Thursday, November 23, 2017

"Meow! My Groovy Life with Tiger Beat's Teen Idols" by Ann Moses

Googling articles about David Cassidy's sad passing this week, I stumbled on an article on with a very familiar name in the byline -- albeit one I hadn't seen nor thought of in well over 40 years.

Ann Moses worked for Tiger Beat magazine (and eventually became its editor) in the late 1960s & early 1970s. In those pre-cable, pre-Internet years, monthly magazines like Tiger Beat, its sister publication Fave, and New York-based rival 16 Magazine, were the main connection that teen & pre-teen girls like me & my sister had to our idols.  Stuffed full of glossy photos and breezy stories with headlines like "Davy's Life Story!"and  "Shhh... 24 Hours with Dino, Desi & Billy," these publications fed us critical information such as David Cassidy's favourite colour and Bobby Sherman's thoughts on going steady. (Serious journalism this was not.)

"Meow!  My Groovy Life with Tiger Beat's Teen Idols" details Ann's years of hanging out with and writing about the biggest teen idols of the day, including Paul Revere & the Raiders, Dino Desi & Billy, the Monkees, Bobby Sherman (who wrote the foreword for the book), David Cassidy and the Osmonds. Still a teenager herself when she started working for Tiger Beat in 1966, Ann became a regular fixture on the sets of our favourite TV shows, such as "The Monkees," "The Partridge Family," and "Here Come the Brides," cooked chili for the Osmonds at her apartment, and was in the audience when Elvis made his famous comeback special in 1968. In her spare (!) time, she dabbled in somewhat more serious journalism with a regular column in England's New Musical Express (NME). 

In short, she was living our dream. :)  

Those were simpler, much more innocent times, when a handwritten note could get you backstage to interview the Dave Clark Five for your college newspaper, and when you could share a hotel bed with a member of Paul Revere and the Raiders & not even have him try to kiss you. As you might have suspected, though, most of the guys Ann wrote about were not quite as squeaky clean as they appeared to be in the pages of the magazine. Wives, live-in girlfriends and babies were kept hidden or very much in the background. David Cassidy's dog went by "Sheesh" in the pages of Tiger Beat, but his full name was actually "Hashish." "We were in the business of making dreams, not crushing them," Ann explains.  She smoked pot with members of the Raiders and later Peter Tork of the Monkees, lost her virginity to a former Mouseketeer, and had her heart broken by Maurice Gibb of the BeeGees -- on her 21st birthday, no less.   

The story ends with Ann's departure from Tiger Beat in 1972.  Even though she loved her job and was extremely well paid, she quit when she learned the (male) editor of Rona Barrett's Hollywood, another magazine from the same publisher, was making twice as much money as she was, even though (thanks to Ann's leadership) Tiger Beat was making far more money.  (The excuse, of course, being that he was married and had a family to support.)  Perhaps my one quibble about the book is that I'd have liked to learn more about her post-TB life. We do learn that she and her second husband adopted two sons, that she now lives in Arizona, and that she still gets together occasionally with Laudy Powell and Sharon Lee, two other TB-ers whose names I well remember. 

I downloaded this book from Amazon to the Kindle app on my phone last night and finished reading it this morning :) -- one of the speediest reads I've had in a long time. It's not a long nor complicated book, and it might not be quite as interesting to anyone who didn't live through those days, but it was a fun nostalgia trip for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. :) 

This was book #17 that I've read so far in 2017, bringing me to 71% of my 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 24 books.  I am (still!) currently 4 books behind schedule to meet my goal. :p  ;)

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