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Notes on Our Tenth Anniversary

Jann Wenner with some thoughts on the magazine’s first decade, and on what lies ahead

Rolling Stone Magazine, Avedon, Tom Hayden

Fashion, celebrity and art photographer, Richard Avedon, poses activist Tom Hayden during a photo session for Rolling Stone Magazine, August 1st, 1976

George Rose/Getty

“As attractive as it looks or may have looked, as lucrative and egoistic as the illusion is, we again disclaim for ROLLING STONE the role as spokesman for anybody other than the people who write it and get it off the presses and onto the counters. We speak only for ourselves, hoping only that we do well in our own terms, as businessmen and journalists — that people will be interested in the same things we are and at least respect our point of view.”
– November 11th, 1971
“ON THE OCCASION OF OUR FOURTH ANNIVERSARY”

AND NOW I, TOO, AM over thirty. Odd to think that ten years have passed . . . years that began with little more than a good idea, good luck, a bit of money and the help of two remarkable friends, the late Ralph Gleason and my wife, Jane. That’s how ROLLING STONE started.

Despite the passage of the years and the changes in the times I still have a passion for the news and, I think, a fuller understanding of the strength and value of this weird but necessary medium. We try to capture the spirit of the times, mindful always of the Rolling Stones’ lyric, “Who wants yesterday’s papers? Who wants yesterday’s girl? Nobody in the world.”

We’ve been through many changes and considered many ideas. ROLLING STONE is now some 140 staffers and a $16-million a year enterprise. We’ve moved from San Francisco to New York City and started a new magazine, Outside. Change — the ability to see it and live with it — explains much of what ROLLING STONE is about. In this issue we have yet another change: a new logo. It symbolizes as much as anything what we are up to: respectful of our origins, considerate of new ideas and open to the times to come.

I’ve really little to add to the statement of purpose I wrote in the first issue. Bullshit is still bullshit, music has a magic that can set you free, and Rock & Roll will stand. Despite success, flashy publicity, maturity and new disguises, we’re still up to the same old tricks.

Partly because we’re still the same old tricksters. In this Tenth Anniversary issue, for example, we’ve assembled some of the best work yet of our favorite “lifers.” Dr. Hunter S. Thompson addresses the mystery of two men missing in action and presumed dead for some time — attorney Oscar Acosta and himself. David Felton chronicles his eight years “inside the big house” at ROLLING STONE and in the process sacrifices any chance of ever being taken seriously again. Critics emeritus Jonathan Cott, Jon Landau and Chet Flippo tell us where we’ve been and where, and if, we’re going. Dave Marsh has collected his own thoughts — as well as others’ — and compiled lists of their ten favorite recordings of the last ten years. And Annie Leibovitz, who, like her photographs, has always been worth much more than she’s trouble, presents us with a beautiful portfolio of rock & roll in its broadest and most stunning sense. For helping Annie with this tortuous three-month task, I’d like to thank that mad Brazilian designer, Bea Feitler. And for putting together the whole monster issue, I’d like to thank Harriet Fier, a five-year veteran who started out on the night switchboard and became one of the world’s great editors.

And for ten incredible years of adventure, I’d particularly and belatedly like to thank our readers, the staff and Jane.

–J.S.W.

In This Article: Coverwall

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