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Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone 2022.svg
Editor Noah Shachtman
Categories Popular culture
Frequency Monthly
Publisher Brian Szejka
Total circulation
(June 2023)
Founder Jann Wenner
Ralph J. Gleason
First issue November 9, 1967; 56 years ago (1967-11-09)
Company Penske Media Corporation
Country United States
Based in New York City, U.S. (475 Fifth Ave 10th Floor New York, NY 10017)
Language English
ISSN 0035-791X
OCLC number 969027590

Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on music, politics, and popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Jann Wenner and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason.

The magazine was first known for its coverage of rock music and political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine broadened and shifted its focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. It has since returned to its traditional mix of content, including music, entertainment, and politics.

The first magazine was released in 1967 and featured John Lennon on the cover, and was then published every two weeks.

Penske Media Corporation is the current owner of Rolling Stone, having purchased 51 percent of the magazine in 2017 and the remaining 49 percent in 2020. Noah Shachtman became the editor-in-chief in 2021.


1967 to 1979: Founding and early history

Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and Ralph J. Gleason. To pay for the setup costs, Wenner borrowed $7,500 from his family and the parents of his soon-to-be wife, Jane Schindelheim. The first issue was released on November 9, 1967, and featured John Lennon in costume for the film How I Won the War on the cover. It was in newspaper format with a lead article on the Monterey Pop Festival. The cover price was 25¢ (equivalent to $2.27 in 2023) and it was published bi-weekly.

In the first issue, Wenner explained that the title of the magazine came from the old saying "A rolling stone gathers no moss". He also mentioned the 1950 blues song "Rollin' Stone", recorded by Muddy Waters, the Rolling Stones band, and Bob Dylan's 1965 hit single "Like a Rolling Stone":Some authors have attributed the name solely to Dylan's hit single: "At [Ralph] Gleason's suggestion, Wenner named his magazine after a Bob Dylan song."

Rolling Stone initially identified with and reported the hippie counterculture of the era.

However, it distanced itself from the underground newspapers of the time, such as Berkeley Barb, embracing more traditional journalistic standards and avoiding the radical politics of the underground press.

The magazine's long-running slogan, "All the news that fits", was provided by early contributor, manager and sometime editor Susan Lydon. She lifted it from an April Fools issue of the Columbia Daily Spectator which posted "All the news that fits we print", a parody of The New York Times' slogan, "All the News That's Fit to Print". The first appearance of the rubric was in 1969.

In the 1970s, Rolling Stone began to make a mark with its political coverage, with the likes of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson writing for the magazine's political section. In the 1970s, the magazine also helped launch the careers of many prominent authors, including Cameron Crowe, Lester Bangs, Joe Klein, Joe Eszterhas, Ben Fong-Torres, Patti Smith and P. J. O'Rourke. It was at this point that the magazine ran some of its most famous stories. The January 21, 1970, issue covered the Altamont Free Concert and the death of Meredith Hunter, which won a Specialized Journalism award at the National Magazine Awards in 1971. Later in 1970, Rolling Stone published a 30,000-word feature on Charles Manson by David Dalton and David Felton, including their interview of Manson when he was in the LA County Jail awaiting trial, which won Rolling Stone its first National Magazine Award. Four years later, they also covered the Patty Hearst abduction odyssey. One interviewer, speaking for many of his peers, said that he bought his first copy of the magazine upon initial arrival on his college campus, describing it as a "rite of passage".

In 1972, Wenner assigned Tom Wolfe to cover the launch of NASA's last Moon mission, Apollo 17. He published a four-part series in 1973 titled "Post-Orbital Remorse", about the depression that some astronauts experienced after having been in space. After the series, Wolfe began researching the whole of the space program, in what became a seven-year project from which he took time to write The Painted Word, a book on art, and to complete Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, a collection of shorter pieces and eventually The Right Stuff.

Rolling Stone recruited writers from smaller music magazines, including Paul Nelson from Sing Out!, who became record reviews editor from 1978 to 1983, and Dave Marsh from Creem.

In 1977, the magazine moved its headquarters from San Francisco to New York City. Editor Jann Wenner said San Francisco had become "a cultural backwater".

