Sticky Fingers
The first and only biography of Jann Wenner, the iconic founder of Rolling Stone magazine, and a romp through the hothouses of rock and roll, politics, media, and Hollywood, from the Summer of Love to the Internet age.Lennon. Dylan. Jagger. Belushi. Leibovitz. The story of Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone's founder, editor, and publisher, is an insider's trip through the backstages of storied concert venues, rock-star hotel rooms, and the political ups and downs of the latter half of the Twentieth Century, right up through the digital age: connecting the counterculture of Haight Ashbury to the "straight world."Supplemented by a cache of extraordinary documents and letters from Wenner's personal archives, Sticky Fingers is the story of a mercurial, wide-eyed rock and roll fan of ambiguous sexuality but unambiguous ambition who reinvents youth culture, marketing the libertine world of the late sixties counterculture in a stylish, glossy package that would stand for decades as a testament to the cultural power of American youth. Joe Hagan captures in stunning detail the extraordinary lives constellated around a magazine that began as a scrappy rebellion and became a locus of power, influence, and access--using hundreds of hours of reporting and exclusive interviews.The result is a fascinating and complex portrait of Jann Wenner that is also a biography of popular culture, celebrity, music, and politics in America over the last fifty years.

Sticky Fingers Details

TitleSticky Fingers
Author
ReleaseOct 24th, 2017
PublisherKnopf Canada
ISBN-139780345815057
Rating
GenreMusic, Biography, Nonfiction, Culture, Pop Culture

