'Badass' rock critic dead at 92
Jane Scott wrote about rock 'n' roll for The Cleveland Plain Dealer from 1964 to 2002.
July 5th, 2011
10:22 AM ET

'Badass' rock critic dead at 92

Jane Scott, who broke down stereotypes, barriers and ceilings as a rock 'n' roll journalist, has died at 92, her former newspaper announced.

"You can't underestimate the importance of Jane Scott. When it comes to music, when it comes to journalism - she invented rock criticism. It was her life and she lived it," Michael Heaton, a former colleague at The Cleveland Plain Dealer, told CNN affiliate WJW-TV.

The Plain Dealer said Scott's first day working there was March 24, 1952, three days after the world's first rock concert - the Moondog Coronation Ball put on by radio legend Alan Freed at the Cleveland Arena.

Scott started out, as almost all women journalists did at the time, as a society writer, but struck journalistic gold in 1964 when she covered the Beatles' stop in Cleveland on their groundbreaking first North American tour.

"I never before saw thousands of 14-year-old girls, all screaming and yelling," she recalled later, according to the paper. "I realized this was a phenomenon.  ... The whole world changed."

Scott never looked back, covering the rise of the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and many others who would end up enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Cleveland's lakefront.

"Rock 'n' roll has brought young people together like nothing has ever done in the past," she told CNN affiliate WKYC-TV in a 1990 interview.

Scott knew a good thing when she saw it. "His name is Bruce Springsteen. He will be the next superstar," she wrote in her review of a 1975 performance in Cleveland. The rest of the world eventually caught on.

Scott retired from the Plain Dealer in 2002 but continued to attend concerts, the paper said.

She died early Monday. Her companion, Jim Smith, died in 2004, according to the paper; they had no children.

"Jane's impact and influence on generations of rock music fans, performers and journalists can be felt in the tributes, messages and notes that have come pouring into us," Plain Dealer managing editor Thom Fladung told CNN. "From the likes of Lyle Lovett, who said, 'Music lost one of the dearest members of its family,' to the fan who simply said, 'Salutations to Jane Scott. What a badass.'"

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Filed under: Cleveland • Music • Obituary • Ohio • Showbiz
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. michaelfury


    July 5, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. bobcat2u


    July 5, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy

    Yes, Rock n Roll, I remember ol times when I use to do it in the back seat,those were the days. No protection and all the holes full.

    July 5, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. banasy

    Of course, I didn't write that.
    But how nice of you to include me in your Rock and Roll fantasy.

    July 5, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      Trolls just won't give up on you, will they ?

      July 5, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. banasy

    No, apparently not, bobcat2u.
    The Troll Brigade rolls on.

    July 5, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mekell

    What an amazing life. The stories told and untold. Can you imagine?

    July 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pedro

    92 years. think of all the tacos and burritos she may have eaten over that time. that would be a mighty lot of good tacos.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mekell

    I'm surprised she stayed at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Seems Rolling Stone or another pub would have picked her up. Maybe they tried. Who knows?

    July 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Christopher Livesay

    My Great Aunt, Claire McMurray, was Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist for 31 years. She lived to be a 104 years old. I used to visit her regularly at her home in Cleveland. One time, when she was in her mid-90s or so, I was visiting and she said, "You love music so much, dear, you've got to meet my friend Janie. I'll ask her over to dinner." I had no idea what to expect. Jane Scott, 80-some years old and full of life, shows up and proceeds to regale us with incredible stories about meeting the Beatles and seeing the Velvet Underground in 1967, etc., etc. Jaw dropping stuff. Here was this lively octogenarian talking about what a great band the Velvets were. Not many rock critics had the ears and the nerve to make that call in 1967. Rock on in peace, Jane. And thanks for a memorable dinner.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nathan

    Is it just me or does that pic make her look like a dude in drag?

    July 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Snarky

    It's just you.

    July 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Blind Melon Chitlan

    Wrote a song bout her..wanna here it? goes somethin like this... .

    July 5, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |