This article originally appeared in Issue 1 of Crawdaddy in 1966.
You are looking at the first issue of a magazine of rock ’n’ roll criticism. Crawdaddy! will feature neither pin-ups nor news briefs; the specialty of this magazine is intelligent writing about pop music. Billboard, Cash Box, etc., serve very well as trade news magazines; but their idea of a review is: “a hard-driving rhythm number that should spiral rapidly up the charts just as (previous hit by the same group) slides.” And the teen magazines are devoted to rock ’n’ roll, but their idea of discussion is a string of superlatives below a fold-out photograph. Crawdaddy! believes that someone in the United States might be interested in what others have to say about the music they like. This is not a service magazine. We fully expect and intend to be of great use to the trade: by pushing new 45s that might have otherwise been overlooked, by aiding radio stations in deciding on their playlists, by giving manufacturers some indication of response to a record other than sales, by providing buyers with critiques of new LPs so that they’ll have some idea what they’re getting before they buy, and, most important, by offering rock ’n’ roll artists some sort of critical response to their work. But we are not a service magazine.
The aim of this magazine is readability. We are trying to appeal to people interested in rock ‘n’ roll, both professionally and casually. If we could predict the exact amount of sales on each record we heard, it would not interest us to do so. If we could somehow pat every single pop artist on the back in a manner calculated to please him and his fans, we would not bother. What we want to do is write reviews and articles that you will not want to put down, and produce a magazine that you will read thoroughly every week. And we think we can do it.
But we can’t do it without response from the trade. This issue of Crawdaddy! is being sent gratis to some 300 record manufacturers, radio stations, agents, etc. We will need subscriptions from many of you, and promises of advertising from a fair number, in order to begin offset printing and national distribution. We will need promotional copies of 45s and LPs from all manufacturers for our reviews to be meaningful. We will need response from you in the form of letters and publishable material in order to believe that there is a purpose in continuing in this project.
Most of all, naturally, we need money. I will accept advertisements now, which will be printed by photo-offset even if the magazine must continue to be mimeographed, at fifty dollars a full page, thirty dollars a half-page and twenty dollars a third-page. You are urged to subscribe, at one dollar for four issues; but copies of Crawdaddy! will be sent free to record companies that send promotional copies of records, to letter-writers and contributors, and of course to advertisers. You will receive the next Crawdaddy! one week from today. Wish us luck!