The Roots of ”Rolling Stone” Magazine

One of the most successful underground publications that resulted from the 1960s and 1970s counterculture was Rolling Stone Magazine. Founded by Jann Wenner and Ralph J. Gleason in 1967, Rolling Stone quickly gained popularity amongst readers and advertisers. Despite being founded in the counterculture center of the United States, the magazine failed to embrace many of the norms of that community, which is precisely what allowed it to become so successful. Its superficial political coverage, critical music reviews, and experienced writers and editors propelled the magazine to the level of success unknown by other underground publications.

Cover of the first print of Rolling Stone Magazine from 1967 featured John Lennon as Private Gripweed in Richard Lester’s film How I Won the War.

In November 1967, from a small print shop in the Haight-Ashbury, Jann Wenner, a twenty-one-year-old English-major Berkeley drop out, and Ralph J. Gleason, a jazz critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, ran the first prints of their magazine titled Rolling Stone. Both determined writers and fans of rock and roll, Wenner and Gleason used their combined experience to create a publication that documented and later influenced the music industry. The success of the magazine was rooted in Wenner’s experience as an editor, as well as the rise of counterculture in San Francisco… read more >

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