Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone

John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the cover of the January 22, 1981 issue of Rolling Stone
Editor Jann Wenner
Will Dana (managing editor)
Frequency Bi-weekly
Circulation 1.4 million [1][2]
Publisher Jann Wenner
First issue November 9, 1967 (1967-11-09)
Company Wenner Media LLC
Country United States
Based in New York City
Language English
John Lennon - RS 1 (November 9, 1967) How I Won the War Film Still

Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner (who is still editor and publisher) and music critic Ralph J. Gleason.

The magazine was known for its political coverage beginning in the 1970s, with the enigmatic and controversial gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Rolling Stone magazine changed its format in the 1990s to appeal to younger readers,[3] often focusing on young television or film actors and pop music. This led to criticism that the magazine was emphasizing style over substance.[4] In recent years, the magazine has resumed its traditional mix of content, including in-depth political stories, and has seen its circulation increase.



To get the magazine off the ground, Wenner borrowed $7,500 from his family members and from the family of his soon-to-be wife, Jane Schindelheim.[5] The first issue carried a cover date of November 9, 1967.[6] Rolling Stone magazine was initially identified with and reported on the hippie counterculture of the era. However, the magazine distanced itself from the underground newspapers of the time, such as Berkeley Barb, embracing more traditional journalistic standards and avoiding the radical politics of the underground press. In the very first edition of the magazine, Wenner wrote that Rolling Stone "is not just about the music, but about the things and attitudes that music embraces." This has become the de facto motto of the magazine.

In the 1970s, Rolling Stone began to make a mark for its political coverage, with the likes of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson writing for the magazine's political section. Thompson would first publish his most famous work Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas within the pages of Rolling Stone, where he remained a contributing editor until his death in 2005. In the 1970s, the magazine also helped launch the careers of many prominent authors, including Cameron Crowe, Lester Bangs, Joe Klein, Joe Eszterhas, Patti Smith and P. J. O'Rourke. It was at this point that the magazine ran some of its most famous stories, including that of the Patty Hearst abduction odyssey. One interviewer, speaking for large numbers of his peers, said that he bought his first copy of the magazine upon initial arrival on his college campus, which he described as a "rite of passage".[4]

During the 1980s the magazine began to shift focus towards being a general "entertainment" magazine. Music was still a dominant topic but there was increasing coverage of celebrities in television, movies and the pop culture of the day. The magazine also initiated its annual "Hot Issue" during this time.

The printed format has gone through several changes. The first publications 1967-72, were folded tabloid newspaper format, no staples with black ink text, and a single color highlight that changed each edition. From 1973 on, editions were done on a 4 color press with a different newsprint paper size. In 1979 the bar code appeared. In 1980 it became a gloss paper large format 10 x 12 magazine. As of the October 30th, 2008 edition, Rolling Stone is a smaller, standard-format magazine size. (USA Today,[volume & issue needed] Associated Press Anick Jesdanun)


One major criticism of Rolling Stone involves its generational bias toward the 1960s and 1970s. One critic referred to the Rolling Stone list of the "99 Greatest Songs" as an example of "unrepentant rockist fogeyism".[7] In further response to this issue, rock critic Jim DeRogatis, a former Rolling Stone editor, published a thorough critique of the magazine's lists in a book called Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics (ISBN 1-56980-276-9), which featured differing opinions from many younger critics.[8] Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg criticised the magazine writing that "Rolling Stone has essentially become the house organ of the Democratic National Committee."[9] Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner has made all of his political donations to Democrats.[10]

Hunter S. Thompson, in an article that can be found in his book Generation of Swine, criticized the magazine for turning on marijuana even though the magazine embraced it in the 60s and 70s when Thompson was a frequent contributor.[citation needed]

Rolling Stone magazine has been criticized for reconsidering many classic albums that it had previously dismissed. Examples of artists for whom this is the case include, among others, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, The Beach Boys, Nirvana, Weezer, Radiohead, Outkast and also Queen. For example, Led Zeppelin was largely written off by Rolling Stone magazine critics during the band's most active years in the 1970s. However by 2006, a cover story on Led Zeppelin honored them as "the Heaviest Band of All Time".[11] A critic for Slate magazine described a conference at which 1984's The Rolling Stone Record Guide was scrutinized. As he described it, "The guide virtually ignored hip-hop and ruthlessly panned heavy metal, the two genres that within a few years would dominate the pop charts. In an auditorium packed with music journalists, you could detect more than a few anxious titters: How many of us will want our record reviews read back to us 20 years hence?"[7] Another example of this bias was that the album Nevermind, by grunge band Nirvana, was given three stars in its original review, despite being placed at #17 in "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list in 2003. Also, when The Beatles' Let It Be was released in 1970, the magazine originally gave the album a poor review, yet in 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it number 86 in the magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[12]

