2. The Witnesses

I’ve always liked how, in Warren Beatty’s 1981 film Reds, the real-life participants (among them, Henry Miller, Will Durant, and George Jessel) are identified in the end credits not as interviewees but as witnesses. Because that’s what they were: witnesses to history. 

Similarly, the 70+ individuals I’ve interviewed thus far for this project are not just the family, friends, and colleagues of Paul Nelson — in many cases they have witnessed history in the making. To cite just a few of these instances: Dylan going electric, the advent of punk rock with the signing of the New York Dolls, and the rise of a nearly unknown young singer-songwriter named Bruce Springsteen to superstardom. Paul Nelson played a key role in each of these significant moments in pop cultural history. 

Among the witnesses who have generously shared their memories thus far are Jackson Browne, Freedy Johnston, Steve Forbert, and the cream of the rock critic elite (including original members of what Robert Christgau back in 1976 deemed the “rock critic establishment”).

Check back regularly to read some of what they had to say.

Copyright 2007 by Kevin Avery. All rights reserved.

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