My history of Circus Magazine? Yes, that's a story I've been prompted to tell, for years. Now is the time. So, rather than wait a year, or two, or more for me to complete a manuscript, I thought it best to jot down notes as they entered my head.
This way, information will be transmitted instantly. True, with all warts, and welts. But that makes the tale grittier, I suppose. Stay tuned, Dear Reader. History of rock music's legendary publication, Circus Magazine begins now.
Before Circus Magazine there was Hullabaloo. The name change occurred in 1969. But that is a story for later on. The first issue of the magazine was born on a long mahogany wood dining table, purchased used for $10. from a thrift shop. The table was set complete with a clunky upright typewriter typed copy for the issue, X-acto knife, t-square, rulers, paste-up glue, white out, copy paper, and paste-up boards.
First issue, Beatles George Harrison, and model Pattie Boyd. The couple married on January 21, 1966. Jimi Hendrix graced the first cover of Circus Magazine.
David Dalton was our first editor, who helped focus on the mag toward a serious appreciation of rock music. I did some writing, but David and freelancers did the bulk of the writing. Note the first issue, featuring British model Pattie Boyd, with Beatles George Harrison.
Yes, the English invasion had already begun a year or so earlier. The Animals were here, The Rolling Stones, Dave Clark 5, and even Herman's Hermits. Note the first edition of Circus Magazine, with an incredible portrait photograph of Jimi Hendrix, snapped by a young Jeff Mayer, who became one of our regular rock music photographers.
(British Rock band Eric Burdon, and the Animals. Our first centerfold. "House of the Rising Sun," became a trans-Atlantic hit song, after its release by MGM Records in 1964. Described as first folk-rock hit.)
The first official staff of Hullabaloo was me, as editor-publisher, David Dalton, art director, and editor. Ian Cremer listed as editor-in-chief, and Bruce Gedman, associate editor-publisher.
Sarah Dalton, David's sister, wrote the London Cable, Bruce Gedman wrote a music column and DidierDelaunoy wrote record reviews. Norm Schreiber and Jeff Steinberg were our go-to freelance writers. Jeff later became our editor.
What I remember vividly about David, during a busy day was a telephone call that would come in from his mom. She spoke with a broad British accent. David was both editor, and art director for the mag, and had much to do in our office, which was my Studio apartment.
The phone rings, and I answer. This was a landline desk unit that sat in the middle of the long table.
She: Is David there? Me: May I ask who's calling? She: His mother. Me: David, your mother is on the phone. David: Tell her I'll call back in a moment. Me. He'll call you back in a moment. She: Thank you.
This conversation went on a few times a day until David returned the call to his mom.
The original staff. Left to right: Gerry Rothberg, Bruce Gedman, Jan Cremer, Darling, and David Dalton.
David Dalton could be seen at Steve Paul's the Scene, on New York's West 46 Street, wi th his new friend Linda Eastman, a photography newbie. Steve Paul was an affable guy, open, and friendly.
Rock music heavies, like Jimi Hendrix, played the Scene, while British invasion bands jammed, and hung out. Linda became one of our earliest photographers, as well as Linda McCartney. Yes, Paul McCartney's wife.
At this time it was necessary to secure national distribution for the magazine. I was fortunate to hook up with Ace Distribution Company headed by the affable and involved Aaron A. Wyn. A.A. Wyn founded Ace Books, which at that time was a well-known publisher of science fiction and fantasy paperback books.
The first success for this company, however, was with mysteries, and westerns. These genres were known aspulp fiction. Pulp because of the paper it was printed on.
The magazine started out as a pulp magazine, with color inserts, and was printed by an offset press. The first edition of Hullabaloo, soon to become Circus Magazine, was produced at a printing press company in Upstate New York.
Seeing the first edition going to “bed” was a nightmare. I was at the printing plant as a means of micro managing, I suppose. Making sure there would be no last minute glitches, or emergency phone calls.
When we finally got on press, late at night, and the last job of the shift, I looked up, and saw the pressman man running on top of the gigantic press machinery.
