Rolling Stone Founder Jann Wenner Talks New Memoirs and Iconic Covers by Britney, Lennon, Go-Go and Cassidy

rolling stone the brand new autobiography of journal founder Jann Wenner, Like a Rolling Stone: Memoirs, is a sprawling account of a captivating life, its over 500 pages crammed with tales of relationship his spouse after 25 years of marriage, his political reporting and activism, and his deep friendships with Mick Jagger, Jackie Onassis, Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Hunter S. Thompson, and John Lennon. However as Wenner speaks with Yahoo Leisure for our Under the covers sequence, the dialog naturally turns to rolling stone‘s most iconic – and notorious – covers.

Jann Wenner in 1970. (Photo: Getty Images)

Jann Wenner in 1970. (Picture: Getty Pictures)

When requested which is his favourite rolling stone cowl, Wenner doesn’t hesitate to reply. “Effectively, John and Yoko’s, their second nude…which Annie Leibovitz took three days earlier than she died, is actually essentially the most iconic, recognizable and well-known cowl,” he says.

Lennon and Wenner/rolling stone shared an extended story – Lennon appeared on the duvet of the journal’s very first problem in 1967, and after Wenner contacted John Lennon and Yoko Ono in regards to the publication of the broadly banned couple two virgins nude images, their hyperlink was up. As detailed in Like a rolling stoneWenner and his then-wife Jane accompanied the couple to a screening of the Beatles documentary So be it then cried with them on the street outdoors the theater in regards to the group’s impending breakup, and Wenner’s “Lennon Remembers” interview in 1970 was so explosive and thorough that it was finally printed as a separate e-book. entire. When the January 22, 1981 problem of rolling stone ran after John’s tragic homicide, Wenner made certain to slide a secret message to Yoko and Sean that Beatles lovers did not discover out till years later, which makes this Leibovitz cowl much more particular. Within the observe, Wenner swore to look after Lennon’s widow and little one. Wenner later turned godfather to Lennon and Ono’s son, Sean.

“I used to be only a automotive crash of emotion…I used to be distraught, and distraught, and really emotional about the entire occasions. And so, similar to the final thought, like a little bit final little prayer to John, I ‘wrote it by hand and slipped it into the problem the place nobody may discover it, proper the place the staples had been, proper within the binding. And I by no means advised anybody about it,’ reveals Wenner “And someway it began popping out. I do not understand how – I assume it is the identical individuals who hearken to the information in reverse and discover ‘Paul Is Useless”, you realize what I imply? Somebody discovered it and it was finally handed on to Yoko, who type of made it public.

Jann Wenner with Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon at the 19th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2004. (Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Jann Wenner with Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon on the nineteenth Annual Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2004. (Picture: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Different covers had been extra controversial. In mild of the #FreeBritney motion, Framing Britney Spears, and up to date revelations in regards to the hell a younger Spears endured all through her profession, the pop star’s racy cowl “Contained in the Coronary heart, Thoughts & Bed room of a Teen Dream” – photographed by David LaChapelle, simply earlier than Spears’ 18th birthday in 1999 – is certainly being a viewer in a brand new mild. However Wenner sticks to the {photograph} and insists that Spears was completely okay together with her.

“David LaChapelle took nice photos for rolling stone. He did Kanye West, who seemed fabulous, carrying a crown of thorns and holding a stick of dynamite. I imply he did many, many, however one of the memorable was this Britney Spears, when she was holding the ‘Homosexual Teletubby’ – the purple, the triangle,” he laughs. “It was good. I imply, it made enjoyable of all of the nonsense that was happening about this factor. And in addition, it was an actual perception into Britney. [La Chapelle] put her in her little teenage issues, her bike, her quick shorts and her sizzling bikinis. And his self-the sexualization was so robust. And this was simply representing that. We weren’t doing something to overly sexualize her, we had been simply selecting up our cues from her.

“I do not know if it was her concept, however she undoubtedly had company,” Wenner continues. “Actually, something you watch with Britney, she knew what she was doing all this time. … So I believe [criticism of the cover] is all unsuitable. To his credit score, it was superior stuff. It is memorable, and it is by no means perverted or bizarre or something. She is totally dressed. She’s simply making a press release about her sexuality – and that is what her music did, you realize? And that was the message: when you assume youngsters don’t get near that stage of grownup sexuality, you are unsuitable and you are not speaking to your youngsters. You do not see what is going on in society.

Britney Spears on the cover of Rolling Stone, 1999. (Photo: David LaChapelle/Rolling Stone)

Britney Spears on the duvet of Rolling Stone, 1999. (Picture: David LaChapelle/Rolling Stone)

One group of feminine musicians who weren’t thrilled with their horny cowl had been the Go-Gos, who had been, they are saying, forced by Leibovitz to pose in Hanes tighty-whiteys then livid when the picture was posted with the title “The Go-Go’s Put Out”. (The 2-way title of their second, extra modest cowl, “Girls on High,” wasn’t significantly better.)

