Anwen Crawford reviews 'Sticky Fingers: The life and times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone magazine' by Joe Hagan

Anwen Crawford reviews 'Sticky Fingers: The life and times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone magazine' by Joe Hagan

Sticky Fingers: The life and times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone magazine

by Joe Hagan

Viking, $34.99 pb, 457 pp, 9780670078653

Sometime in 1970, an unidentified person – perhaps a disgruntled journalist or aggrieved interviewee – scrawled the words ‘Smash “Hip” Capitalism’ onto an office wall at Rolling Stone magazine. It was an incisive piece of graffiti. Rolling Stone had begun publishing in 1967, in San Francisco, at the epicentre of the counterculture, but it had already proved less than radical. As the revolutionary promises of the 1960s flamed out in violence and despair – the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, the Manson murders, the Kent State shootings – Rolling Stone’s publisher, Jann Wenner, granted himself a new executive parking spot for his Porsche, and accepted $200,000 from the record labels CBS and Elektra in order to keep his magazine’s finances flush. ‘Well, Jann was building a corporation,’ remarked one former writer, who was sacked in 1970, alongside the majority of Rolling Stone’s early staff. ‘Love it or leave it, right?’

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Published in April 2018, no. 400
Anwen Crawford

Anwen Crawford

Anwen Crawford is a Sydney-based writer and critic. She is the 2017-18 Writer in Residence at the UTS Centre for New Writing and the music critic for The Monthly. Her essays have appeared in publications including Meanjin, Island and The New Yorker.