This article is about the magazine.
For other uses, see Rolling Stone (disambiguation).
|Publisher||Penske Media Corporation|
|First issue||November 9, 1967; 53 years ago (1967-11-09)|
|Company||Penske Media Corporation|
|Based in||New York City|
Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture.
In the 1990s, the magazine broadened and shifted its focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music.
It has since returned to its traditional mix of content, including music, entertainment, and politics.
The first magazine was released in 1967 and featured John Lennon on the cover and was published every two weeks.
It is known for provocative photography and its cover photos, featuring musicians, politicians, athletes, and actors.
In addition to its print version in the United States, it publishes content through Rollingstone.com and numerous international editions.
Penske Media Corporation is the current owner of Rolling Stone, purchasing 51 percent of the magazine in 2017 and the remaining 49 percent in 2019.
1967 to 1979: Founding and early history
To get it off the ground, Wenner borrowed $7,500 from his own family and from the parents of his soon-to-be wife, Jane Schindelheim.
It was in newspaper format with a lead article on the Monterey Pop Festival.
The cover price was 25¢ (equivalent to $1.92 in 2016) and it was published bi-weekly.
In the first issue, Wenner explained that the title of the magazine referred to the 1950 blues song "Rollin' Stone", recorded by Muddy Waters, and Bob Dylan's 1965 hit single "Like a Rolling Stone": In a 2017 article celebrating the publication's 50th anniversary, Rolling Stone's David Browne stated that the magazine's name was a nod to the Rolling Stones in an addition to "Rollin' Stone" and "Like a Rolling Stone".
Some authors have attributed the name solely to Dylan's hit single: "At [Ralph] Gleason's suggestion, Wenner named his magazine after a Bob Dylan song."
However, it 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 first edition, Wenner wrote that Rolling Stone "is not just about the music, but about the things and attitudes that music embraces".
The magazine's long-running slogan, "All the news that fits", was provided by early contributor, manager and sometime editor Susan Lydon.
She lifted it from an April Fools issue of the Columbia Daily Spectator which posted "All the news that fits we print", a parody of The New York Times' slogan, "All the News That's Fit to Print".
The first appearance of the rubric was in 1969.
Thompson first published 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.
It was at this point that the magazine ran some of its most famous stories.
Later in 1970, Rolling Stone published a 30,000 word feature on Charles Manson by David Dalton and David Felton, including their interview of Manson when he was in the LA County Jail awaiting trial, which won Rolling Stone its first National Magazine Award.
Four years later, they also covered the Patty Hearst abduction odyssey.
One interviewer, speaking for many his peers, said that he bought his first copy of the magazine upon initial arrival on his college campus, describing it as a "rite of passage".
He published a four-part series in 1973 titled "Post-Orbital Remorse", about the depression that some astronauts experienced after having been in space.
After the series, Wolfe began researching the whole of the space program, in what became a seven-year project from which he took time to write The Painted Word, a book on art, and to complete Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, a collection of shorter pieces and eventually The Right Stuff.
In 1977, the magazine moved its headquarters from San Francisco to New York City.
Editor Jann Wenner said San Francisco had become "a cultural backwater".
1980 to 1999: Change to entertainment magazine
Kurt Loder joined Rolling Stone in May 1979 and spent 9 years there, including as editor.
Wenner offered Wolfe around $200,000 to serialize his work.
The frequent deadline pressure gave Wolfe the motivation he had sought, and from July 1984 to August 1985, he published a new installment in each biweekly issue of Rolling Stone.
Later Wolfe was unhappy with his "very public first draft" and thoroughly revised his work, even changing his protagonist, Sherman McCoy, and published it as The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1987.
Rolling Stone was known for its musical coverage and for Thompson's political reporting and in 1985, they hired an advertising agency to refocus its image under the series "Perception/Reality" comparing Sixties symbols to those of the Eighties, which led to an increase in advertising revenue and pages.
It also shifted to more of an entertainment magazine in the 1980s.
It still had music as the main topic but began to increase its coverage of celebrities, films, and pop culture.
It also began releasing its annual "Hot Issue."
In the 1990s, the magazine changed its format to appeal to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music.
This led to criticism that the magazine was emphasizing style over substance.
2000 to 2015: Expansion of readership
In 2005, Dana Leslie Fields, former publisher of Rolling Stone, who had worked at the magazine for 17 years, was an inaugural inductee into the Magazine Hall of Fame.
In 2009, Taibbi unleashed an acclaimed series of scathing reports on the financial meltdown of the time.
Bigger headlines came 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 entitled, "The Runaway General", quoting criticism by 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.
In 2010, Taibbi documented illegal and fraudulent actions by banks in the foreclosure courts, after traveling to Jacksonville, Florida and sitting in on hearings in the courtroom.
His article, Invasion of the Home Snatchers, also documented attempts by the judge to intimidate a homeowner fighting foreclosure and the attorney Taibbi accompanied into the court.
