Weekly rock music magazine, 1969 – present


Rolling Stone was first published in America in 1968. It was the brainchild of entrepreneur Jann Wenner, who founded the magazine with his then wife Jane Schindleheim (the heiress to a baby food fortune, who bankrolled the magazine during its early years) and under the tutelage of the late, great journalist and jazz writer Ralph J. Gleason.


Wenner started Rolling Stone partly as a way to meet his favourite bands. Former staffer David Weir calls him “ … the star-fucker who always traded up -- the ultimate name-dropper who finally became a bigger name in the tabs than many of the stars he worshipped”. Another impetus (according to Richard Neville) was Wenner’s general frustration with the standard of current music journalism and specifically with Melody Maker’s rejection of an article he had written about the emergence of the psychedelic rock scene in San Francisco.


Rolling Stone quickly made a huge impact, both on the music scene and on journalism, publishing some of the work of leading exponents what has since been dubbed “The New Journalism”, including Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe. Wenner may be justly renowned for his explosive temper but he was also undeniably a brilliant spotter and developer of talent. Hs “once and former stars” include Hunter S. Thompson, Lester Bangs, Chet Flippo, Cameron Crowe, Joe Eszterhas, Ben Fong-Torres, Jon Landau, Dave Marsh, Annie Leibovitz and Greil Marcus. Within a couple of years Rolling Stone was the quintessential music journal, a position Wenner cemented in 1970 with his epoch-making interview with John Lennon, conducted just after the split of The Beatles.


The Australian version of Rolling Stone began in 1969 when Go-Set publisher Philip Frazer approached Wenner with a proposal to reprint extracts from the magazine in Australia. Its first Australian incarnation was as an insert in Revolution magazine, Frazer’s new magazine.


In 1972 Australian Rolling Stone was launched as a full-scale local magazine under editors Paul Gardiner and Jane Mathieson. The first Australian cover was in 1976, featuring Skyhooks, who reportedly hated the photo, but it did marking a broadening recognition of local acts in the magazine. The Australian version is the longest surviving overseas edition -- French, Spanish, Japanese and British editions have all since folded.


Australian Rolling Stone celebrated its 25th year with a special collector's edition in May 1998, and at that time the publishers claimed the current circulation was around 40,000.




Christie Eliezer
In Music & Media
- April 14 1998


David M. Kent
Go-Set: Life and Death of an Australian Pop Magazine


John Mangan
”Still rolling after thirty years”
The Age,
April 12 2002


David Weir
Salon People: Brilliant Careers – “Wenner’s World”


Rolling Stone