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On This Day in History: The First Edition of Rolling Stone Was Published

publishing meeting

On this day in 1967, the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine was published.

On November 9, 1967, Jann Wenner and Ralph J. Gleason published the first issue of Rolling Stone in San Francisco, California.  While the magazine was initially created to cover rock music and political reporting, by 1990 the magazine’s focus expanded to cover television shows, actors, and other genres of music.  Today, Rolling Stone is one of the most famous and widely-read magazines in America, drawing readers in with its provocative photography and engaging mix of music, entertainment, and political content.

In honor of this iconic magazine’s anniversary, we’d like to share some of these interesting facts about the first issue of Rolling Stone.

  • To launch the magazine, Jann Wenner borrowed $7,500 from his family and his future wife’s parents.
  • John Lennon graced the cover of the first issue of the magazine.
  • The magazine used a newspaper format and the top headline was about the Monterey Pop Festival.
  • The first edition of Rolling Stone sold for 25 cents. This is equivalent to about $1.88 in 2016.
  • Wenner explained that the magazine’s title was a reference to the 1950 Muddy Waters song “Rollin’ Stone” and Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.”

Many well-known writers and journalists, including Hunter S. Thompson, Cameron Crowe, Lester Bangs, and Greil Marcus, started their careers with Rolling Stone. As the magazine increasingly came to define significant trends and discerning taste in rock and pop music,  appearances on its cover were coveted by established as well as up-and-coming musicians as emblems of critical success. Along with the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Madonna, and many other musicians, Rolling Stone’s cover featured significant actors, writers, and politicians, such as Jack Nicholson, Susan Sontag, and Bill Clinton.  In an effort to enhance its image, the magazine moved its offices to New York City in 1977.

In May 2006 Rolling Stone printed its 1,000th issue. Its success through the decades was due to its ability to adapt to constantly changing musical, political, and cultural climates. Issues of Rolling Stone typically include music and movie reviews, celebrity stories and photographs, information on new artists, fashion advice, and articles on politics. Rolling Stone has influenced pop culture through its “all-time greatest” lists, such as the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” (issued in November 2003) and the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” (issued in November 2008).

Join us at The Maria Sanchez Show as we celebrate the anniversary of Rolling Stone magazine.   Don’t forget to check out our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown.   Tune in on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PDT/7:00 p.m. EDT.

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