At the end of June 2010 Rolling Stone caused a controversy in the White House by publishing in the July issue an article by journalist Michael Hastings, titled "The Runaway General",[13] quoting criticism of General Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan commander, about Vice President Joe Biden and other Administration members of the White House. McChrystal resigned from his position shortly after his statements went public.[14][15][16][17]

The hire of former FHM editor Ed Needham further enraged critics who alleged that Rolling Stone had lost its credibility.[18]

The 2003 Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time article's inclusion of only two female musicians resulted in Venus Zine answering with their own list titled "The Greatest Female Guitarists of All Time".[19]


Rolling Stone has maintained a website for many years, with selected current articles, reviews, blogs, MP3s, and other features such as searchable and free encyclopedic articles about artists, with images and sometimes sound clips of their work. The articles and reviews are sometimes in a revised form from the versions that are published. There are also selected archival political and cultural articles and entries. The site also at one time had an extensive message board forum. By the late 1990s, the message board forum at the site had developed into a thriving community with a large number of regular members and contributors worldwide. The site was also plagued with numerous Internet trolls and malicious code-hackers who vandalized the forum substantially.[20] Rolling Stone abruptly deleted the forum in May 2004. Rolling Stone began a new, much more limited message board community at their site in late 2005, only to remove it again in 2006. Rolling Stone also has a page at MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. In March 2008, the Rolling Stone website started a new message board section once again, then deleted it in April 2010. The magazine devotes one of its Table of Contents pages to promoting material currently appearing at its website, listing detailed links to the items. As of April 19, 2010, the website has been updated drastically and features the complete archives of Rolling Stone.[citation needed] Around the same time it was announced that the Rolling Stone website would adopt the view by subscription model, charging for content. The subscription model is now in place.


In December 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported that the owners of Rolling Stone magazine planned to open a Rolling Stone restaurant in the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California in the spring of 2010.[21] The expectation was that the restaurant could become the first of a national chain if it was successful.[22] As of November 2010, the "soft opening" of the restaurant was planned for December 2010.[23] According to its website, the restaurant is now open for lunch and dinner.[24]

Notable staff

In popular culture

  • On the debut album by Evelyn Evelyn (produced by and featuring Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls and Seattle folk-hero, Jason Webley), the second track - "A Campaign of Shock and Awe" - references Rolling Stone. In a case of life imitating art, the fictional twin sisters (truly Palmer and Webley) sing "As featured in Rolling Stone, Spin, The New Yorker and Pitchfork...". Evelyn Evelyn has been featured in three of the four publications (Rolling Stone being the exception).[25]
  • "The Cover of the Rolling Stone" is a song satirizing success in the music business. It was first recorded by Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show, who subsequently did get on the cover of the magazine, albeit in caricature rather than a photograph.
  • In Stephen King's 1980 novel Firestarter, the protagonist chooses Rolling Stone as an unbiased independent media source, through which she can expose the government agency hunting her. However, in the film adaptation, the protagonist chooses The New York Times.
  • The 1985 film Perfect depicts John Travolta as a reporter for Rolling Stone, covering the health club fad of the time. Jann Wenner plays editor-in-chief "Mark Roth".
  • Almost Famous portrayed a fictional 15-year-old aspiring rock journalist writing for Rolling Stone. The semi-autobiographical film was written and directed by former Rolling Stone columnist Cameron Crowe and featured portrayals of publisher Jann Wenner (Eion Bailey), editor Ben Fong-Torres (Terry Chen), David Felton (Rainn Wilson) and others in Rolling Stone's 1970s San Francisco offices. Wenner also had a cameo in the film as a man reading a newspaper in a taxi.


Janet Jackson featured on a 1993 cover of Rolling Stone issue 665 with the hands of her then-unknown husband René Elizondo, Jr. cupping her breasts.

Some artists have graced the cover many times, some of these pictures going on to become iconic. The Beatles, for example, have appeared on the cover over thirty times, either individually or as a band.[26] The first ten issues featured the following:

Reference works

  • Bashe, Patricia R.; George-Warren, Holly; Pareles, Jon, eds (2005) [1983]. The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. New York: Fireside. ISBN 0743292014. 
  • Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds (2004) [1979, 1983, 1992]. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0743201698. 
  • Miller, Jim (1980) [1976]. The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. New York: Random House. ISBN 0394513223. 
  • Rolling Stone Cover to Cover -- the First 40 Years: Searchable Digital Archive-Every Page, Every Issue. Renton, WA: Bondi Digital Pub. 2007. ISBN 978-0979526107. 
  • Swenson, John (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. New York: Rolling Stone. ISBN 039472643X. 

