Reading Jann Wenner’s memoir, “Like a Rolling Stone,” was like taking a tour back in time to a happier, more soul-searching time in my life. I was a child of the seventies but when it came to music it was always rock and roll for my friends and I.
After playing hours of basketball late into the summer evenings, we would walk to the closest deli and buy cases of beer (Back in the Bronx they didn’t ask for identification) and drop or smoke whatever illegal substance was available. We would sit on the benches right above the basketball courts, drink our beer, and listen to the music of Dylan, The Doors, The Who, The Beatles, The Stones, Elton John, Pink Floyd, etc. We would converse about the meanings of the lyrics, and more often than not we agreed. Rock and Roll was our anthem, and to this very day, 50 years later, it is still the dominant music force in my life.
Mr. Wenner’s memoir is the history of his famous magazine “Rolling Stone,” and whereas it was most certainly one of the major driving forces behind the music of rock and roll, it was a magazine that went beyond just the music, and won many awards for outstanding articles on politics, wasteful military spending, the issue of segregation, women’s rights, climate change, sexuality, gun safety, etc.
In a sense, it was a magazine, under the leadership of Mr. Wenner, that one might want to compare to 1927 Yankees. He assembled an all-star staff…many of who started at the lowest levels and worked their way up, and Mr. Wenner is not shy in giving credit to the outstanding work that they did.
The memoir is full of the many famous people Mr. Wenner interviewed and who became lifelong friends, but the memoir shines brightest when he recalls the more extensive conversations and friendships he had with Jackie Kennedy Onassis, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Douglas, and Hunter Thompson.
Mr. Wenner mostly stays away from bad mouthing any one group or individual. He is at the core a conscientious reporter and editor, and his magazine and the causes he funded and supported is a legacy that will forever live on and yes, “Rock and Roll will never die.” I highly recommend.