Sticky Fingers Review

  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine is an outstanding biographical work of literary achievement. Author Joe Hagan received an invitation to Wenner’s home in 2013, originally he wanted Hagan to write for Rolling Stone, and later suggested Hagan pen his (authorized) biography. Hagan interviewed over 250 people: famous celebrities, musicians, industry insiders, including Jann’s former wife, Jane. Jann had tremendous influence and power as the editor of Rolli Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine is an outstanding biographical work of literary achievement. Author Joe Hagan received an invitation to Wenner’s home in 2013, originally he wanted Hagan to write for Rolling Stone, and later suggested Hagan pen his (authorized) biography. Hagan interviewed over 250 people: famous celebrities, musicians, industry insiders, including Jann’s former wife, Jane. Jann had tremendous influence and power as the editor of Rolling Stone Magazine that culturally and musically represented an entire generation/era. The vastly different ways Jann treated people—those above him, and those below him were explored. He also had a legitimate concern for being exposed, and reportedly defriended Hagan on Instagram after receiving his copy of the book. From the Garrett Press, Jann Wenner (1946-) released the first newsprint edition of Rolling Stone Magazine on October 18, 1967. While In England, he had witnessed the demand for professional print rock journalism first hand. Jann submitted photos to “The Oracle” and wrote articles for The Sunday Ramparts—that covered numerous rock bands, he had interviewed Muddy Waters. He loved the Beatles, and sported a similar look—he had longer hair and wore designer business suits. The term “rock critic” was nearly unheard of. As a failed novelist, he lacked confidence in his writing ability. Wenner’s expertise was in other areas—highly energetic and enthusiastic; he helped organize the Monterey Pop Festival. Jann married Jane Schindelheim in 1967, the couple worked tirelessly at Rolling Stone enlisting all the volunteer help they could find. Rolling Stone was the first commercially published magazine in the USA to focus on a serious level of rock journalism and music reviews, moving beyond the popular teen fan magazines -- Tiger Beat, Teen Beat, 16, and others.Hunter S. Thompson and Annie Leibovitz were among the most notable famous writers and photographers that launched their careers at Rolling Stone. The stories and interviews of Wenner’s friendships with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Douglas, Mick Jagger, Lorne Michaels, David Geffen (and others) portray his creativity and influence also his driving ambition for fame, wealth and power as he filled the role of “Mr. Rolling Stone”-- where fame and fortune usually followed those appearing on Rolling Stone magazine covers. Jann was also pictured with Bill Clinton, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and interviewing President Barak Obama.The true nature of the Wenner’s marriage and family life were complex, and were covered in a highly respectful manner. The Wenner’s had been married for decades, had three sons and a mansion in the Hamptons, still, Wenner was a closeted gay man. The truth of Wenner’s sexual preference was not an issue in the marriage; he had always been guarded and very discreet. In the 1990's, Jann became more outspoken advocating for gay rights associated with HIV/AIDS education and research. During the 1994 holiday season Jann announced he was leaving Jane to be with his 28 year old lover, Calvin Klein model Matt Nye. Jane was devastated; the news shocked many of their closest friends. In 2014, Jann was awarded the LennonOno Grant for Peace: at Jann’s acceptance speech in Iceland, he thanked Jane and Matt praising them as the loves of his life. After this casual public acknowledgement Jann’s family relationships improved significantly. Nye declined to be interviewed for the book.This is a splendid and potential award winning 511 page book not only of Wenner’s life but of rock music, the historical cultural influence of personalities, events and trends. It was good to see Hagan didn’t hastily compile the book or depend on sensational sordid details to encourage sales. Sixteen pages of excellent photos included. **With thanks to the Seattle Public Library.
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  • Harry Buckle
    January 1, 1970
    A five star book...about a less than one star opportunist, Rolling Stone Magazine owner Jann Wenner. Having my self spent 50 years in the music industry, fortunately with some success, I observed the birth of Rolling Stone and followed it- both the US and ill fated UK edition, until the current day. I share the view of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, John Lennon and others that Wenner was an odious hanger on, and remarkably free of charm or talent. The magazine did however fill a much needed nation A five star book...about a less than one star opportunist, Rolling Stone Magazine owner Jann Wenner. Having my self spent 50 years in the music industry, fortunately with some success, I observed the birth of Rolling Stone and followed it- both the US and ill fated UK edition, until the current day. I share the view of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, John Lennon and others that Wenner was an odious hanger on, and remarkably free of charm or talent. The magazine did however fill a much needed national gap in the US music media at the time. Given the costs of distribution, the margins available and other factors Mr Wenner is to be congratulated on seizing the moment. In those early days the majorly influential British New Musical Express had not yet become a home for fine creative writing, but was well respected by musicians and consumers on both sides of the pond. (I'm more Irish by the way, so we could diverge here to Hot Press or the equally excellent Australian mix of surf and music- Tracks.) So, there was a skill in taking Rolling Stone along the Playboy/Esquire/Village Voice route by adding some good writing. As my music companies started to have success around the world I found myself joining the PR folks at the major US music companies, concerned not to upset the by then 'all important Rolling Stone', and desperately trying to restrain my artists from venting their derision and distain for Wenner. 'For gods sake don't let him come backstage' was regularly to be heard. But given that Radio and TV promotion in the US music market was the most majorly corrupt in the world (Payola- oh no Sir, not us.) a decent feature in Rolling Stone could help promote a band more than somewhat. When Paul McCartney was eventually...endorsed into the Wenner dominated Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, Stella McCartney wore a T shirt that said: About F***ing Time. Mr Hagan's seriously excellent book tells a truth 'About f***ing time'. I note that many rank Donald Trump above Mr Wenner in their listing of US persons they respect! Given the still considerable influence of the magazine I fear that, much as I love them, not so many of my music industry contemporaries will put their heads above the parapet to tell it like it is. Mr Hagan's book does tell it like it is...and not 'all the news that fits' Mr Wenner's self seeking and still internationally ignorant ideal.
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  • Jason Diamond
    January 1, 1970
    I love a good media/publishing bio, and Joe Hagan's is one of the best I've ever read. Sure, the excess and greed on display make the subject into some coked up Machiavellian character, but it's also the people around him (some literally out of a Joan Didion novel), and the way Hagan uses his subject as a mirror to hold up to an entire generation, that makes this such a compelling book.
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  • Michael Ritchie
    January 1, 1970
    (4-1/2 stars) What a fun read! It manages to be gossipy while retaining a serious tone, covers tons of information clearly (the author had access to Wenner and his archives though Wenner did not have veto power over most of Hagan's writing), and brings to life the excitement of the early days of Rolling Stone, a magazine that was a big part of my coming-of-age experiences back in the early 70s. There is some repetition of details here and there, and things get a little choppy in the last third o (4-1/2 stars) What a fun read! It manages to be gossipy while retaining a serious tone, covers tons of information clearly (the author had access to Wenner and his archives though Wenner did not have veto power over most of Hagan's writing), and brings to life the excitement of the early days of Rolling Stone, a magazine that was a big part of my coming-of-age experiences back in the early 70s. There is some repetition of details here and there, and things get a little choppy in the last third of the book, but Hagan does a nice job of making Wenner a full-blooded figure; whenever I got to thinking, "Geez, this Wenner is a real asshole," Hagan would redeem him. Hagan also presents nicely fleshed-out portraits of others in Wenner's orbit including Annie Leibovitz, Mick Jagger, Hunter Thompson, and Wenner's wife Jane. This may not mean much if you never read Rolling Stone, but for fans of the magazine, I'd say this is a must-read.
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  • False
    January 1, 1970
    What a loathsome individual. I've always felt that, and time has proven even more so. Why I read this is a mystery. At best, it reinforced every belief I had already heard about or formed about this individual: a man given to hedonism, lies, rampant narcissism coupled with sociopathy, betrayal of friends, confused children and an ex-wife only too happy to live off the continued fatted calf. He consistently lives beyond his means, has no checks or balances in his life and gives over to any impuls What a loathsome individual. I've always felt that, and time has proven even more so. Why I read this is a mystery. At best, it reinforced every belief I had already heard about or formed about this individual: a man given to hedonism, lies, rampant narcissism coupled with sociopathy, betrayal of friends, confused children and an ex-wife only too happy to live off the continued fatted calf. He consistently lives beyond his means, has no checks or balances in his life and gives over to any impulse without rhyme or reason. Bleh. Can "bleh" be a review? Blech. Even better.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    A great read!I love rock n roll, and I loved this book. I've never actually read an issue of Rolling Stone, and I'm a bit vague about some of the songwriters and singers mentioned. But it didn't matter. The book moves through Jann Wenner's life, entertaining as it goes.
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  • R.j. Ward
    January 1, 1970
    Jann Wenner was right, the book is tawdry, and I would have been interested in hearing more about how the magazine evolved through the 80s, 90s and beyond rather than the umpteenth cocaine story. Still, it's a solid read, and never boring.
  • Milo Geyelin
    January 1, 1970
    Really well done. Captures Jann Wenner and the spirit of the times as he evolved with it it through the decades. A lively, detailed and even-handed portrait. Wenner hates this book, but he should be pleased.
  • Sheelah Kolhatkar
    January 1, 1970
    Delicious
  • Roger
    January 1, 1970
    I know why Jann Wenner apparently did not like this book. He is referred to as "plump" about 47 times. Also, he comes off as a jackass. To be fair, he really seems to be one.
  • William Sedlack
    January 1, 1970
    I admire Hagan's writing and think that he did a stand-up job but I was so sick of Wenner by the end that I was thankful that the book was over.
  • PWRL
    January 1, 1970
    A
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