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Rolling Stone’s Biggest Scoops, Exposés and Controversies

Rolling Stone's Biggest Scoops, Exposés and Controversies

Photograph by John Lennon

Rolling Stone's first anniversary issue featured its first nude cover subjects: John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It was also the magazine's first issue to completely sell out on newsstands. Read "John and Yoko – Busted and Naked" from Issue 22 in All Access now.

Lennon Opens Up About Beatles' Breakup

Photograph by Annette Yorke

Lennon Opens Up About Beatles’ Breakup

As the biggest band in the world was breaking up, John Lennon sat down with Rolling Stone to explain what happened in an extensive, groundbreaking interview about the fall of the Beatles. "After Brian [Epstein] died, we collapsed," Lennon said. "Paul took over and supposedly led us. But what is leading us, when we went round in circles? We broke up then. That was the disintegration." Read "Man of the Year" from Issue 51 in All Access now.

Manson Speaks Out

Manson Speaks Out

Rolling Stone won a National Magazine Award for its exclusive 1970 prison interview with Charles Manson. Writer David Dalton said that Manson talked to RS over the newspapers because he wanted his album plugged.

David Cassidy Rejects Bubblegum Image

Photograph by Annie Leibovitz

David Cassidy Rejects Bubblegum Image

David Cassidy was the biggest TV and music star when he let Rolling Stone photograph him naked in 1972. He also spoke frankly about his drug use and unhappiness with his bubblegum sound. "It pissed off everybody that was profiting from the business of David Cassidy," he said later. Read "Naked Lunch Box" from Issue 108 in All Access now.

Getty Kidnapping Victim Speaks Out

Photograph by Annie Leibovitz

Getty Kidnapping Victim Speaks Out

In 1973, oil billionaire Paul Getty's 16-year-old grandson was kidnapped and held for a $3.2 billion ransom. When he was recovered — minus most of his right ear — he granted his first interview to Rolling Stone's Joe Eszterhas. Read "The Getty Kidnapping" from Issue 160 in All Access now.

Bizarre Patty Hearst Kidnapping Details Revealed

Bizarre Patty Hearst Kidnapping Details Revealed

Journalists Howard Kohn and David Weir scored one of the biggest scoops of the 1970s when they broke the story of how kidnapping victim Patty Hearst was transformed from a 19-year-old heiress into Tania, a self-described "urban guerilla," and gun-toting member of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Kohn and Weir spent four months tracing her journey across America and conducting interviews. In an unprecedented move, the two-part story began on the cover of Rolling Stone. Read "The Inside Story" from Issue 198 in All Access now.

Earl Butz Mouths Off

Earl Butz Mouths Off

Rolling Stone sent former White House Counsel John Dean, who had just gotten out of prison for his role in Watergate, to cover the 1976 Republican National Convention in Kansas City. In the piece, he recounted a joke Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz told him: "I'll tell you what coloreds want," Butz said. "It's three things: first, a tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit. That's all!" Butz resigned soon after.

Elton John Comes Out of the Closet

Photograph by David Nutter

Elton John Comes Out of the Closet

As strange at it seems now, Elton John was still firmly in the closet when he sat down with Rolling Stone in 1976. "I've never talked about this before," he said. "I'm besexual. There's nothing wrong with going to bed with somebody of your own sex." The revelation sent his record sales plummeting. Read "Elton John: It's Lonely at the Top" from Issue 223 in All Access now.

Silkwood Murder Theory Introduced

Silkwood Murder Theory Introduced

Karen Silkwood was a chemical technician and a labor activist at an Oklahoma nuclear power plant who blew the whistle on their unsafe and illegal safety measures, shortly before becoming contaminating with plutonium and dying in a car accident. In a 12,000-word article from 1977, Howard Kohn argued she was murdered. Read "The Case of Karen Silkwood" from Issue 230 in All Access now.

Israel Builds 15 Nuclear Bombs

Israel Builds 15 Nuclear Bombs

In 1977, Rolling Stone reporters Howard Koh and Barbara Newman revealed how Israeli intelligence agents acquired enriched uranium from a Pennsylvania nuclear plant and hijacked trucks in England and France. Israel used the nuclear material to fashion at least 15 nuclear bombs to use as a last-resort in a Mid-East war. The news stunned the international community. Read "How Israel Got the Nuclear Bomb" from Issue 253 in All Access now.

