Overlooked No More: Ruth Polsky, who shaped the New York music scene


“You could stay awake until 4 in the morning with her,” he added, “but then she would make sure you got out and had a good breakfast and a warm coat.”

Part of her motivation came from the fact that she was often the only woman in the room, interacting with managers, reservations agents and club owners who were mostly male.

“She wanted to show that she could make a difference as a woman in a very male-dominated world,” said Howard Thompson, former record company executive and friend of Polsky.

Ruth Rachel Polsky was born on December 5, 1954 in Toms River, NJ, to Louis and Bertha (Rudnick) Polsky. Her father was an egg distributor, her mother a housewife. From a young age, Ruthie, as she was called, was an excellent student. When she was a teenager, her love of books and writing was matched only by an obsession with music. Her taste, even then, was precocious: in high school, she saw The Doors and Led Zeppelin play live.

Polsky attended Clark University in Massachusetts, where she wrote about music for the school newspaper. She graduated in English Literature in 1976 and began writing for Aquarian Weekly, an alternative New Jersey newspaper, covering rising music as an editor. She also worked in a magazine publishing house.

In her writing, she championed the innovative sounds and encouraged fans to support them.

“Right now people need to dance,” she wrote in Aquarian Weekly in 1979, “not the well-oiled, bland, conformist half-decade machine-like dance, but the individualistic style of a crazy new era. “


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