Few people have interacted with more celebrities, rock stars and politicians than Jann Wenner, founder of Rolling Stone. Even fewer possess Wenner's prodigious wordsmanship; in his soaring memoir, Like a Rolling Stone (clocking in at nearly 600 pages), he captures these encounters, fights and friendships with much verve and economy. A Berkeley dropout, Wenner founded Rolling Stone in 1967. It was revolutionary in that, amid a sea of music fanzines, it took music, especially rock 'n' roll, seriously--particularly when Wenner began to fill his writing staff with such future heavyweights as Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe. Photographer Annie Leibovitz joined the staff in 1970.
In addition to lengthy interviews and music articles, Rolling Stone ran long-form journalism pieces on Charles Manson; the 1968 Chicago riots; Karen Silkwood's suspicious death; and, later, AIDS, wars, climate change, prison reform and politics. Wenner digs deep into the magazine's political side. He delights in sharing his friendships with Springsteen, Bono, Dylan, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He also gives concise insight into his friendships with Jacqueline Onassis ("She was a gossip, and I heard some rarefied stuff") and John F. Kennedy Jr.: "[H]e was polite, funny, and an all-around terrific guy. He also had a temper, was impetuous, and sometimes reckless." In 1995, Wenner ended his marriage of more than 25 years when he fell in love with Matt Nye and came out as gay. In 2019, he sold Rolling Stone.
Wenner's enormously influential life is masterfully told and should be a treat for pop culture fans and historians alike. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant