In 1966, Richard Goldstein, 21 and looking 15, became America’s first full-time rock critic, penning The Village Voice‘s “Pop Eye” column — a job that was “better than sex with The Shirelles,” he writes in his vivid, eccentric new memoir, Another Little Piece of My Heart.
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Goldstein, now 70, was at the sizzling center of the Fillmores East and West, and all scenes in between. Andy Warhol introduced him to a pre-fame Lou Reed, “not yet the volcano of ‘tude he became.” John Lennon razzed him in “Give Peace a Chance” (“Everybody’s talking about … rabbis and Pop Eyes”). Goldstein’s photographer, Linda soon-to-be-McCartney Eastman (“To call her a groupie is to understate her allure”), got him in to see the stars she snapped and schtupped. Janis Joplin, “the most self-conscious performer I’d ever met,” kissed him, and Bob Dylan told him, “I’ve been hearing a lot about you.” Labels tried to bribe him with weed and lecture fees worth $174,000 in 2015 dollars: He took the hash and spurned the cash — it was the ’60s, after all. Clad in a star-spangled velvet cape, Goldstein took a road trip in the Beach Boys’ car with an LSD-addled Dennis Wilson at the wheel, muttering, “The road is doing weird things.”
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Goldstein quit music in 1969 and switched to writing on gay issues. His cape is gone, but this book conveys what it was like to learn how to fly at the dawn of rock journalism.
This story originally appeared in the April 18th issue of Billboard.