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Alan Betrock in the NY Times

Posted by:Philip P. Obbard (‘pobbard@yahoo.com’)
Posted on: 15 Apr 2000
There is an obituary for Alan Betrock in the New York Times today at:

Note that free registration is required at this site, which is fine, but that the articles aren't available after the day of being published so, I'm 'citing' the whole article here. The Times article also includes a photo.

Alan Betrock, 49, Pop Critic and Record Producer

Alan Betrock, whose love of rock 'n' roll propelled a pioneering career as a critic, editor, publisher, archivist and record producer, died on Sunday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. He was 49 and lived in Brooklyn.

The cause was cancer, said Marilyn Laverty, his former wife.

Mr. Betrock's interest in the outer limits of popular culture began when he was a child in Queens. "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. By that time, he was a Queens College graduate publishing JAMZ, an early fanzine.

JAMZ led to Rock Marketplace, which united collectors nationwide in the search for obscure recordings. Mr. Betrock broadened his editorial vision in 1976, when he founded New York Rocker, one of the primary organs of the burgeoning American punk scene.

Mr. Betrock understood the connections between this new movement and the sounds he loved from the 1960's. He championed artists who were refreshing rock's traditions, including Blondie, Richard Hell and the Voidoids and Television. He produced Blondie's first recordings, including a crystalline version of the Ellie Greenwich girl-group classic "Out in the Street."

His 1982 book, "Girl Groups: The Story of a Sound," was lauded by the critic Robert Palmer in The Times as "everything a rock 'n' roll genre study should be." By the time he published it, Mr. Betrock had sold New York Rocker and was pursuing a dual career as a journalist and an independent record mogul. Releases on his label, Shake Records, introduced artists like the dB's, the Smithereens and Marshall Crenshaw. In his writing he ardently defended American punk, exposing its roots in garage rock and vintage teenage pop.

In later years Mr. Betrock expanded his explorations by founding Shake Books, which published more than a dozen works on subjects spiritually tied to rock, like teenage exploitation films and the history of the pinup.

He is survived by a brother, Wayne, of Manhattan, and his mother, Gertrude Betrock of Tamarac, Fla.

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