Alfred G. Aronowitz, a pioneering rock journalist, died Monday (Aug. 1) of cancer in Elizabeth, N.J. He was 77.
Aronowitz, who went by Al, was a brash, high-living character who paved the way for writers covering the evolving rock scene of the 1960s and subsequent cultural rebellion journalists like Hunter S. Thompson.
In 1964, he went to England to investigate Beatlemania, and returned to write two cover stories about the Liverpool lads for the Saturday Evening Post. The issues became best-sellers for the magazine.
Aronowitz prided himself on introducing Bob Dylan to the Beatles on Aug. 28, 1964 at the Hotel Delmonico in New York. Soon afterwards, Dylan began working with an electric band in a rock style, and the lyrics of the Beatles took on a more introspective and acerbic tone.
His readers enjoyed his anecdotal style, which often involved profane quotes and self-incriminating elements dealing with marijuana — including the Dylan-Beatles meeting — but it got him in trouble with editors.
Aronowitz worked at New Jersey papers before landing a job at the New York Post in 1957. In 1960, he wrote a 12-part series on the leading writers of the Beat Generation. He collaborated with author Pete Hamill on “Ernest Hemingway: The Life and Death of a Man.”
Aronowitz became friends with most of the stars of the rock era, including those who died of drug overdoses such as Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones. He also managed folk performers Rosalie Sorrell and David Bromberg for several years.
After the death of his wife Ann in 1972, Aronowitz’s own life began to unravel. He lost his job at the Post and fought his own drug problems for more than a decade.
By the mid-1990s, however, he resurfaced with a still-active Web site, blacklistedjournalist.com, on which he offered his writings.
Aronowitz is survived by three children, long-time companion Ida Becker and two grandchildren. A memorial is planned for early fall.