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Jane Scott: 1919-2011

July 4, 2011 - Andy Gray
A Cleveland music legend died this morning.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Jane Scott, who wrote about popular music for the newspaper for nearly 40 years, died at age 92 after a long illness. Anyone who went to rock concerts, from club gigs at the old Agora to stadium shows, in Cleveland between 1964 and 2002 probably saw Jane Scott. Let’s face it, she wasn’t easy to miss in a crowd of young rockers and would-be hipsters.

My earliest memory of Scott is at the first concert I reviewed for the Tribune Chronicle – Bruce Springsteen’s 1985 show at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. I’m sitting in the section where the press seats are and I see an older woman trudging up the steps. My first thought is, “Who’s the bag lady in the too-tight Live Aid T-shirt?”

Scott always lugged a massive tote bag, one that contained reams of paper, a snack and who knows what else lurking on the bottom. Jimmy Hoffa could have been in there. These were the pre-Internet, pre-cellphone days. A reporter couldn’t whip out a smartphone and Google a song lyric in 1985, and Jane Scott came prepared.

A couple years later, when I quit covering police and courts and started doing entertainment full-time, I regularly saw Jane and soon learned she was one of the nicest, sweetest people I’ve encountered in the business (music or journalism). I remember sitting next to her at a Kinks concert shortly after I started reviewing shows on a regular basis. Jane opened up that tote bag and offered a stack of photocopied pages from some encyclopedia of rock on the Kinks.

“I have extras,” she said.

I can’t tell you a single thing about that Kinks concert right now, but I still remember chatting with Jane and her desire to help out a new face among the critics.

Scott got access and interviews that no one else could get, and not just because of her status writing for the biggest media outlet in the market. She was so disarming that many of those rock stars would say things to her that they never would reveal to someone else.

She’s a Cleveland icon. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame currently has an exhibition called “Women Who Rock.” If Scott isn’t a part of it, she should be.


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