The press kept moving, as paper was fed in for inking, with the pressman in pursuit on top, overseeing the right holes fit into the correct grooves. What a frightful sight, as he could have been trapped in this labyrinth of machinery.
Back in the office, two camps arose, in our editorial process. One which favored lampooning artists and, the other to stay the course with a strict music appreciation line. Bruce Gedman strongly favored the strict music appreciation point of view, with criticism left to the record reviews. He was adamant about this, and thankfully so.
We could have drifted off to a less than serious rock, and pop publication. From the onset, several writers, and critics praised the magazine for taking the music seriously. I tended to lean towards a less than serious point of view. But Bruce held to his viewpoint. In a way, Circus Magazine, as it evolved over the years owes its approach to rock music to Bruce Gedman.
Issue #2. Cover photo(l. to r. ) Mick Jagger, KeithRichard, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, and Brian Jones. Brian Jones passed away tragically on July 03, 1969, aged 27. He was founder, and original leader of The Rolling Stones.
Bruce was the kind of guy who felt the music, and sought out the right people for us to be in contact with. Among these music people was Nat Weiss, who dealt with Brian Epstein, who managed the Beatles. Bruce was quick to set up a dialoguewith Nat, who had many contacts in the music biz.
The cover story remains a mystery to me. Were those photos byLinda Eastman, who soon becameLinda McCartney? Who wrote the piece? The author starts off that he received a phone call from me, assigning him to this Stones project, but never identifies himself. No photo credits appear on the pages. Hm-mmm!
Stay tuned. Circus Magazine History to be continued.
About Me: Circus Magazine, the legendary rock music publication was founded by Gerald Rothberg in 1966. He has been its editor, and publisher since its founding.
(All pages, including all logos of Circus Magazine, Circus Raves, Hullabaloo Magazine, on all pages of https://geraldrothberg.com are Copyright (c) 2020 by Gerald Rothberg . All rights reserved.)
Circus Magazine News & Notes
Monkees Peter Tork : February 13, 1942 - February 21, 2019, Passes Away at 77
That week our Facebook, and Twitter pages were ablaze with the sad news of Peter Tork 's passing. Peter whose birth name was Peter Halsten Thorkelson, was born in Washington D.C. We covered the Monkees in the 1960s. (Note: before Circus Magazine, Hullabaloo was our moniker. Scroll down this page and read beginning History of Circus Mag.)
The Monkees were not considered real rock by hard rock fans. Their genre may have been labeled teeny bop. But so many of our readers grew up enjoying the wild, and crazy antics, and songs, often written by Neil Diamond, ("Last Train to Clarksville," among others) that they swiftly flew into the realm of fave rockers.
Peter Tork was the favored Monkee with Hullabaloo Magazine readers. Though all members of the band were neck and neck in any race for popularity.
The Monkees were Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Davy Jones. RIP Peter Tork.You brought joy and happiness to a generation of fans. Heartfelt condolences to your family, and friends.
News & Notes July 18, 1967: The Jimi Hendrix Experience is thrown off Monkees tour. Jimi's manager Chas Chandler admits afterwards that it was a publicity stunt.
What's Up in Rock Music?
Circus Magazine got its start in 1966. I began publishing Circus as a general interest rock magazine, running stories on big-name rockers of the day. Later, I realized that the target audience of teenage boys loved reading about their favorite rock stars over and over.
I soon made it my priority to cover the top acts repeatedly. Circus covered all kinds of rock music, but always featured many heavy metal and hard rock bands in its pages. My 40-year journey with Circus Magazine was an interesting ride — e-mail me today to learn more about it. Read more about this iconic American magazine and watch some early TV commercials below.
About me: J.G. (Gerald, Gerry, Jerry} Rothberg founded Circus Magazine, the legendary rock and roll publication and had been its editor and publisher for forty years.
Rothberg is the author of "The Esau Swindle," "Love Song for Montana Greene," the just-released “Memoirs of a Woman With Two Lovers," and the forthcoming fantasy novel "Billy B Gude, and the Escape from Elsinore Castle."