Rock critic Jane Scott dies

Cleveland journo championed music

Journalist Jane Scott, who covered pop music at the Cleveland Plain Dealer for more than four decades before her 2002 retirement, died July 4 in Cleveland after a long illness. She was 92.

Born in Cleveland, Scott began her 50-year career at the Plain Dealer in 1952 after serving as a code breaker for the Navy during WWII and doing stints in advertising and public relations.

Originally a society reporter at the paper, she moved to the music beat at the age of 45 after covering a 1964 concert by the Beatles at Cleveland’s Public Hall. If not the very first writer assigned full-time to the pop music beat, she was certainly among the first.

Over the years, the matronly Scott — often known as “the world’s oldest teenager,” a sobriquet she shared with Dick Clark — interviewed the top rock and pop acts of the day. As columnist and reviewer, she rubbed elbows with such stars as Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, and she was an early champion of Bruce Springsteen.

In 2002, the year of her retirement at 83, she told Plain Dealer critic John Soeder, “What I like about rock music is that you can’t sit around, feeling sorry for yourself… the blues perpetuates your feeling of despondency. Rock gets you up on your feet, dancing, and you forget about it. The beat gets you going.”

Scott was also an advocate of her hometown’s fertile rock scene, which spawned such acts as the Raspberries, Pere Ubu, the Dead Boys and the Pagans.

Former Pagans lead singer Mike Hudson, now a newspaper editor in Niagara Falls, N.Y., said Scott “was like a beloved and somewhat dotty great aunt…She was an incredible booster of the local scene, far more so than many younger and allegedly hipper Cleveland writers and radio personalities.”

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