50 Years of 'Rolling Stone' History on Display at Rock Hall

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Fifty years ago during the 'summer of love' the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine was published.  A half century later the biweekly continues to be an arbiter of musical taste and a respected source for political reporting.

On view now at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is an exhibit celebrating Rolling Stone's 50th anniversary. It coincides with the release of a new book, 50 Years of Rolling Stone.

According to Rock Hall associate curator Craig Inciardi, shortly after co-founder Jann Wenner published the first issue on November 9, 1967, it surged in popularity.

"The magazine was an instant success. Rolling Stone and Jann Wenner had instant access to all of the top stars," Inciardi said.

The Rock Hall's VP of Curatorial Karen Herman got the chance to dive into the magazine's archives thanks to Wenner, who's Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

"50 years of that magazine that's a lot of stuff to cover. We're really trying to give everyone a taste of the art of the writing [and] its impact in our culture," Herman says.

Included in the exhibit is the infamous Hunter S. Thompson whose Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas first appeared in the pages of Rolling Stone.  The late 'Gonzo' journalist developed a reporting style all his own.

"He, the writer, inserts himself into the narrative and makes himself part of the story," said Inciardi.

Thompson was a real character and hell-raiser whose outrageous behavior became legendary.  One day Thompson burst into Wenner's office and attacked his boss with a fire extinguisher.

"Jann had to run out of the room because there was no oxygen left in the room," Inciardi recounts.

Rolling Stone / 50 Years is on view at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum through the end of the year.

Listen for Dan Polletta's interview with Rock Hall curators Craig Inciardi and Karen Herman Monday, May 8 at 12:33pm on 90.3 during Here and Now featuring the Sound of Applause.


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