Alan Betrock (1950 – April 9, 2000) was an American music critic, publisher, editor, author and record producer. Initially a music critic, Betrock founded the influential New York Rocker magazine in 1976 and the publishing house Shake Books in 1979. He has written and edited several books, including the critically acclaimed Girl Groups: The Story of a Sound. He produced Blondie's first demos in 1975 and launched the short-lived record label Shake Records. He has produced and/or released music by such artists as Marshall Crenshaw, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, the dB's and the Smithereens.
|Died||April 9, 2000 (aged 49)|
New York City, U.S.
|Occupation||Music critic, publisher, editor, author, archivist, record producer, record label owner|
A native of Queens, New York City, Betrock went to Newtown High School in Queens and attended Queens College. He founded the fanzine JAMZ as an undergrad in 1971, which led to Rock Marketplace in 1973. The magazine united record collectors nationwide in the search for obscure releases and included articles that established catalog numbers and release dates. Betrock himself was a passionate record collector with encyclopedic musical knowledge and a passion for obscure 1960s and 1970s garage rock singles. He became fascinated with rock music during the rise of the British Invasion and frequently travelled to England in search for rare albums and singles. "I'd hear a record on radio and try to seek it out, but it was very hard to find if it wasn't in the top 30," he said in a 1972 interview in The New York Times. During this period Betrock also wrote for a number of music magazines, such as Phonograph Record, ZigZag and Hit Parader, as well as local newspaper SoHo Weekly News. From the mid-1970s onward, he compiled various compilation albums for labels such as Pye and Rhino, as well as writing liner notes.
Not long after its December 1973 opening, Betrock found his way to gigs at CBGB in Manhattan's East Village. Witnessing the emergence of bands like Television, the Ramones and Talking Heads, he immersed himself completely in the new underground music scene. In 1975, Betrock financed and produced a demo for the then-unknown Blondie, whom he originally intended to manage. However, a combination of his other interests and lack of confidence in their musical abilities ended his involvement with the band. Betrock chose instead to manage another New York band, the Marbles.
In February 1976, Betrock launched the influential New York Rocker magazine, chronicling the rising punk rock scene and other musical trends in the late 1970s. According to Andy Schwartz, New York Rocker's publisher and editor from 1978-1983, the magazine was a "visionary move, the product of Betrock’s realization that the music rising from a run-down Bowery bar deserved its own magazine - one with its own style of photography and graphic design, one that would blend a fan’s enthusiasm with an educated critical eye. Through the pages of New York Rocker, Alan Betrock defined the new rock and roll".
A conceptualist, Betrock created board game centerfolds (“How to Become a New York Rock Star”) and imaginary 45 rpm picture sleeves for “singles we’d like to see.” The magazine also collaborated with fashion designer Anna Sui, photographers Steven Meisel and Roberta Bailey, and artist Duncan Hannah, among many others. During this time he also worked as the East Coast editor for Bomp! magazine. After 11 issues, Betrock left New York Rocker in late 1977. "Alan was one of those people who plunged himself into something with tremendous enthusiasm and dedication, and when he was done with it, he was done," remembered Andy Schwartz.
Meanwhile, he amassed a collection of miscellaneous American pop memorabilia. The archives became the source for several books on American magazines and their history. Mostly published on his own Shake Books during the 1980s and 1990s, Betrock wrote and edited books on, among other things, teenage exploitation films, rock and scandal magazines, and the history of the pinup. His 1982 book, Girl Groups: The Story of a Sound, which spawned a documentary film in 1983, was lauded by the critic Robert Palmer in The New York Times as "everything a rock 'n' roll genre study should be."
His short-lived Shake Records (1979-1981) was the first to release recordings by the dB's, the Cosmopolitans and Marshall Crenshaw. Later non-Shake Betrock productions included Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Destiny Street (1982) and the Smithereens’ Beauty and Sadness EP (1983).
Betrock died of cancer at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, New York City on April 9, 2000, aged 49. He was diagnosed less than two months before his death. Lenny Kaye, longtime guitarist with Patti Smith, told MTV: "A good man, and a record/pop culture collector of the highest order. I always admired his thoroughness, in whatever field he touched." In 2013, Marshall Crenshaw told Songfacts: "He launched my career, and I badly regret that he and I didn't do more stuff together. That was one of my bad blunders."
