Happy birthday to Rolling Stone magazine co-founder Jann Wenner, who turns 75 today (January 7th)!!! In 1967, Wenner and his mentor, music journalist Ralph J. Gleason, founded the magazine in San Francisco and over the course of the ensuing decades, Wenner built the magazine into the cultural hot spot for all news regarding music, politics, film, literature, and journalism — turning Rolling Stone into an internationally recognized brand.
Wenner, who co-founded The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, retired from the institution in 2020. His tenure as the vice-chairman of The Hall wasn't without criticism. Critics and fans have long blamed Wenner's personal tastes and professional relationships for being the cause for certain acts being allowed on the annual induction ballot.
In 2017, Jann Wenner sold 49 percent of Rolling Stone magazine to the music social media group, BandLab. Since its launch in 1967, Wenner had never taken on a financial partner until then. In 2019 Penske had acquired BandLab's 49 percent stake in Rolling Stone as well as Wenner Media's 49 percent, gaining full ownership of the magazine.
Pete Townshend has always been very open about his life and work with the press, and learned early on that it was okay to trust the media, opening himself up to interviewers far more readily than his peers: “So what started to happen is that I would sit with somebody like (Rolling Stone's) Jann Wenner, I sat with him and opened my heart up to him, y'know? And it felt safe to do so, and it was safe, because you guys might think you know what I said — and some of it I may have said to you — but I know what you haven't printed that I've said.”
Mick Jagger inducted Jann Wenner into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and explained Wenner's importance to the history of popular music: “He was one of the first music critics and editors that really understood how we as artists felt, and he could sympathize with our yearnings. Jann almost single-handedly pioneered the idea of popular music, and rock n' roll in particular, as a vibrant art form, not just a collection of flash-in-the-pan mediocrities.”