Journalist and producer Alan Betrock, who worked with Blondie, the Smithereens and Marshall Crenshaw and who helped define the
punk and new-wave aesthetic as the founder of the influential '70s magazine New York Rocker, died Sunday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, N.Y.
Betrock, who was 49, was diagnosed with cancer less than two months before his death, according to friends.
"The tragedy is that he was hardly done yet, and I feel his too-soon loss deep in my soul," Lenny Kaye,
longtime guitarist with Patti Smith, wrote in an email. "A good man, and a record/pop culture collector of the highest order. I always admired his thoroughness, in whatever field he touched."
Betrock, who was known as a passionate record collector with encyclopedic
musical knowledge, started New York Rocker in 1975, spotlighting
such artists as Television, Patti
Smith and Alex Chilton. Meanwhile,
his independent label, Shake Records, was the first to release recordings
by pop-rock acts Crenshaw and the dBs.
Betrock also produced Blondie's earliest demos, as well as 1982's Destiny Street, the second and final album from punk-rockers
Richard Hell & the Voidoids.
Betrock wrote and edited numerous books, including the authoritative
history "Girl Groups: The Story of a Sound," which spawned a documentary film.
Before New York Rocker, Betrock founded two other magazines: Jamz, a mimeographed fanzine, and The Rock Marketplace, a more professional publication aimed at collectors of '60s U.S. and British rock.
In the '80s, Betrock began writing about American magazines and their
history, publishing such books as "Hitsville: The One Hundred Greatest
Rock N' Roll Magazines."
"[He was] a cult magazine unto himself," Kaye wrote.