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Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone logo
Jann Wenner
Will Dana (managing editor)
Frequency Bi-weekly
Circulation 1.4 million [1][2]
Publisher Jann Wenner
First issue November 9, 1967
Company Wenner Media LLC
Based in New York City
Language English

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

The magazine was named after the 1948 Muddy Waters song of the same name. 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.



John Lennon - RS 1 (November 9, 1967) How I Won the War Film Still

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] 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, such as 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, in saying that upon arriving at his college campus as a beginning student, he bought his first copy of the magazine, which he described as a "rite of passage".[4]


One major criticism of Rolling Stone Magazine involves its apparent 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."[6] 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.[7] Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg criticised the magazine saying that "Rolling Stone has essentially become the house organ of the Democratic National Committee."[8] In fact, Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner has made all of his political donations to Democrats.[9]

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.

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, Radiohead and Outkast. 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."[10] A critic for Slate magazine described a conference at which the 1984 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?"[6] Another example of this bias was that the album Nevermind, by grunge band Nirvana, was given a three stars in its original review, despite being placed at #17 in its "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.[11]

The hire of former FHM editor Ed Needham further enraged critics who alleged that Rolling Stone had lost its credibility.[12]

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"[13].


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. 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[14]. Rolling Stone abruptly and without notice 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 now permits users to make follow-up comments to posted articles in a blog format. It also maintains a page at MySpace. In March 2008, Rolling Stone started a new message board section once again. The magazine devotes one of its Table of Contents pages to promoting material currently appearing at its website, listing detailed links to the items.


In the summer of 2010, Rolling Stone the restaurant will open in the Hollywood & Highland shopping center in Hollywood, California.[15] It will not be entertainment-themed.

Famous staff


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.[16] The first ten issues featured the following:

Reference works

  • Rolling Stone Album Guide. Four editions with varying titles, c. 1979, 1983, 1992, 2004.
  • The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. Random House, 1980. ISBN 0-394-73938-8
  • Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. 1985.
  • Rolling Stone Cover-to-Cover: The First 40 Years. Bondi Digital Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978-0979526107
  • George-Warren, Holly (2001). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll (Revised and Updated for the 21st Century). Pareles, Jon. Fireside. ISBN 978-0743201209. 

International editions

  • Argentina - Published by Publirevistas S.A. since April 1998. This edition also circulates in Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.
  • Australia - Began as a supplement 1969 in Go-Set magazine. It became a full title in 1972 and was published by Next Media Pty Ltd, Sydney until 2008. It is now published by ACP Magazines and is the longest running international edition.
  • Brazil - Published in Brazil since October 2006 by Spring Comunicações.
  • Bulgaria - The first issue was published on November 8, 10 a.d.
  • Chile - Published by Edu Comunicaciones until May 2003. Published by El Mercurio, since January 2006.
  • China - Rolling 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, publisher's 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 since 2002 until May 2009, From June 2009 is published by Editorial Televisa Under License.
  • Russia - Published by Izdatelskiy Dom SPN since 2004.
  • Spain - Published by PROGRESA in Madrid, since 1999.
  • stup - Published since June 2006 by GD Gazete Dergi.

See also


  1. ^ How to Pitch: Rolling Stone - Content
  2. ^ Rolling Stone celebrates 1,000 issues | Topeka Capital-Journal, The | Find Articles at
  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. ^ a b May 9, 2006. Does hating rock make you a music critic? Jody Rosen. Slate. Article charging "RS" with "fogeyism."
  7. ^ July 4, 2004. Idle worship, or revisiting the classics. Jim DeRogatis. Chicago Sun-Times.Article discussing intention of book
  8. ^ Very Different Visions by Jonah Goldberg
  9. ^
  10. ^ Documentation of attempt to change reviews
  11. ^
  12. ^ The death of Rolling Stone -
  13. ^
  14. ^ Castaways - Troll Tribunal
  15. ^ Jennings, Lisa (December 6, 2009). "Rolling Stone magazine to open restaurant". 
  16. ^ Wenner, Jann (2006). "Our 1000th Issue – Jann Wenner looks back on 39 years of Rolling Stone" (accessed September 21, 2006)

External links

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