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Rolling Stone: The Complete Covers

Rolling Stone: The Complete Covers

by Fred Woodward, Holly George-Warren (Editor), Jann S. Wenner
This book assembles 30 years of Rolling Stone covers-totaling more than 700-which together chronicle the period's rock and roll, the cutting edge in pop culture, and the hipper reaches of film and television. With the work of such renowned photographers as Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, and Matthew Rolston; a lively introduction by magazine


This book assembles 30 years of Rolling Stone covers-totaling more than 700-which together chronicle the period's rock and roll, the cutting edge in pop culture, and the hipper reaches of film and television. With the work of such renowned photographers as Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, and Matthew Rolston; a lively introduction by magazine founding editor and publisher Jann S. Wenner; excerpts from groundbreaking cover stories; and tantalizing behind-the-scenes anecdotes, Rolling Stone: The Complete Covers offers an intriguing and evocative journey.

Editorial Reviews

Steven Heller
Rolling Stone's covers reveal the changing, and often the aging, faces of pop....This handsome book offers pithy anecdotes by Rolling Stone writers and photographers about their work. -- New York Times Book Review
School Library Journal
YA-A highly enjoyable romp down the memory lane of popular culture. Stunning reproductions of 773 of the magazine's covers, beginning with the first issue released in November 1967 through November 1997, highlight a variety of entertainment-industry icons from Mick Jagger (19 covers) to the Incredible Hulk (only one, so far). Within these pages readers are introduced to the early work of Annie Leibovitz, who cut her professional teeth at the publication. Other top-notch photographers, including Francesco Scavullo, Herb Ritts, and Richard Avedon, provide a study in modern portraiture. Magazine headlines and highlighted features offer an array of political and social issues spanning the past 30 years and present an impromptu history lesson. The accompanying text allows readers to follow the growth and development of a successful periodical from its humble beginnings to its current status as a journalistic giant. Young adults will enjoy this informative and quintessentially hip overview of the music and entertainment industry in the United States from the days of peace, love, and flower children to the present.-Debra Shumate, Bull Run Regional Library, Manassas, VA

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 12.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

From Rolling Stone: The Complete Covers, 1967-1997

In this excerpt, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner looks back at the magazine's first 30 years and the ways in which it has shaped and reflected the nation's cultural attitudes.

This book, the complete collection of ROLLING STONE's covers from 1967 to 1997, represents not just the evolution of a magazine but a record of our times. For three decades, no surer sign has heralded the arrival of a performer, artist or personality than a cover of ROLLING STONE. Virtually every important rock musician and movie star, as well as many celebrated public figures, has appeared on one of the seven hundred twenty-eight covers reproduced here.

Many of them have willingly turned up time and again: Mick Jagger, with nineteen covers -- some alone and others with the band or Keith -- claims the all-time cover-boy crown. Among the people we have chosen to celebrate, the shrewdest collaborated with us in the creation and refinement of their public images. Many of those powerful images have since grown to define an era. When I started ROLLING STONE in November 1967, the magazine's initial charter was to cover rock & roll music with intelligence and respect. Even then, we knew that the fervor sweeping our generation encompassed more than just music. And so we gradually broadened the charter to include everything the music touched, embraced or informed: politics, movies, television, journalism, sports, Super Bowls, crime, kidnappings, astronauts, gurus, groupies, hippies, Jesus freaks, health clubs, narcs, pimps, drugs and all the other forms of American social behavior, pathological and otherwise.

These events and personalities were captured for the cover of ROLLING STONE by some of the finest photographers of the last three decades. A partial list would include Annie Leibovitz, Mark Seliger, Richard Avedon, Anton Corbijn, Albert Watson, Herb Ritts, Francesco Scavullo, Matt Mahurin and Matthew Rolston. In addition, a great roster of illustrators and cartoonists has conjured and invented for the cover: Matt Groening, Mike Judge, Garry Trudeau, Gottfried Helnwein, Ralph Steadman, Maurice Sendak, Paul Davis, Milton Glaser, Robert Grossman, Daniel Maffia, Andy Warhol and Anita Kunz, among others.

Many of these covers have been controversial, even shocking, so here now is fair warning to those who are offended by flesh. Plenty of flesh has been artfully arranged and displayed beneath our famous logo. ROLLING STONE probably pioneered the trend of nude "star" covers with John Lennon and Yoko Ono's full-body shots in November 1968. At the time, nudity was a political statement, health clubs were for the weird and obsessed, and I had yet to fully appreciate readers' insatiable curiosity about the naked bodies of their heroes and heroines. John and Yoko's self-portraits were taken in their London flat for the front and back covers of their Two Virgins, the album that Apple's distributor issued wrapped in brown paper -- despite John's status as the leader of the Beatles. At the suggestion of ROLLING STONE's cofounder, writer Ralph J. Gleason, I telexed our friend Derek Taylor, the Beatles' publicist and soul mate, in London with an offer to print said pictures in ROLLING STONE. The photo wound up on the cover of our first anniversary issue (RS 22). This was the first sellout issue of ROLLING STONE and the first time we went back to press. Although it may seem tame from today's perspective, the idea of someone so famous and so physically average standing stark naked for all the world to see was quite extraordinary -- shocking to be sure, but above all, deeply revolutionary and deeply moving.

Magazine making is a collaborative art, and I have worked with the most dedicated and talented people in publishing, including editors whose duties included writing the lines of text that tease the newsstand browser into a purchase. If you have the time and the patience to read the tiny lines of type on these collected miniatures, you will find some amusing footnotes to late-twentieth-century history.

"Dial Om for Murder," the headline for an account of criminal behavior in a religious sect, and "He's Hot, He's Sexy and He's Dead," the headline for a story on Jim Morrison's posthumous success, are among my favorites. In these thousands of cover headlines, you'll catch clever literary allusions and puns of all colors and stripes, along with ideas ranging from the naive to the profound. Looking back, most of what we put on the cover remains important, but some of it may seem as pointless, trivial and ephemeral as it gets. In seven hundred-plus covers, you're bound to strike out more than once....

--Jann S. Wenner

Reprinted from ROLLING STONE: THE COMPLETE COVERS, 1967-1997. Published in 1998 by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers. ROLLING STONE covers © 1998 Straight Arrow Publishers Company, L. P. Copyright © 1998 Rolling Stone Press.

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