In the early 1960’s and really for years beyond, the newspaper business was not exactly an upwardly mobile profession for women. The same could be said for broadcast journalism when I started several years later. Just about the best a woman could do was to be a helping hand to the old timers, give them their paychecks or make sure they had enough booze and cigarettes. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but not by much.
So in 1964 Jane Scott had risen about as high as she could go with the Cleveland Plain Dealer as the Society Editor, which means she pretty much wrote columns on rich Cleveland people and what they did with themselves at night.
About the only thing the old newspaper farts liked less than a professional woman in the next cubicle was rock and roll. Most of them were still upset with Elvis twisting his hips on the Ed Sullivan Show.
So it was a great leap of faith for Jane Scott to go to her doughty old editors and offer to report on a new band making its first appearance in Cleveland. She said she would go to the show at her own expense and her own time. And that night Jane Scott went to see and report on the Beatles. Then she spent the next 50 years as the rock and roll critic for the Plain Dealer. And, oh boy, was she good at figuring out what was good rock and roll and the music and bands that would have no lasting impact.
In 1975 she goes to see a band at s small club and was blown away, her superlatives in the review seemingly so over the top that her editors balked at printing it. She said trust me and this is what she wrote: His name is Bruce Springsteen and he will be a superstar.
For decades afterwards, even after she retired, Jane showed up at Cleveland Springsteen shows and you could always count on Bruce playing her a request with a shout out “this is for Jane Scott!”
It was Jane Scott who turned Cleveland into a rock and roll groundbreaking city in the 70’s and 80’s. Any act that wanted to make it had to play Cleveland. It also led to a terrific and leading radio station, WMMS. And I am convinced without Jane Scott the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would never have ended up on the lakefront.
Jane continued to cover the rock scene until she was 83. Now can you think of a better life than that?
Jane Scott died last week. She was 92.Janey, don’t you lose heart. Keep on rockin’ in the free world.