Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Today in Pop Culture History: Rolling Stone turns 44

9 November 1967: The first issue of Rolling Stone magazine hit the newsstands. Its coverage of music and politics was, and continues to be, so zeitgeisty that I feel guilty for no longer subscribing. Writers as diverse as Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was first published in RS), Robert Altman, and Patti Smith have been featured in its pages, and appearing on the cover is considered the ultimate "you've made it" moment in pop culture. Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show certainly thought so in 1973, as evidenced by their excellent satirical song "Cover of the Rolling Stone" written by, no kidding, Shel Silverstein. This snappy little YouTube clip features the song and several famous covers.

The magazine is also practically a co-star in the semi-autobiographical film Almost Famous, where Cameron Crowe stand-in William Miller tours with metonymic 70s band Stillwater as a teenaged reporter for Rolling Stone. Though criticized in recent years for dumbing down its coverage to appeal to a younger audience, the magazine has recently recommitted itself to cutting-edge content. Just ask Stanley McChrystal.

Not the first cover, which also featured Lennon, but a classic.

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