In January 2012, the magazine ran exclusive excerpts from Hastings' book just prior to publication.
The book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan, provided a much more expansive look at McChrystal and the culture of senior American military and how they become embroiled in such wars.
The book reached Amazon's bestseller list in the first 48 hours of release, and it received generally favorable reviews.
In 2012, Taibbi, through his coverage of the Libor scandal, emerged as an expert on that topic, which led to media appearances outside Rolling Stone.
On November 9, 2012, the magazine published its first Spanish-language section on Latino music and culture, in the issue dated November 22.
2016 to present: New ownership
In September 2016, Advertising Age reported that Wenner was in the process of selling a 49% stake of the magazine to a company from Singapore called BandLab.
The new investor had no direct involvement in the editorial content of the magazine.
In September 2017, Wenner Media announced that the remaining 51% of Rolling Stone magazine was up for sale.
In December 2017, Penske Media acquired the remaining stake from Wenner Media.
It became a monthly magazine from the July 2018 issue.
On January 31, 2019, Penske acquired BandLab's 49% stake in Rolling Stone, gaining full ownership of the magazine.
Some artists have been featured on the cover many times, and some of these pictures went on to become iconic.
The Beatles, for example, have appeared on the cover more than 30 times, either individually or as a band.
The magazine is known for provocative photography and has featured musicians and celebrities on the cover throughout its history.
The first 10 issues featured, in order of appearance, the following:
- John Lennon
- Tina Turner
- The Beatles
- Jimi Hendrix, Donovan & Otis Redding
- Jim Morrison
- Janis Joplin
- Jimi Hendrix
- Monterey Pop Festival
- John Lennon and Paul McCartney
- Eric Clapton
The printed format has gone through several changes.
The first publications, in 1967–72, were in folded tabloid newspaper format, with no staples, black ink text, and a single color highlight that changed each edition.
From 1973 onwards, editions were produced on a four-color press with a different newsprint paper size.
In 1979, the bar code appeared.
In 1980, it became a gloss-paper, large format (10"×12") magazine.
Editions switched to the standard 8"×11" magazine size starting with the issue dated October 30, 2008.
Starting with the new monthly July 2018 issue, it returned to the previous 10"×12" large format.
Rolling Stone's maintains a website where it shares similar content to its print publication.
The site at one time had an extensive message-board forum.
By the late 1990s, this had developed into a thriving community, with many regular members and contributors worldwide.
However, the site was also plagued with numerous Internet trolls and malicious code-hackers, who vandalized the forum substantially.
The magazine abruptly deleted the forum in May 2004, then began a new, much more limited message board community on their site in late 2005, only to remove it again in 2006.
In March 2008, the website started a new message board section once again, then deleted it in April 2010.
Rolling Stone devotes one of its table of contents pages to promoting material currently appearing on its website, listing detailed links to the items.
On April 19, 2010, the website underwent a redesign and began featuring the complete archives of Rolling Stone.
The archive was first launched under a for-pay model, but has since transitioned to a free-with-print-subscription model.
In the spring of 2012, Rolling Stone launched a federated search feature which searches both the website and the archive.
The website has become an interactive source of biographical information on music artists in addition to historical rankings from the magazine.
Users can cross-reference lists and they are also provided with historical insights.
For example, one group that is listed on both Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time is Toots and the Maytals, with biographical details from Rolling Stone that explain how Toots and the Maytals are responsible for coining the term "reggae" in their song "Do the Reggay".
For biographical information on all artists, the website contains a directory listed alphabetically.
In May 2016, Wenner Media announced plans to create a separate online publication dedicated to the coverage of video games and video game culture.
Gus Wenner, Jann Wenner's son and head of digital for the publication at the time, told The New York Times that "gaming is today what rock 'n' roll was when Rolling Stone was founded".
Glixel was originally hosted on Rolling Stone's website and transitioned to its own domain by October 2016.
Stories from Glixel are included on the Rolling Stone website, while writers for Rolling Stone were also able to contribute to Glixel.
The site was headed by John Davison, and its offices were located in San Francisco.
Rolling Stone closed down the offices in June 2017 and fired the entire staff, citing the difficulties of working with the remote site from their main New York office.
Brian Crecente, founder of Kotaku and co-founder of bigger Polygon, was hired as editorial director and runs the site from the main New York office.
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 in the spring of 2010.
The expectation was that the restaurant could become the first of a national chain if it was successful.
As of November 2010, the "soft opening" of the restaurant was planned for December 2010.
In 2011, the restaurant was open for lunch and dinner as well as a full night club downstairs on the weekends.
The restaurant closed in February 2013.
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 "500 Greatest Songs" as an example of "unrepentant rockist fogeyism".
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, which featured differing opinions from many younger critics.
