Rock Critic Jane Scott Dies

Jane Scott, a rock music critic who followed everyone from the Beatles to Britney Spears during a long career that she continued into her 80s, has died. She was 92.

The Plain Dealer, where Scott worked for a half-century, reported that a niece, Linda Scott, said her aunt died early Monday following a long illness. The report did not say where Jane Scott died.

Small in stature and in her signature red plastic eyeglasses, Jane Scott was a fixture on the Cleveland rock music scene from the mid-1960s until she retired in 2002, before her 83rd birthday.

She would be seen at shows carrying a large purse filled with her arsenal of concert gear _ including earplugs and extra pens in case the star pocketed one to sign autographs _ and wearing her backstage pass pinned to her lapel. She said that was so “if anyone tries to take it, they’d have to tear my blouse off.”

Scott was born in Cleveland and was a 1941 graduate of the University of Michigan, where she majored in English and drama. Her first day at The Plain Dealer was March 24, 1952, three days after Cleveland’s Moondog Coronation Ball, considered the world’s first rock concert.

She began as a society writer, penning columns for teens and senior citizens. It was the Beatles who changed her career and life, though she was more than 20 years older than most of their fans.

“The Beatles came here on Sept. 15, 1964, and naturally I went,” Scott told The Associated Press when she retired. “I wasn’t assigned to it, but I went and I realized _ well you would have realized it, too _ that a whole new world had opened up for the kids.”

Becoming The Plain Dealer’s rock writer, Scott was the only woman at the news conference when the Beatles returned to Cleveland in 1966. She would later cover a Who’s Who of rock royalty, including the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin and David Bowie. The Doors’ Jim Morrison once invited her backstage for a beer.

When Bruce Springsteen played Cleveland in 1975, at the start of his career, Scott’s review predicted, “He will be the next superstar.”

At the time of her retirement, the then-octogenarian rock critic said she knew better than talk about her beat with her old friends from the University of Michigan. “What are they going to say if I talk about Britney Spears? They’ve never heard of her,” Scott said.

The funeral would be held in Ann Arbor, Mich., The Plain Dealer reported, with a memorial service to come later in Cleveland.