Vaulted Existence

Crawdaddy! rock magazine, launched by Encinitas author Paul Williams in the mid-'60s, has been sold to Wolfgang's Vault, online music-history merchandisers.

"They bought it lock, stock, and barrel," confirms Williams. "I couldn't afford to publish it on my own anymore, so it's nice to see that it will live on." The original incarnation of the magazine (first published in 1966) and the '90s-era, subscription-only version are included in the sale.

The first critically oriented rock-music publication, Crawdaddy's in-depth reporting earned Williams the "godfather of music journalism" nickname. During his original tenure with the magazine, Williams managed to appear on recordings by the Doors, the Beach Boys, and John Lennon. (Williams was in the room for Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" recording.)

Wolfgang's Vault, which purchased the entire contents of late concert promoter Bill Graham's archive in 2003 for a reported $5 to $6 million, had intended to start its own online rock magazine.

"We are fans of the original Crawdaddy! and the way in which Paul and other authors wrote about the music," says managing editor Jocelyn Hoppa. "It made a tremendous amount of sense to us to borrow from the past and try to build on the publication's legacy."

Williams, in poor health in recent years, will remain on staff as advisory editor. Plans are for Crawdaddy! to reemerge as a weekly online music magazine beginning in May. Past issues will be archived on the site, giving readers a chance to browse early articles by such writers as Richard Meltzer, Jon Landau, and Sandy Pearlman.

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