Rolling Stone magazine has been criticized for reconsidering many classic albums that it had previously dismissed, and for frequent use of the 3.5-star rating.
For example, Led Zeppelin was largely written off by Rolling Stone magazine critics during the band's most active years in the 1970s, but by 2006, a cover story on the band honored them as "the Heaviest Band of All Time".
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?"
The hiring of former FHM editor Ed Needham further enraged critics who alleged that Rolling Stone had lost its credibility.
The 2003 "Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time" article, which named only two female musicians, resulted in Venus Zine answering with their own list, entitled "The Greatest Female Guitarists of All Time".
Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner has made all of his political donations to Democrats.
Rolling Stone endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the run-up for the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The August 2013 Rolling Stone cover, featuring then-accused (later convicted) Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, drew widespread criticism that the magazine was "glamorizing terrorism" and that the cover was a "slap in the face to the great city of Boston".
The online edition of the article was accompanied by a short editorial stating that the story "falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone's long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day".
The controversial cover photograph that was used by Rolling Stone had previously featured on the front page of The New York Times on May 5, 2013.
Also refusing to sell the issue were Walgreens; Rite-Aid and Kmart; Roche Bros. and Stop & Shop; H-E-B and Walmart; 7-Eleven; Hy-Vee, Rutter's Farm, and United Supermarkets; Cumberland Farms and Market Basket; and Shaw's.
Boston mayor Thomas Menino sent a letter to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, calling the cover "ill-conceived, at best ... [it] reaffirms a message that destruction gains fame for killers and their 'causes'."
Menino also wrote, "To respond to you in anger is to feed into your obvious market strategy", and that Wenner could have written about the survivors or the people who came to help after the bombings instead.
In conclusion he wrote, "The survivors of the Boston Marathon deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them."
UVA false rape story
Main article: A Rape on Campus
In the issue dated November 19, 2014, the story "A Rape on Campus" was run about an alleged gang rape on the campus of the University of Virginia.
Reporter Sabrina Erdely's story was subject to intense media criticism.
The Washington Post and Boston Herald issued calls for magazine staff involved in the report to be fired.
Rolling Stone subsequently issued three apologies for the story.
Some suggested that legal action against the magazine by persons accused of the rape might result.
On December 5, 2014, Rolling Stone's managing editor, Will Dana, apologized for not fact-checking the story.
Rolling Stone commissioned an outside investigation of the story and its problems by the dean of the Columbia School of Journalism.
The report uncovered journalistic failure in the UVA story and institutional problems with reporting at Rolling Stone.
Rolling Stone retracted the story on April 5, 2015.
On April 6, 2015, following the investigation and retraction of the story, Phi Kappa Psi announced plans to pursue all available legal action against Rolling Stone, including claims of defamation.
On May 12, 2015, UVA associate dean Nicole Eramo, chief administrator for handling sexual assault issues at the school, filed a $7.5 million defamation lawsuit in Charlottesville Circuit Court against Rolling Stone and Erdely, claiming damage to her reputation and emotional distress.
Said the filing, "Rolling Stone and Erdely's highly defamatory and false statements about Dean Eramo were not the result of an innocent mistake.
They were the result of a wanton journalist who was more concerned with writing an article that fulfilled her preconceived narrative about the victimization of women on American college campuses, and a malicious publisher who was more concerned about selling magazines to boost the economic bottom line for its faltering magazine, than they were about discovering the truth or actual facts."
On November 4, 2016, after 20 hours of deliberation, a jury consisting of eight women and two men found Rolling Stone, the magazine's publisher and Erdely liable for defaming Eramo.
On July 29, 2015, three graduates of the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi filed a lawsuit against Rolling Stone, its publisher Wenner Media, and a journalist for defamation and infliction of emotional distress.
The same day, and just months after the controversy began, The New York Times reported that managing editor Will Dana was departing the magazine with his last date recorded as August 7, 2015.
On November 9, 2015, the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity filed suit for $25 million for damages to its reputation caused by the magazine's publication of this story, "with reckless disregard for the truth".
In popular culture
George Harrison's song "This Guitar" (1975), a lyrical sequel to his Beatles track "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (1968), references the magazine in its second verse: "Learned to get up when I fall / Can even climb Rolling Stone walls".
The song was written in response to some highly unfavorable reviews from Rolling Stone and other publications for Harrison's 1974 North American tour and the Dark Horse album.
The 2000 film Almost Famous centers on a teenage journalist writing for the magazine in the early 1970s while covering the fictional band Stillwater.
The film was directed by Cameron Crowe and based on his own experiences as a young journalist for the magazine in the same time period.
The song satirizes success in the music business; the song's narrator laments that his band, despite having the superficial attributes of a successful rock star (including drug usage, "teenage groupies, who'll do anything we say", and a frenetic guitar solo), has been unable to "get their pictures on the cover of the Rolling Stone".
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling Stone.