Andy Shernoff (born 19 April 1955, in Queens, New York) is a musician, songwriter and record producer.
He is a founding member of The Dictators, one of the original New York punk bands, in which he wrote nearly all of the songs, played bass guitar and keyboards, and sang backing vocals and occasional leads. He has been involved with a variety of other musical projects, most notably the heavily Dictators-populated Manitoba's Wild Kingdom and Joey Ramone's first studio album, Don't Worry About Me. He additionally co-wrote four Ramones songs with Joey.Shernoff's current projects include garage rock band The Masterplan, featuring members of The Fleshtones and the Waxing Poetics. In the fall of 2009, he embarked upon a series of solo shows playing songs he wrote or co-wrote and telling the stories behind them. In the spring of 2010, those shows would become "When Giants Walked the Earth - A Musical Memoir" with 50 tour dates in the Eastern U.S. and Canada. Shernoff sang "California Sun" in the official Major League Baseball promotional video for the 2010 All-Star Game. On March 24, 2012 Andy played the Reason Rally, the largest secular gathering in American history, on the National Mall in Washington DC. He released his first solo EP Don't Fade Away in October 2012. A follow-up EP, On The First Day Man Created God, was released in February 2013.Beauty and Sadness (EP)
Beauty and Sadness is the second EP by The Smithereens, released in June 1983 on Little Ricky Records.Blondie (album)
Blondie is the eponymous debut studio album by American rock band Blondie, released in December 1976 by Private Stock Records.Chuck Kaye
Chuck Kaye is an American retired music industry executive, noted for his tenures at A&M Records, Warner/Chappell Music, and DreamWorks Records, working in areas as diverse as Artists and Repretoire (A&R), music publishing, and corporate governance.Deaths in April 2000
The following is a list of notable deaths in April 2000.
Entries for each day are listed alphabetically by surname. A typical entry lists information in the following sequence:
Name, age, country of citizenship at birth, subsequent country of citizenship (if applicable), reason for notability, cause of death (if known), and reference.Destiny Street
Destiny Street is the second and final studio album by American punk band Richard Hell and the Voidoids. It was released in 1982 by record label Red Star.From Jersey It Came! The Smithereens Anthology
From Jersey It Came! The Smithereens Anthology is a two-disc, career-spanning compilation album by The Smithereens, released in 2004. It features most of the band's singles, as well as album and EP tracks, non-album B-sides and a handful of rarities.Hit Parader
Hit Parader was an American music magazine that operated between 1942 and 2008. A monthly publication, it was a general popular music title until the 1980s, when its focus turned to the genres of hard rock and heavy metal. The magazine reached its peak during the 1980s as heavy metal music achieved high levels of popularity and commercial success.Kama Sutra Records
Kama Sutra Records was started in 1964 by Arthur "Artie" Ripp, Hy Mizrahi and Phil Steinberg as Kama Sutra Productions, a production house. The "Kama Sutra" is an ancient Sanskrit text.In 1965, the company was joined by Art Kass and the record label itself was started. A distribution deal with MGM Records was later signed, which lasted from 1965 until 1969. From 1969 onward, distribution was then handled by co-owned Buddah Records.
The record company ceased in mid-1976 but restarted in 1981 as Sutra Records. Under this moniker, Kass marketed and distributed Fever Records, Blue Dog Records, Baila Records, Becket Records, and signed and recorded the Cover Girls, the Fat Boys, Victor Willis, and many more before the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1993. The 1965-1976 Kama Sutra catalogue is now owned by Sony Music Entertainment and managed by Legacy Recordings. The 1981–1993 Sutra catalogue is controlled by Unidisc Music.New York Rocker
New York Rocker was a punk rock new wave magazine founded by Alan Betrock in 1976. Betrock left the magazine in 1978, and Andy Schwartz took over as editor until 1982. In 1979, it had a circulation of 20,000.Ira Kaplan, guitarist and singer for Yo La Tengo, was a critic for the magazine. The dB's wrote and recorded the song, "I Read New York Rocker" in tribute to the magazine and recorded several demos in the magazine's offices.Sitting in the Midday Sun
"Sitting in the Midday Sun" is a song by British rock band The Kinks, written by their frontman and main songwriter Ray Davies. It was recorded in June 1973 and released as a single in the US and UK the same year. Reviews were generally positive, but it failed to chart. "Sitting in the Midday Sun" was included on Preservation Act 1, released in November 1973. Act 1 peaked at number 177 on the US Billboard charts, but failed to make an impression on the UK charts.Six O'Clock
"Six O'Clock" is a song by English rock musician Ringo Starr from his 1973 album Ringo. It was written by Starr's former Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney and the latter's wife, Linda, who also participated in the recording of the song. The presence of McCartney on the track marked the first time that he and Starr had worked together since the Beatles' break-up in 1970. Their collaboration reflected an easing of the tensions that had existed between the two musicians for much of that period.
