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Rolling Stone's First Issue: An Anniversary Flashback

Forty three years ago Country Joe left the Fish high and dry, Donovan canceled a concert, and Dylan was hard at work on a film we have yet to see

November 11, 2010 5:26 PM ET

Forty-three years ago this week, the first issue of Rolling Stone hit stands. "You're probably wondering what we are trying to do," founder, editor and publisher Jann Wenner wrote in the first editor's note. "It's hard to say: sort of a magazine and sort of a newspaper. The name of it is Rolling Stone, which comes from an old saying: 'A Rolling Stone gathers no moss.' Muddy Waters used the name for a song he wrote; The Rolling Stones took their name from Muddy's song, and "Like A Rolling Stone" was the title of Bob Dylan's first rock and roll record."

The first cover was a still image from John Lennon's movie How I Won the War, where he first wore his iconic round eyeglasses. The front-page story was an investigation into what happened to the profits from the Monterey Pop Festival. Here are amusing highlights from other pieces in the issue:

Byrd McGuinn Dumps Crosby
David Crosby, the caustic and outspoken guitarist of the Byrds, has split with the group after being asked to leave by leader Jim McGuinn...According to the Los Angeles groups' PR man, Derek Taylor, Crosby and McGuinn have always had a tense and uneasy relationship...Crosby went willingly, asking only that it be made public that he had been asked to leave. He recently bought a $25,000 boat in Florida and now plans to live on it until he decides what's next.

New Dylan Film
Bob Dylan is currently in his Woodstock, New York, home working on editing a new film of his second English tour shot by Robert Pennebaker. Neither Pennebaker, who shot and produced 'Don't Look Back,' or Dylan's management have as yet set a release date for the new film. [Note: forty-three years later we're still waiting for Dylan to release Eat The Document.]

Country Joe Goes Solo, Fish Are High And Dry
Country Joe Mcdonald has split from his band, The Fish, leaving them high and dry without a lead singer, an arranger or composer of most of their original material. He didn't dig the gig anymore. Both Joe and The Fish will go on as single acts. The Fish will not change personnel, only their name to the Incredible Fish.

Donovan Concert Cancelled
Donovan's concert in Denver was cancelled. Even when the ticket price was dropped to $2.50, there weren't enough sales to justify a concert. Maybe it was the Family Dog's heavy bill on the same weekend: The Doors and Lothar and The Hand People. The latter is Denver's hometown band. The don't know what they missed.

London: Who, Floyd by Nick Jones
The Who are back in town looking shattered, but thinking straight, after their long, hard American tour. "I Can See for Miles" is released this week and the rejuvenated, youthful Who sound is going to pin back a few ears.

The Pink Floyd, whose "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" we hear is doing well on the West Coast are back in the studios making some very nice sounds. They have combined with the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop on several numbers to get some exciting, new freaky electronics going and their new single certainly promises to be an excellent mind-blower.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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