The Wit and Wisdom of Al Aronowitz
He claimed to have been “blacklisted” out of the journalism business, but Al Aronowitz certainly enjoyed his fame while he was in the midst of it. He’s remembered as the man who introduced Bob Dylan (and pot) to the Beatles; he was also the Velvet Underground’s manager for just about long enough to book them their first gig, opening for his other clients, New Jersey garage rockers the Myddle Class, at a high school in suburban Summit.
Aronowitz was not as successful a manager as he was a writer or a scene-maker; according to his memoirs, he lost not just his proverbial shirt, but his house and his marriage trying to break the Myddle Class into the Byg Tyme. However, being a good writer, he managed to get pen a few precious couplets about his adventures. These are a few I cribbed from his article about his managerial adventures:
I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the rock and roll business any more then Joseph Heller can’t say that he didn’t enjoy the Air Force.
I had no idea my success story would turn out to be a humor column. My wife says it’s as humorous as All Quiet on the Western Front.
In that first summer of our campaign, I booked The Myddle Class into Greenwich Village’s Café Bizarre on West Third Street. By the next summer, they were playing at the Night Owl, also on West Third Street. In one year, I had advanced The Myddle Class exactly one-half city block.
They say that success is as much to be feared as failure. I couldn’t really tell you.
And I cracked up over this one…
When I tried to telephone Allen Klein for further information, all I could learn was that he had an English secretary.
Al Aronowitz died in 2005, shortly after he finally published his complete memoirs as Bob Dylan And The Beatles, Volume One Of The Best Of The Blacklisted Journalist. The book is so out of print that copies are retailing for nearly $100, but you can find much of it in individual online chapter form if you keep surfing around this web site.
Beware that much of the memoir was written later in life, at a time when Aronowitz felt he had been betrayed by many former friends and was out to wreak vengeance (or at least reclaim his place in history). What makes the Myddle Class reminiscences so enjoyable is that they come with the sense of self-flagellating humor vital for self-preservation.