Started in 1976 by Alan Betrock, New York Rocker covered the local punk scene and initially resembled more of a fanzine. Founding editor Alan Betrock was no stranger to this format, having created Jamz in 1972, which morphed into Rock Marketplace. Based out of Elmhurst, New York, the 32-page 'zine sold for 75 cents and was geared toward record collectors and nostalgia buffs.

The New York Rocker experienced a few hiccups during its lifetime, starting with Betrock's departure in 1978 (with Andy Schwartz taking the reins). Circulation at the time was 20,000 and issues came out every five or six weeks.

Although New York Rocker expanded its music scene coverage outside of the Big Apple and employed a notable cache of writers, it ceased publication in 1982. A year later, in an attempt to revive the publication, John Morthland was hired as associate editor, with Iman Lababedi taking over as publisher. Other changes included switching the format from tabloid to a proper four-color magazine.

It didn't work. The magazine lasted a short while and folded in 1984. Original publisher Alan Betrock remained busy, authoring acclaimed books on everything from girl groups of the 1960s to movie posters and scandal magazines. He launched his independent Shake Records label in 1980 with an EP devoted to Richard Hell. Other artists on the label included the Smithereens, the Cosmopolitans, and Marshall Crenshaw. The former publisher went on to produce music for Austin-based rockers Rank and File, as well as the dB's.

Betrock passed away in 2000.

Although these are not complete cover-to-cover scans, we've put together a respectable number of issues (with more to add as they're acquired) and omitted only a few pages. Still, perusing this collection will make you feel like you're throwing up outside C.B.G.B.'s in your finest patent leather pants at 3 in the morning.


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