Friday, September 22, 2017

End of Jann Wenner Rolling Stone Era

I first subscribed to Rolling Stone in the summer of 1979.   But I was aware of it before that.  Skimmed through it at bookstores and grocery stores.  Creem and Crawdaddy were also in my sights, but Rolling Stone was king.  The 70's was an incredible decade for the magazine.  It had the best music writers, review section and getting on the cover was a prestige moment.  By the time I subscribed, it was about to undergo changes.  As the 80's moved in, many of the first wave of journalists were gone.  It was still the biggest U.S. music magazine, but it seemed to be missing something.

Those of us who remember those classic 70's issues have struggled with Rolling Stone as it battles the digital age. I still look forward to it.  And I understand the complaints that it became less a music mag than an Entertainment one. But wasn't it doing that in its heyday?  There are still good magazines covering music, but they are all based in the U.K.  Regardless,  I'm not here to bury Jann Wenner's initial vision.  It seems that the ones who are most happy to see the magazine struggling are readers like me, who were reading it back in its prime.  But count me out among the ones happy to bury it.

The fact is that it can still hit a home run with its artist profiles and political coverage.  In the last few years, they wrote up everyone from Merle Haggard to Brian Wilson to Barry Gibb.  They've got good writers still on the rolls:  Rob Sheffield, Brian Hiatt, Andy Greene.  Peter Travers is still reviewing movies and Matt Taibbi is a must-read on politics.

In the end, I'm taking a cautious approach to how this all plays out.  What will a new publisher do with it?  More celebrities on the cover?  Slice the review section even more?  For now my annual subscription renewal continues.  I'm at 38 years and counting as a subscriber.  I'd like to make it to year 40.

Add to Technorati Favorites