Rock critic Al Aronowitz, who passed away this week at the age of 77, may not have been a household name, but his mark on the course of music history was nevertheless an indelible one. On August 28, 1964, Aronowitz, the child of an Orthodox butcher from New Jersey, brought together two of the era’s musical icons: Bob Dylan and The Beatles. And that was not the last of the evening’s introductions. It was at that get-together — and thanks to Aronowitz — that the Fab Four first smoked marijuana, an event with incalculable repercussions for the band’s sound and the history of rock.
Aronowitz’s story was, on the whole, a sad one: In 1972 he lost both his wife (to cancer) and his job as a writer for the New York Post. After these events, he more or less disappeared into drugs and obscurity. But in the 1990s he re-emerged, battered but unbroken, with a Web site called The Blacklisted Journalist, on which he described his role on that August day as that of a “proud and happy shadchen, a Jewish matchmaker, dancing at the princely wedding I’d arranged.”