter of whom would go on to manage and produce Bruce Springsteen. In its two-to-three-year run (as Williams described it), the magazine’s distribution went from 500 copies to 25,000 and could count among its fans Paul Simon and Bob Dylan.
Following the initial success of Crawdaddy!, Williams closed up shop in New York, moving to Mendocino, California where he traveled with Timothy Leary and “ended up at John and Yoko’s Bed-In for Peace in Montreal.” It was also around this time that Williams struck up a friendship with the influential science fiction author Philip K. Dick, a relationship that continued after Dick’s death, when Williams was named his literary executor. Williams is often credited with securing Dick’s literary legacy and influence through the position.
• Paul Williams: http://www.paulwilliams.com