OldStand: Rolling Stone, December 1977

Take our ink-stained hands and join us at the OldStand, where Jon McMillan goes to remind everyone what an honest-to-goodness music magazine is supposed to look like.

A hirsute James Taylor gets the Leibovitz cover treatment for RS #255, alongside Linda Ronstadt and super producer Austin Powers — er, Peter Asher. Seriously, ask your parents. Or ask the immaculately named Ben Fong-Torres, whose mammoth article/interview with the cover three is J-school (if not museum) quality, and a great reminder of why music fans used to live and die for this stuff every week. Proto-Klosterman Greil Marcus checks in with a post-gonzo take on Graham Parker, and Cameron Crowe gets all-the-way-famous with the mystery men behind Steely Dan. Donald Fagen is a golden god!

A review section includes Clapton (Slow Hand), Billy Joel (The Stranger), and The Ramones (“Rocket to Russia is the best American rock & roll of the year and possibly the funniest rock album ever made”). Dave Marsh’s catty takedown of a lame Rod Stewart gig at Madison Square Garden makes for much better reading (“Phil Chen, the diminutive Jamaican bassist, is so cute you’d like to punch his face in or sell him back to the Bee Gees.” What? Zing!), as does the “Random Notes” bit about Peter Gabriel trying to sing his way out of a Swiss prison (perhaps unsurprisingly, it didn’t work).

After the jump: RS critics picks for 1977, Pat Metheny’s transcendent unibrow, and perhaps the best (indie-rock free) cigarette ad copy of all time.

I thought that was Re-Run, but it’s actually Joan Armatrading

Most Promising: Talking Heads “Uptight WASPs rock out, proving the New Wave has room for more than working-class louts.”

Former genius … future crazy!

Speaking of murder trials… “It was two days after the bomb was dropped at Hiroshima. I was there and the feeling I had then is the same way I feel today about OJ’s injury.” — [former] Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson puts things in perspective.

Went on to win the 1978 Grammy for Best Unibrow.

“Male Modeling: Not for Women only.”

“[Phil] Chen takes a three-minute bass solo, further increasing one’s desire to strangle his Caribbean ass.”

“I like to smoke, and what I like is a cigarette that isn’t timid on taste. But I’m not living in some ivory tower. I hear the things being said against high-tar smoking as well as the next guy. And so I started looking. For a low-tar smoke that had some honest-to-goodness cigarette taste. It wasn’t easy. The Low-tar cigarettes I tried tasted like chalk. And high-tar cigarettes were starting to taste rougher as I went along.”