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 Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – March 1977 (Volume 8, Number 10) 

In the March 1977 issue of Creem, Aerosmith and Peter Frampton were unveiled as the big winners for the 1976 Reader’s Poll. Aerosmith won Top Album (“Rocks”), Top Group, placed second in Best Live Group behind Kiss, and Steven Tyler was awarded the prestigious “Punk of the Year” honors. Frampton racked up “Hero of the Year,” “Comeback of the Year,” and “Sex Object of the Year.” Other notable winners – “Single of the Year” went to Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” “Rip-Off of the Year” was concert prices, and Elton John placed first in the “Most Pathetic” category.  (Here’s a personal, dumb high school memory. We had a holier-than-thou substitute teacher during the mid-70’s squawking about how awful popular music was. Somebody opined, “I really like Aerosmith.” The response, shouted with condescending disgust: “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO HAROLD SMITH IS.” For some reason, that still cracks me up). 

In the “Mail” section, a letter from Jenny Stern complained about being referred to (although she wasn’t specifically named) as a “250 pound cherub” in a Pam Brown feature about the Ramones. Stern later published photographs of the early L.A. punk rock scene, using the name Jenny Lens.  You can read more about Jenny at: https://pleasekillme.com/jenny-lens/ 

In “Rock ‘N’ Roll News” we learn the following about Tommy Bolin’s death, “Tommy’s autopsy looked like a drug addict’s shopping list.” Also, “Thousands of irate Brit callers jammed the switchboard of London Thames Television in December when the Sex Pistols…unleashed a string of obscenities on a live TV broadcast.” 

Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart paired up to serve as “The Creem Dreem.” 

Features: 

“Graham Parker Learns to Speak,” by Patrick Goldstein 

“What Has 18 Legs, Doesn’t Drink and is Bigger Than Aerosmith? Why It’s Earth, Wind & Fire, Dummy!,” by Ross “Baby” Del Ruth 

“Money Money Money: How ABBA Won Their Waterloo,” by Simon Frith & Peter Langley 

“Rhett Butler After the Fall: Dickey Betts Brushes Himself Off,” by Robert Duncan 

“Don’t Knock on (Ron) Wood: He’s Busy Face-ing the Stones,” by Richard Cromelin 

“Patti Smith: Rock ‘n’ Roll Pandora Unleashes Violence and Mayhem,” by Patrick Goldstein 

“Get the Hook? The Strange Truth About Jefferson Starship,” by Lester Bangs 

Lester Bangs took a relaxed, conversational tone with Jefferson Starship, often complimenting the contributions of Marty Balin. The ABBA think piece is excellent as is Patrick Goldstein’s deep dive into Patti Smith’s music, influences, and shtick. Also, it was good to see an Earth, Wind & Fire feature in Creem, even a relatively short one. 

Quotable Quotes:   

Rod Stewart on Elton John, “I don’t think he was ever born to be a rock and roll star. He was probably born to be chairman of the Watford Football Club and now he’s beginning to look like a chairman as well.” 

Ann Wilson of Heart, “Both Nancy (Wilson) and I are very temperamental. We write from an emotional base. To approach songwriting from just one standpoint would be a bore.” 

Patrick Goldstein on Graham Parker, “He’s plain fucking scary, looking like a pint-sized version of Albert Finney in ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,’ ready to crack skulls and bust up a pub for laughs.” 

Maurice White, “For a time, black people instilled pride with militancy. We want to instill pride -for both blacks and whites – by making people believe in themselves.” 

Frith and Langley on ABBA, “’Waterloo’ combined Euro-beat with a pop sensibility derived from years of listening to Anglo-American producers, from Spector to Roy Wood. The result was not so much a song as a sound, and it’s Abba’s sound that is phenomenal.” 

Dickey Betts on the (short term) breakup of the Allman Brothers, “I don’t want to deprive you of a story, but I have to say I’m getting tired of it, talking about it at all because it’s nailing Gregg’s ass – and I’m tired of nailing people’s asses.” 

Ronnie Wood, “Keith (Richards) has told me that he was a bit skeptical about having me, because our styles were too similar. But he soon found out that there were enough differences. That was all poppycock.” 

Ronnie Wood, “We still have Keith in trouble. We’re slowly crossing off countries that we can’t get into.” 

Patrick Goldstein on Patti Smith, “For Patti, the stage is the scene of sympathetic magic, a cardboard set of psychodrama, a lease on life beyond the reality of life itself….Forget the sarcastic remarks, gutter tactics, cold stares – all that New York punk-model Jewish princess crap. Behind the fancy cult influences and bizarre stage mannerisms lies rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest fan.” 

Marty Balin of Jefferson Starship, “If it seems to you like it’s a little too MOR, that’d be my fault, not the rest of the group. I don’t mind MOR at all.”  

Grace Slick, “I don’t think interviews oughta be done unless you’ve just driven a Rolls Royce into a Holiday Inn pool. Musicians may be some of the dullest people in the world offstage. Alice Cooper drinks beer and plays golf. I talked to Mick Jagger. He sits around his room, and: ‘Well, yes, would you like to try – a cup of tea?’” 

Johnny Rotten, “I don’t need a Rolls Royce. I don’t need a house in the country, and I don’t want to have to live in France. I don’t have any rock and roll heroes, they’re all useless. The Stones and The Who don’t mean anything anymore, they’re established. The Stones are more like a business than a band.” 

Lisa Robinson on the U.K. punk rock scene, “Frankly, the music, the style, and the attitude of these bands has given me new energy and inspiration. After all, I didn’t quit teaching school to write about Peter Frampton.” 

Robot A. Hull on the original “Nuggets” album, “Only Rockabilly and the British Invasion ever equaled the intensity of these local garage bands that sprouted from beneath the underground from Boston to San Diego. What’s more, never has an American rock ‘n’ roll form even approached the derangement of the late-great, sadly lamented Psychedelic Era.” 

Summary: Everything works in this issue. Prime Creem. 

Grade: A 

Latest price on eBay: $9.95 to “Buy It Now.” 

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