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Issue Date: September 2011


Sweet Jane

The city's most famous rock writer, Jane Scott was as thoughtful as she was pioneering.
Lynne Thompson
editorial@clevelandmagazine.com

I met Jane Scott at a Crosby, Stills & Nash concert at the Agora, one of the celebratory events that led up to the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in 1995. A mutual friend introduced us during an after-show party. Minutes later, the Plain Dealer rock writer who famously went corvette shopping with Jimi Hendrix and lifted a few backstage beers with Jim Morrison was introducing me to Graham Nash.

My strongest memory of that night is of Jane pulling her camera from her purse and taking a picture of me with Graham. She then jotted down my address so she could mail the photo to me. I was amazed that she took the time to do it. As a young freelance writer, I imagined that when fate granted a reporter an audience with a rock legend, the reporter spent every second trying to get that definitive quote or anecdote. Besides, Jane didn't even know me.

But as we became friends, I discovered that she always managed to get the story and do that extra something special, whether it was taking a fan's picture with a rock star or getting an autograph for a friend. Her success — some would say in spite of her kindness rather than because of it — taught me that nice guys (and girls) don't always finish last.

I learned other lessons from Jane during our friendship. I saw that you could live a full, happy life as an unmarried woman. When her companion, Jim Smith, died, I got a crash course on how to accept loss with grace. And Jane's move to an assisted-living facility was a primer on aging with dignity. She never balked at or complained about the change like some people do. She just did it and rocked on. 

Jane Scott started at The Plain Dealer March 24, 1952, three days after Alan Freed's Moondog Coronation Ball, and worked there until 2002. She died July 4 at age 92.


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