“They had been pissed off,” admits Wenner. “They rating some extent, you realize? I imply, [those headlines] had been meant for amusement and silliness. I believe on the time, I am unsure individuals had been so delicate to the type of sexism that will encompass such a title as we speak. I imply, in all probability no one would submit that as we speak as a headline. … So we’re speaking about uh, 40 years in the past. The occasions are completely different.

rolling stone has typically been criticized for its sexualized cowl pictures – normally of girls, a few of whom weren’t even musicians, equivalent to Remoted MTV vixen Jenny McCarthy suggestively coats a sizzling canine with mustard or Pals it-girl Jennifer Aniston mendacity together with her naked behind uncovered. Fortuitously, these editorial selections didn’t hurt the journal’s status, because it featured each award-winning music and political protection. And maybe unsurprisingly, these points had been among the many journal’s greatest newsstand hits.

“Yeah, stunning ladies normally promote,” Wenner shrugs, including, “I believe I all the time thought intercourse attraction was one of many huge, huge details of rock ‘n’ roll: the look, vogue, type and intercourse attraction.. I imply, what’s rock ‘n’ roll on? Let’s begin at the start, you realize: dance, get nearer, beat, get excited. I imply… ah!”

Wenner remarks with a chuckle that rolling stone tried to place horny males in varied states of stripping on its annual “Sizzling Situation,” however “it by no means labored.” Moreover, he questions the choice to submit a “bizarre” cowl picture of youngster idol Donny Osmond in a software belt within the ’70s, however is happy with Leibovitz’s well-known nude picture of David Cassidy, who marked a “profession change” for this reluctant. teenybopper and helped Cassidy shed her Keith Partridge picture for good.

“Hear, there have been plenty of shirtless males on the duvet, wanting provocative and sizzling and horny,” Wenner notes, even laughing at an notorious Al Gore cowl picture from 2000 that sparked rumors that the politician’s khaki bulge had been digitally enhanced. “Al known as me. He mentioned, “I hear all this stuff. … Let me ask you one thing: is that this a very good factor or a foul factor? To which Wenner naturally replied: “It is a good factor, Al!

That being mentioned, Wenner admits, “In fact, we’ll get some issues unsuitable.” And it isn’t simply referring to Osmond’s software belt picture. He admits that rolling stone was far too vital of Led Zeppelin at first, a lot in order that “after they lastly reluctantly caved into doing a canopy, Jimmy Web page confirmed as much as the duvet session with a bouquet of lifeless roses.” He additionally remembers with nice amusement receiving an indignant letter from Roger Taylor – the drummer of Queen, one other band the journal inexplicably mocked on the time – on a bag of airplane vomit. After which there was the second when Buddy Miles, livid at a damaging overview, confirmed up angrily at rolling stone HQ. “We despatched the most important man within the workplace to shut the cope with him, however [Miles] was a lot taller and he slammed him towards the wall, above the water fountain, raging in all places. He did not harm anybody, however he was essentially the most sad,” Wenner recalled.

“Like a Rolling Stone: A Memoir” by Jann Wenner. (Picture: Little, Brown and firm)

Contemplating all of the controversy and commotion rolling stone agitated, Wenner clearly did one thing proper – 55 years after the journal launched within the midst of the counterculture revolution of the Sixties, we’re nonetheless speaking about all these pictures and articles. And whereas Wenner’s Boomer era is criticized for his or her supposed rising conservatism, Wenner says, “I do not see it. I nonetheless imagine in peace and love. I believe my era did an excellent job, and are nonetheless round, for essentially the most half. And a part of the explanation I wrote the e-book is to ensure that’s understood. There’s been sufficient tradition warfare bullshit. Bought sufficient of calling younger individuals to be hippies and all that, and pondering, “Your era simply left in a large number.” That is not the reality. The reality is that we’ve got carried out plenty of issues: important and necessary issues.

“Why did I begin rolling stone, it was a part of the imaginative and prescient we had that music itself had large social, political, ethical, moral, highly effective messages, and that they had been communicated to individuals. Not the standard politics of the time, however extra of a type of ethical politics – the politics of Bob Dylan, of alienation, of what is going on on in society. And it turned an necessary aspect of music and one thing that I wished to cope with personally. I felt that music… was one of the simplest ways to see politics, by way of the prism of what the rock ‘n’ roll poets had been saying.

Study extra about Yahoo Leisure:

Observe Lyndsey on Facebook, Twitter, instagram, Amazon

Leave a Comment