A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a 1986 edition of a 1982 pamphlet Common Sense: A Guide to the Present Situation by Paul Williams. It wasn't until days later that I first spotted his name on it. It's noted on the back side of the title page but it's not on the cover. I didn't know at the time that Williams is considered by many to be the father of rock music journalism, that without him the science-fiction canon might lack Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and therefore cinema most likely lack Blade Runner (1982), or that early-onset Alzheimer's--triggered by a 1995 bicycle accident--finally claimed Williams' life less than two months ago.
Common Sense has nothing obviously to do with rock music, though the cynic may say it has something to do with science fiction. It's a call to self-actualization and the work of world peace in an age of nuclear weapons. You can read it online.
From Williams's obituary in The New York Times:
Paul Williams, a writer and critic who founded the alternative pop music magazine Crawdaddy, one of the first outlets for serious writing about rock music, and whose critical support helped rescue the science fiction author Philip K. Dick from obscurity, died on Wednesday in a nursing residence near his home in Encinitas, Calif. He was 64.
From the obituary also comes this summary of his remarkable early 20's:
He lived on a commune, smoked his first joint with the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, became the manager of Timothy Leary’s short-lived 1969 campaign for governor of California, and dropped in on John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “bed-in” in Montreal long enough to sing on their recording of “Give Peace a Chance.” Did he make it to Woodstock? [his second wife] was asked. “He hitched a ride to Woodstock in a limo with the Grateful Dead,” she said.
Williams was married twice, the first time to Sachiko Kanenobu, an Osaka-born musician significant in the history of Japan's music scene in the late 1960's--her album Misora debuted in 1972 and was reissued in 2006. She drew the cover illustration for Common Sense.
From the pamphlet:
A few people can build a bridge
that can be walked on by many.
How dare I be discouraged in the work
by anything so trivial
as the fear of personal failure?
You can send donations to the Paul Williams family.