Rolling Stone helped define the counterculture epoch. It filled its pages with the words of renowned writers, including Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Cameron Crowe and Greil Marcus. Its covers minted stars. And while it focused on music, its influence ultimately stretched into pop culture, entertainment and politics.
“It was a magazine about music and the attitudes and things that music embraced,” said Jann S. Wenner, the Rolling Stone founder who has put it up for sale. “Rolling Stone has been one of the great magazines of our time.”
Rolling Stone not only covered music, it was enshrined in it: A song written by a poet and illustrator best known for his children’s books, Shel Silverstein, irreverently captured the essence of rock ‘n roll stardom.
Wanna see my picture on the cover
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Wanna see my smilin’ face
On the cover of the Rolling Stone.
John Lennon appeared on the cover of the magazine’s first issue, followed by nearly every rock star, and many celebrities, from the 1960s onward. Mr. Wenner was a particular fan of Bob Dylan, who has appeared on the cover nearly two dozen times.
Provocative photography was also one of the magazine’s hallmarks. The celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz began her association with the magazine in the early 1970s and set the tone for whimsical and insightful portraits, like her 1981 cover photo of Meryl Streep.
Celebrity access — to rock stars and political giants alike — was one of Rolling Stone’s greatest assets. Mr. Wenner himself conducted some of the magazine’s biggest interviews, including with Barack Obama, as a candidate and later as a president. “The access you get everywhere is phenomenal,” Mr. Wenner said.