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Even though STICKY FINGERS is about Jann Wenner and his greatest creation, Rolling Stone Magazine, there are a lot of bit players and big and small moments from music, politics and personal history here.
Rolling Stone writers Jon Landau and Greil Marcus. Rolling StoneS front man Mick Jagger, who weaves in an out of this story. (Apparently he was miffed when Wenner named his rock mag Rolling Stone.) Wenner's boyish beautiful wife Jane. Wenner's confused sexuality and his coming out in the 1990s. Sex and drugs in the Rolling Stone offices. Political conventions and a drugged-out Hunter S. Thompson who wrote trippy prose masterpieces before he lost his mojo. A complicated friendship with Annie Liebowitz, who couldn't be trusted with Rolling Stone photo equipment or money. John and Yoko, betrayed by Wenner. Tom Wolfe and the Right Stuff. The Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. The ups and downs of the print periodical biz.
This a readable biography, chock full of interesting characters. I didn't always like Wenner, who was too hung up on being rich and had the sharklike mentality of a businessman on the make. But he and his reporters were there for a lot of the pop cultural moments that made their way into a magazine that didn't shy from admitting a biased point of view that told you who and what was important.
Jann Wenner authorized this biography, so author Joe Hagan had access to a lot of insiders.
Dennis Boutsikaris does a good job narrating.
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6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I have, after many years of listening to audible books, never been moved to write a review until now. I was looking very forward to Sticky Fingers, given that I am of an age that puts me squarely in the demographic in which Rolling Stone was an important magazine (late sixties through the seventies). I didn't know much about Jann Wenner other than some rumors about his being an ambitious guy. This book had a sneer running through its pages. It reads like some sort of Bill O'rielly culture war historical revisionism. Anyone who can remotely digest information with a critical eye can see the cherry picking of unflattering snippets threaded together to paint a grotesque picture while thinning out the narrative of competence, ingenuity, instinct, perseverance, etc. I did not expect Wenner to be a saint or a genius but he clearly has been, at the very least, competent and successful. Hagan flips the script when it's convenient. Ambition is seen as perverse and gross but only when it's Wenner's ambition, others are hip and savvy and astute, but not Wenner. He's made out to be some sort of Chauncey Gardiner on speed. Hagan takes snippets of quotes then re frames them, through the addition of his own editorializing, as negative. It was very telling that, after listening to this book, I watched the HBO Documentary on Rolling Stonne and saw the same people Hagen used to belittle Wenner, speaking highly and warmly of Jann. The Kicker is, at the end of this cheap, mean spirited 'biography', Hagan praises Wenner for having the courage to give him full access and agreeing not to touch the finished book, to not even read it until it was already published. Hagan completely left that kind of courage out of this character assassination. I will be returning this book. I want no part of it. The narrator was very good and did a fine job with the reading. It was he and the hope that there would be some redeeming chapters in the end that kept me listening.
11 of 15 people found this review helpful