Paul Williams, who died March 27 at age 64 in Encinitas, is being called the father of rock criticism. We were casual friends for two decades. He’s the subject of Wednesday’s column because, after some second-guessing, I concluded there were things I could say about him besides that we knew each other. After all, some of those writing his obituary (and doing a fine job) never met him. And if a column by me helps spread the word about a writer who should have been more widely known, then it’s worth doing.
If you’d like to know more, an appreciation by Rolling Stone’s David Fricke and the obituary from the New York Times are good places to start, and this NPR piece includes the video for “Give Peace a Chance,” in which Williams can be seen in the foreground, back to the camera, in glasses, long hair and green sweater.