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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – March 1980 (Volume 11, Number 10) 

March is always a busy month. On March 7th, the world celebrates “National Cereal Day” (two bowls of King Vitamin for me). On March 11th, nobody celebrates “Johnny Appleseed Day.” And on St. Patrick’s Day we either pinch people on the butt or chug green beer, which I’m sure brings the fifth century saint namesake for the holiday endless amusement. As we all know by now, we also celebrate the annual Creem Readers’ Poll every March, so let’s salute the movers and shakers of 1979.  

As always, Led Zeppelin towered over the competition, winning best album (“In Through the Out Door”) and Best Group. Robert Plant won Best Male Singer, Jimmy Page was honored as “Most Valuable Player”/Best Producer/Best Guitarist. John Paul Jones slid to #3 in the Best Bassist category (behind John Entwistle and Tom Petersson), which should have created an international accounting scandal. However, John Paul Jones weirdly won the Best Keyboardist category. Other big winners were Cheap Trick, who won Best Live Group honors, while Rick Nielsen was the “Hero of the Year” and “Fashion Plate of the Year.” Blondie won top honors for Best New Wave Single (“Dreaming”) and Album (“Eat to the Beat”). Kiss backlash remained strong as the painted quartet were selected as “Worst Group” and “Most Pathetic of the Year.” Finally, in my favorite category, “Rock Critic of the Year,” John Swenson came in 8th place.  

There were a few voting categories for the entire decade of the 1970’s. “Led Zeppelin IV” was selected as “Best Album of the 70’s,” “Stairway to Heaven” (yikes) won “Best Song of the 70’s,” and, of course, Led Zeppelin were selected as “Best Group of the 70’s.” One can only conclude that by 1979, Creem readers had completely forgotten about Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods.  

 In “Unsung Heroes of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Nick Tosches wrote about Merrill Moore, a fantastic boogie woogie pianist who never got a true shot at stardom. 

David Lee Roth looked like sleaze on a stick as “The Creem Dreem.” 

Features: 

“Graham Parker: Discovering Elan,” by Nigel Burnham 

“Neither Rain Nor Snow Nor Sleet Nor Power Failure: The Romantics Make it to The Majors,” by Billy Altman 

“Gimme Texas Bop with ZZ Top,” by Rob Patterson 

In a wide-ranging interview, Graham Parker discussed his opinions on his albums, issues with lack of record company support, and the importance of having a strong image (acknowledging he did not have one, while Elvis Costello did). As always, Parker sounded like one of the good guys.  

Billy Altman wrote a positive feature on The Romantics, a band he had liked for a few years prior to their debut album release. Altman correctly noted that “What I Like About You” needed to be the pushed single.  

ZZ Top seemed eager to get on the road again after a long hiatus. They also sounded like smart businessmen.

Quotable Quotes:   

Graham Parker, “When you get to about 24 and you wanna be a rock ‘n’ roll star or something, then you’ve either got to go like hell, or forget it.” 

Frank Beard on the band’s extended break in the late 1970’s, “I originally set out for a one week cruise on the Caribbean, but I didn’t make it home for three years.” 

Rick Johnson on Aerosmith, “They’ll never be able to find a replacement part for Joe Perry with that Guitarist’s ear for the bullseye riff and overpowering sense of slash dynamics.” 

Joe Fernbacher, “Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ is great background music for taking your moped and ramming it into the side of a building.” 

Summary: The Readers’ Poll results are always fun to review and 1979 was a fantastic year for music. Otherwise, nothing bad, nothing exceptional in this issue. 

Grade: B+ 

Latest price on eBay: $9.99 to “Buy It Now.” 

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