1980 to 1999: Change to entertainment magazine

Kurt Loder joined Rolling Stone in May 1979 and spent nine years there, including as editor. Timothy White joined as a writer from Crawdaddy and David Fricke from Musician. Tom Wolfe wrote to Wenner to propose an idea drawn from Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray: to serialize a novel. Wenner offered Wolfe around $200,000 to serialize his work. The frequent deadline pressure gave Wolfe the motivation he had sought, and from July 1984 to August 1985, he published a new installment in each biweekly issue of Rolling Stone. Later Wolfe was unhappy with his "very public first draft" and thoroughly revised his work, even changing his protagonist, Sherman McCoy, and published it as The Bonfire of the Vanities in 1987.

Rolling Stone was known for its musical coverage and for Thompson's political reporting and in 1985, they hired an advertising agency to refocus its image under the series "Perception/Reality" comparing Sixties symbols to those of the Eighties, which led to an increase in advertising revenue and pages. It also shifted to more of an entertainment magazine in the 1980s. It still had music as the main topic but began to increase its coverage of celebrities, films, and pop culture. It also began releasing its annual "Hot Issue". In the 1990s, the magazine changed its format to appeal to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. This led to criticism that the magazine was emphasizing style over substance.

2000 to 2015: Expansion of readership

RS 500 Front Cover
Rolling Stone cover from 2004

After years of declining readership, the magazine experienced a major resurgence of interest and relevance with the work of two young journalists in the late 2000s, Michael Hastings and Matt Taibbi. Rob Sheffield also joined from Spin. In 2005, Dana Leslie Fields, former publisher of Rolling Stone, who had worked at the magazine for 17 years, was an inaugural inductee into the Magazine Hall of Fame.

Since 2016: New ownership

In September 2016, Advertising Age reported that Wenner was in the process of selling a 49% stake of the magazine to a company from Singapore called BandLab Technologies. The new investor had no direct involvement in the editorial content of the magazine.

In September 2017, Wenner Media announced that the remaining 51% of Rolling Stone magazine was up for sale. In December 2017, Penske Media acquired the remaining stake from Wenner Media. It became a monthly magazine from the July 2018 issue. On January 31, 2019, Penske acquired BandLab's 49% stake in Rolling Stone, gaining full ownership of the magazine.

In January 2021, a Chinese edition of the magazine was launched, while in September 2021, Rolling Stone launched a dedicated UK edition in conjunction with Attitude magazine publisher Stream Publishing. The new British Rolling Stone launched into a marketplace which already featured titles like Mojo and BandLab Technologies's monthly music magazine Uncut. The first issue had a choice of three cover stars (including music acts Bastille and Sam Fender, as well as No Time To Die actor Lashana Lynch), with the magazine due to be a bi-monthly publication.

In February 2022, Rolling Stone announced the acquisition of Life Is Beautiful, saying, "Live events are an integral part of Rolling Stone's future."

In 2023 Rolling Stone was nominated for its first-ever Emmy award in the "Outstanding Interactive Media" category for its investigation into "The DJ and the War Crimes." The piece also won a National Magazine Award for digital design and an Overseas Press Club Award. In December, 2023 Rolling Stone collected five National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards, four Front Page Awards, and a Deadline Cub award.

Print format

The printed format has gone through several changes. The first publications, in 1967 to 1972, were in folded tabloid newspaper format, with no staples, only black ink text, and a single color highlight that changed each edition. From 1973 onwards, editions were produced on a four-color press with a different newsprint paper size. In 1979, the bar code appeared. In 1980, it became a gloss-paper, large-format (10 × 12 inch) magazine. Editions switched to the standard 8 × 11 inch magazine size starting with the issue dated October 30, 2008. Starting with the new monthly July 2018 issue, it returned to the previous 10 × 12 inch large format.


Rolling Stone devotes one of its table of contents pages to promoting material currently appearing on its website, listing detailed links to the items.

On April 19, 2010, the website underwent a redesign and began featuring the complete archives of Rolling Stone. The archive was first launched under a for-pay model, but has since transitioned to a free-with-print-subscription model. In the spring of 2012, Rolling Stone launched a federated search feature, which searches both the website and the archive.

The website has become an interactive source of biographical information on music artists in addition to historical rankings from the magazine. Users can cross-reference lists and they are also provided with historical insights. For biographical information on all artists, the website contains a directory listed alphabetically.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Rolling Stone para niños

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