Over the course of five decades, Jann Wenner has put an indelible stamp on American culture. As founding editor of Rolling Stone, Wenner and his trailblazing magazine came to embody the freewheeling excesses of the sixties, shaping and reporting on a countercultural narrative that still exists today. As a subject, however, Wenner has proved controlling and elusive, successfully avoiding the inquiries of biographers and resisting biography… until now. In Joe Hagan’s long-awaited bombshell – Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine – Wenner opens up his personal and professional life to the scrutiny of a biographer/journalist for the first time. Sticky Fingers is based on Hagan’s extensive interviews with Wenner and on original source reporting, and it draws from Wenner’s vast archive of correspondence and rare documents, items that have never been made available to a journalist before.
In Sticky Fingers, Hagan reports on the mercurial editor by securing on-the-record interviews with iconic subjects who know Wenner well, including Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Bono, Art Garfunkel, Elton John, Cameron Crowe, Keith Richards, Pete Townsend, Yoko Ono, Lorne Michaels, Michael Douglas, Billy Joel, Bette Midler, David Geffen, Tom Wolfe, Annie Leibovitz, and Danny Fields, among others. Their candid and revealing comments depict the extremes Wenner has been willing to visit in pursuit of both pleasure and success, and help to explain how Rolling Stone became a locus of power and influence and headline-making news, from Altamont to Fear and Loathing to the University of Virginia rape case.
Hagan also reports on the legendary excesses that have defined Rolling Stone, unearthing stunning revelations about the private lives and secret histories of the principals in Wenner’s orbit – among them Hunter S. Thompson, Annie Leibovitz, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, and a Hall-of-Fame cast of rock ‘n’ rollers (Wenner himself is not spared). Many dramas at the heart of contemporary music history, including feuds over money (Wenner with Lennon), confrontations over coverage (Wenner with Dylan), secret deals and pacts (Wenner with Jagger), epic infidelities and sex triangles (including love affairs that nearly destroyed Rolling Stone), tempestuous relationships that led to stunning betrayals, and drug overdoses that nearly resulted in death, are told in these pages for the very first time.
Sticky Fingers gives readers a nuanced portrait of a man who helped define a generation, and provides an explosive chronicle of an era.
About the Author
Joe Hagan has written for Rolling Stone and also for New York, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. He has published long-form profiles and investigative exposés of some of the most significant figures and subjects of our time, including Hillary Clinton, in her first post-Secretary of State interview, Karl Rove, the Bush family, Henry Kissinger, Dan Rather, Goldman Sachs, The New York Times, and Twitter.