Produced by Richard Perry, "Six O'Clock" was recorded mainly at Apple Studios in London in April 1973. Following Starr's recent collaborations with George Harrison and John Lennon in Los Angeles, the session with McCartney added to speculation in the press that the Beatles were about to reunite. An extended version of the song appeared as a bonus track on the 1992 CD release of Starr's Goodnight Vienna album.Stands for Decibels
Stands for Decibels is the debut studio album by American power pop band the dB's, released in January 1981 by Albion Records. The album was commercially unsuccessful but critically acclaimed. Stands for Decibels was ranked No. 76 on Pitchfork's list of "Top 100 Albums of the 1980s".At the time of its release, the dB's consisted of singer/guitarists Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple, bassist Gene Holder, and drummer Will Rigby. The songwriting was evenly divided between Stamey and Holsapple, although Stamey became known for writing the stranger, more avant-garde numbers ("She's Not Worried", "Espionage") while Holsapple wrote the more accessible, poppier songs ("Black and White", "Bad Reputation"). Both Stamey and Holsapple played keyboards occasionally as well. Holder and Rigby did not receive any songwriting credits (other than a group credit for "Dynamite").
The first track, "Black and White", was also their first single.
The album was dedicated to George Scott III.Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond)
"Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond)" is a song by English musician Ringo Starr that appears on his 1973 solo album Ringo. It was written by George Harrison, Starr's former bandmate in the Beatles, and was one of several contributions Harrison made to Ringo. Recording for the song took place in Los Angeles in March 1973, with Richard Perry producing the session. In addition to Starr and Harrison, the musicians on the track include Levon Helm, Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson of the Band, and multi-instrumentalist David Bromberg.
Harrison wrote "Sunshine Life for Me" in Ireland while staying with Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan. In a contrast with the reconciliatory mood among the four ex-Beatles when the song was recorded, the visit occurred shortly after the British High Court's ruling on the dissolution of the band in March 1971. The composition reflects the influence of Irish folk music, as well as aspects of country, hootenanny and the sea shanty tradition. In his lyrics, Harrison espouses an escape from modern life for the tranquility of nature. The "Raymond" named in the song title was a lawyer hired by Allen Klein, the manager of Harrison, Starr and John Lennon, to represent the three former Beatles and Apple Corps in the High Court action initiated by Paul McCartney.
On release, "Sunshine Life for Me" received a varied response from music critics, some of whom dismissed it as an inauspicious track. Among retrospective reviewers, several commentators have admired its lightheartedness and consider the song to be a worthy example of Starr's work in the country genre. Harrison biographer Simon Leng describes it as "musically an homage to the spirit of the Band's 'Rag Mama Rag'".The Cosmopolitans
The Cosmopolitans was a United States new wave band that was based in New York from 1979 until 82. The band was best known for songs “(How to Keep Your) Husband Happy” and “Wild Moose Party” released on Alan Betrock's Shake Records in 1980 (USA), and Albion Records in 1981 (UK). Characterized by its quirky choreography and lyrics, songs were often based on tabloid news stories. Shows often included 1960's go-go dance lessons, Wild Moose-call contests, baton routines, and chartreuse fake furs worn over blue mini-skirts.The Platinum Collection (Blondie album)
The Platinum Collection is a two disc compilation album of recordings by Blondie released by EMI/Chrysalis in 1994. The forty-seven track compilation contains the A- and B-sides of all singles issued by the band in the U.S. and the UK between the years 1976 and 1982 in chronological order, five demo recordings made before the release of their debut album including an alternative version of "Heart of Glass", as well as two 1994 dance remixes of their hits "Atomic" and "Rapture".
The liner notes contain extensive interviews with band members Clem Burke, Jimmy Destri, Nigel Harrison, Frank Infante and Gary Valentine .
As of August 9 2005 it has sold 53,000 copies in United States.