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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

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 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

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

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.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • RCC
  • ACTON MA USA
  • 05-30-18

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Gathers some moss

Jann is... yawn. Missed opportunity to learn about the magazine. Corporate rock Magazines still suck.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Current events through the lens of Rolling Stone

What other book might you compare Sticky Fingers to and why?

Wild Tales: A Rock and Roll LIfe : Graham Nash. Cover the same ground but from a musicain's less cyncial perspective.

What aspect of Dennis Boutsikaris’s performance would you have changed?

He shoud learn the correct pronuciaton of major characters like Jon Landau.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

From purity to Purgatory

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Looove

Can't imagine what it must have been like writing this Biography. Both fascinating and stressful with the amount of names and information. That being said-- brilliant and inspiring. On both the subjects and the writer. Great audio performance too. Really!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A fascinating jerk.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Unlike some biographies, this one does not make any attempt to white-wash it's subject's glaring personal flaws. Even his friends didn't like him. But the subject was in the middle of so many events and personalities, what he chose to do explains a lot about US social history from 1960 to the present.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Sticky Fingers?

How one egomaniac's self-centered view of the world shaped my own.

Which character – as performed by Dennis Boutsikaris – was your favorite?

Well read. The narrator's tone and attitude matched the material.