Sticky Fingers

The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine
By: Joe Hagan
Narrated by: Dennis Boutsikaris
Length: 18 hrs and 41 mins
4 out of 5 stars (235 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first and only biography of Jann Wenner, the iconic founder of Rolling Stone magazine, and a romp through the hothouses of rock and roll, politics, media, and Hollywood, from the Summer of Love to the Internet age.

Lennon. Dylan. Jagger. Belushi. Leibovitz. The story of Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone's founder, editor, and publisher, is an insider's trip through the backstages of storied concert venues, rock-star hotel rooms, and the political ups and downs of the latter half of the 20th century, right up through the digital age: connecting the counterculture of Haight Ashbury to the "straight world".

Supplemented by a cache of extraordinary documents and letters from Wenner's personal archives, Sticky Fingers is the story of a mercurial, wide-eyed rock and roll fan of ambiguous sexuality but unambiguous ambition who reinvents youth culture, marketing the libertine world of the late '60s counterculture in a stylish, glossy package that would stand for decades as a testament to the cultural power of American youth. Joe Hagan captures in stunning detail the extraordinary lives constellated around a magazine that began as a scrappy rebellion and became a locus of power, influence, and access - using hundreds of hours of reporting and exclusive interviews.

The result is a fascinating and complex portrait of Jann Wenner that is also a biography of popular culture, celebrity, music, and politics in America over the last 50 years.

©2017 Joe Hagan (P)2017 Random House Audio
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sex, Drugs and Rolling Stone

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.


Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awful people, entertaining read

I really enjoyed reading about the reality of life at a magazine that I dutifully and unquestioningly consumed throughout my youth as a baby boomer. My then-heroes apparently got to where they did by dint of relentless greed, ambition, narcissism and aggression. I feel so much better about my life! Many of these kinds of books really bog down after the subject becomes rich and famous (looking at you, Springsteen and Rod Stewart), but Hagan's prose is swift and lively throughout. He has affection but no illusions, which makes for a supremely entertaining read.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Wenner is a pretentious star F*****

Would you try another book from Joe Hagan and/or Dennis Boutsikaris?

Yes

What was most disappointing about Joe Hagan’s story?

His filling page after page with "bold type" names then describing their sexual peccadillos or other gossipy tangential tidbits "trust fund" "addict"

Which scene was your favorite?

Bill Graham

Did Sticky Fingers inspire you to do anything?

Not purchase Rolling Stone magazine.

3 people found this helpful

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Joe Hagen Definitely Hates Jann Wenner

Not once in this book does Joe Hagan ever say something nice about Wenner's achievements without including a backhanded (or not so backhanded) insult. It's amazing. You kind of have to put it aside or take it with a grain of salt and just try to embrace how awesome and interesting and cool the life and times of this dude really was/were—not to mention his massive achievement in creating what could arguably be called one of the more important and certainly relevant magazines of its time. Which is to say nothing of the fact that he commissioned a great deal of the best journalism of the past 50-75 years. But yeah, Joe Hagan hates the dude. Still, fascinating, impressive and a fun story.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great Book, Repulsive Subject

If you could sum up Sticky Fingers in three words, what would they be?

Cancel Rolling Stone.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jann Wenner, kept topping himself in the a-hole department. Talk about someone you would never want to meet.

What about Dennis Boutsikaris’s performance did you like?

Clean, clear and precise.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

God no.

Any additional comments?

Will take the shine off of anything good you have ever thought about the magazine. Great research, terrible subject. Yuck.

2 people found this helpful

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Hatchet Job

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.

13 people found this helpful

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Don't waste your time

This book was an absolute bore. Jann Wenner is absolutely despicable, there's way too much detail about a character I could not bring myself to care about, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't finish it. It did help me however with a bout of insomnia because I just listened to this book and I fell right to sleep.

1 person found this helpful

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Narrator has irritating voice

Interesting story but hire a new voice actor.
His gravel like and breathy tone is super annoying

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Excellent story and writing, fantastic narration

Fascinating story. Very well researched. Lots of interesting anecdotes without seeming gossipy. The narration is so skillful that it had me searching for other books narrated by the same talented voice.

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Meh

Boring. About 5 hours too long. A story about rich people and their egos and rich people problems. Sad that I missed out on the 60s and 70s RS, I was hoping this would tell me something I didn’t know about that era. It really didn’t, and even some of the stuff about Hunter S. Thompson that’s in this book contradicts some things I’ve read in other books lately. All I learned is that I don’t like Jann at all.