International editions

  • Argentina – Published by Publirevistas S. A. since April 1998. This edition also circulates in Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.
  • AustraliaRolling Stone Australia began as a supplement in 1969 in Go-Set magazine. It became a full title in 1972 and was published by Nextmedia Pty Ltd, Sydney until 2008. It is now published by ACP Magazines and is the longest running international edition. Its last issue viewed Australian band Short Stack as the 'cover girls'.
  • Brazil – Published in Brazil since October 2006 by Spring Comunicações.
  • Bulgaria – Published in Bulgaria since November 2009 by Sivir Publications.Ceasing operations as of the August/September 2011 issue.
  • Chile – Published by Edu Comunicaciones until May 2003. Published by El Mercurio since January 2006.
  • ChinaRolling Stone in mainland China is licensed to One Media Group of Hong Kong and published in partnership with China Record Corporation. The magazine is in Chinese with translated articles and local content.
  • Colombia – Edited in Bogotá for Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Panama and Venezuela.
  • France – Launched 2002. This edition temporarily ceased in 2007 and was relaunched in May 2008 under license with 1633SA publishing group.
  • Germany – Published in Germany since 1994 by Axel Springer AG.
  • India – Launched in March 2008 by MW Com, publishers of Man's World magazine.
  • Indonesia – Published in Indonesia since June 2005 by a&e Media.
  • Italy – Published in Italy since November 2003, first by IXO Publishing and now by Editrice Quadratum.
  • Japan – Launched in March 2007.
  • Mexico – Published by Prisa Internacional from 2002 until May 2009; from June 2009 it is published by Editorial Televisa under license.
  • Middle East – Published in Dubai by HGW Media since November 2010.
  • Poland – First magazine is going to be released in the first half of 2011.[dated info]
  • Russia – Published by Izdatelskiy Dom SPN since 2004.
  • Spain – Published by PROGRESA in Madrid, since 1999.
  • Turkey – Published since June 2006 by GD Gazete Dergi.

See also


  1. ^ Blaze, Donya. "How to Pitch: Rolling Stone". Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  2. ^ Bauderap, David (2006). "Rolling Stone celebrates 1,000 issues". The Topeka Capital-Journal. 
  3. ^ Citizen News Services (August 13, 2008). "Rolling Stone magazine goes down a size". Ottawa Citizen. Canwest Publishing Inc.. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  4. ^ a b Freedman, Samuel G. (Date TK, 2002). "Literary 'Rolling Stone' sells out to male titillation". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  5. ^ Weir, David; Salon (April 20, 1999). "The evolution of Jann Wenner: How the ultimate '60s rock groupie built his fantasy into a media empire". Wenner's world. People magazine. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  6. ^ "Pable Pawncasso". Pawn Stars. April 4, 2011. No. 18, season 4.
  7. ^ a b May 9, 2006. Does hating rock make you a music critic? Jody Rosen. Slate. Article charging "RS" with "fogeyism."
  8. ^ July 4, 2004. Idle worship, or revisiting the classics. Jim DeRogatis. Chicago Sun-Times.Article discussing intention of book
  9. ^ Very Different Visions by Jonah Goldberg
  10. ^ "Jann Wenner Campaign Contributions and Donations - Huffington Post". 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  11. ^ "Documentation of attempt to change reviews". Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  12. ^ "Search Articles, Artists, Reviews, Videos, Music and Movies". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  13. ^ By Michael Hastings (2010-06-22). "The Runaway General - Stanley McChrystal, Obama's top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House". Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  14. ^ ""The unlikely magazine that brought down a general - Rolling Stone has never been just about music"". 2010-06-26.,0,1399358.story. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  15. ^ Jon Boone in Kabul. ""Rolling Stone man who brought down Stanley McChrystal - Journalist Michael Hastings reveals how he got to write article that was praised by troops and led to US general's sacking"". Guardian. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  16. ^ Cooper, Helene (2010-06-23). ""Obama Says Afghan Policy Won’t Change After Dismissal"". Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  17. ^ ""Statement by the President in the Rose Garden"". 2010-06-23. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  18. ^ "The death of Rolling Stone". 2002-06-28. Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  19. ^ Thurston, Bonnie. "The Greatest Female Guitarists of All Time". Venus Zine. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  20. ^ " Castaways - Troll Tribunal". Retrieved 2011-08-18. 
  21. ^ Vincent, Roger (4 December 2009). "Rolling Stone to launch restaurant chain in L.A". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  22. ^ Hadley Tomicki (May 24, 2010). "How Rolling Stone's Hollywood and Highland Restaurant Will Differ From Hard Rock Cafe's". Grub Street Los Angeles (New York magazine). 
  23. ^ "Two Floors of Fun at Rolling Stone Restaurant and Lounge". November 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  24. ^ "Rolling Stone Restaurant". Retrieved 2011-05-31. 
  25. ^ Gallagher, Rory (March 30, 2010). "A Campaign of Shock and Awe". Evelyn Evelyn. Retrieved 2010-03-30. 
  26. ^ Wenner, Jann (2006). "Our 1000th Issue – Jann Wenner looks back on 39 years of Rolling Stone" . Retrieved September 21, 2006.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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