Journalists Exposed as Secret CIA Operatives

Journalists Exposed as Secret CIA Operatives

Months after leaving The Washington Post, where he uncovered the Watergate scandal with partner Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein spent six months examining the relationship between the CIA and the media during the Cold War for RS. The groundbreaking piece exposed the fact that more than 400 American journalists,­ including reporters for The New York Times, Associated Press and Reuters, doubled as CIA operatives. "Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services — from simple intelligence-gathering to serving as go-betweens with spies in Communist countries," Bernstein wrote. Read "The CIA and the Media" from Issue 250 in All Access now.

AIDS Explained

AIDS Explained

AIDS was still a mystery to both the public and many scientists when David Black wrote this award-winning two-part feature about the disease in 1985. Black explained the nearly unimaginable suffering AIDS had inflicted upon the gay community, and prophetically laid out how it would soon spread to the rest of the world. Read "The Plague Years" from Issue 444 in All Access now.

Birth of Fast Food Nation

Birth of Fast Food Nation

Twelve years ago, reporter Eric Schlosser set out on a cross-country journey to discover how fast food restaurants were affecting agriculture, the economy and America's health. The two-part article was turned into a best-selling book, and later a movie. Read "Fast Food Nation" from Issue 800 in All Access now.

David Crosby Revealed as Father of Melissa Etheridge's Children

Photograph by Mark Seliger

David Crosby Revealed as Father of Melissa Etheridge’s Children

In the late 1990s, Americans had two worries: will Y2K kill us all, and who is the father of Melissa Etheridge's children? The rumor mill pointed to everybody from Brad Pitt to Bruce Springsteen, but in early 2000, Etheridge got tired of dodging the question and announced it was David Crosby on the cover of Rolling Stone. Read "Melissa's Secret" from Issue 833 in All Access now.

Generation Kill

Generation Kill

Journalist Evan Wright spent two months embedded as a reporter with the marines during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Occasionally brandishing a weapon and frequently in danger, Wright wrote a gripping three-part account of the early days of the war. "Generation Kill" won a National Magazine Award for Excellence in Reporting, and was later turned into an HBO mini series.

The Man Who Sold The War by James Bamford

The Man Who Sold The War by James Bamford

During the run-up to the Iraqi war, the Bush Administration hired "perception management" expert John Rendon to sell the public and journalists on the merits of the war. For $16 million, Rendon fed journalists, including Judith Miller of The New York Times, bogus intelligence about Iraq's WMD program.

Ohio Election Stolen

Ohio Election Stolen

George W. Bush's re-election in 2004 all came down to Ohio. Bush won the state (and thus the presidency) by nearly 119,000 votes, but in a Rolling Stone investigation, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. alleged that Republicans prevented more than 350,000 Democrats in the state from casting ballots.

The Great American Bubble Machine

The Great American Bubble Machine

When the American economy began tanking in 2008, nobody knew quite who to blame, but Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi argued that much of it was the doing of Goldman Sachs. "The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money," Taibbi wrote. "In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates." Read "The Great American Bubble Machine" from Issue 1082 in All Access now.

Obama Criticized for Role in BP Oil Spill

Obama Criticized for Role in BP Oil Spill

A Democrat in the White House has never led to Rolling Stone laying off the executive branch. ?Like the attacks by Al Qaeda, the disaster in the Gulf was preceded by ample warnings — yet the administration had ignored them,? RS's Tim Dickinson wrote in Issue 1107. ?Instead of cracking down on MMS, as he had vowed to do even before taking office, Obama left in place many of the top officials who oversaw the agency's culture of corruption. He permitted it to rubber-stamp dangerous drilling operations by BP — a firm with the worst safety record of any oil company — with virtually no environmental safeguards, using industry-friendly regulations drafted during the Bush years." Read "The Spill, The Scandal and The President" from Issue 1107 in All Access now.

Runaway General

Runaway General

President Barack Obama relieved his top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, from duty after the military leader disparaged his bosses to Rolling Stone's Michael Hastings. The bombshell story led Obama to summon McChrystal to DC from the Middle East, and replace the general with David Petraeus. Read "The Runaway General" from Issue 1108-1109 now.

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