A couple of months ago, Jennifer Meisner shared an image with me from her scrapbook. It was a picture of Randy from what appeared to be the cover of a magazine. She didn’t have too many details, only that it was a large, newspaper-style magazine (like Rolling Stone in those days), possibly from the time of The Poor or Poco. The paper was so large that she had to trim the edges in order to glue it into her scrapbook. In the process, the title was cut away.

Image from Jennifer Meisner’s scrapbook.

I was determined to figure out the title. We knew it had to be one of those underground newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Free Press. Just given the look of it. I did think it was odd that Randy was shown on the cover and not a photo of John Lennon, who was interviewed in the magazine. However, after much searching, I finally figured out the title. It was called Planet Music (Vol. 1, No. 3) from June 1969. I found a copy online and purchased it, hoping that there was an article inside. Alas, there was not. There was no mention of Randy or Poco. I did discover that this issue of the magazine included photos by rock photographer, Jim Marshall, who may have taken the cover photo, although I’m not certain. This was a special music issue of the magazine, which is normally called just Planet. Perhaps the editors felt this smiling photo of Randy wearing headphones, clearly taken in the recording studio, fit the cover of their music issue.

Planet was a bi-weekly newspaper from San Francisco. Its editor, Robert Gold, was a former music critic from the Los Angeles Free Press. Each issue of the paper was devoted to a different topic: Planet Music, Planet People, etc. Gold did not consider Planet to be part of the “underground” genre. “We’re an alternative to other underground papers,” he said. Nevertheless, a full-page ad for Planet appeared in the Los Angeles Free Press. The paper itself is a real “period piece” with groovy artwork, ads, poetry, and even a Pigpen look-alike contest (sorry, it’s 54-years too late to enter).

I was surprised to discover that Randy’s image reappeared on the cover of Vol. 5, published in July 1969, dedicated to world literature. As far as I can tell, only six issues of Planet were ever published–and Randy appeared on the cover of two of them, without ever being mentioned.

This was Randy’s first appearance on the cover of a magazine, but not his last. Find more in the Article & Publication Archive.

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    1. As far as I could tell, it was the same with every issue of the paper. The cover photo was not directly related to any story inside.

  1. Interesting that Planet magazine’s address was 746 Brannan Street in San Francisco. That’s the same address as Rolling Stone magazine at the time. They must have been connected somehow.

    1. Hi Rich, thanks for pointing that out! The only connection I can make is that Garrett Press owned the building at 746 Brannan and it had a printing press in the basement. There were a number of alt and underground publications that used their printing press, including Planet. Rolling Stone was given an office in the building with the agreement that they would use the owner’s printing press. It’s possible that was the agreement with Planet as well.

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