In the Wake of the Controversy Surrounding a New Book About 'Rolling Stone,' Rock Hall Cancels Appearance by Author Joe Hagan

In the wake of the controversy surrounding the forthcoming book, Sticky Fingers: The Life of Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine, the Rock Hall has canceled an appearance by its author, Joe Hagan.

Wenner, Rolling Stone’s publisher and founder, has had a well-publicized falling out with Hagan.

The Rock Hall appears to have taken Wenner’s side on the manner. Wenner co-founded the Rock Hall and according to his bio on the Rock Hall website, "he remains vitally active in its operation to this day."

"This was not done at Mr. Wenner's behest," the Rock Hall’s Todd Mesek tells Crain’s. "The excerpts we've read take a much different tone than what we originally understood."

The New York Times reports that Wenner doesn’t like the book that The Washington Post regards as “a serious work of narrative journalism” in a glowing review. And the Columbia Journalism Review notes that the book is “meticulously researched and reported” as it compiles hundreds of interviews with musicians, actors, friends, business associates and employees.

The New York Times also reports that the book, which Hagan began writing four years ago, “excavates Mr. Wenner's personal life, including his complicated homosexuality, drug use, sexual escapades, familial friction and frequent feuds."

"My hope was that this book would provide a record for future generations of that extraordinary time," Wenner tells The New York Times. "Instead, he produced something deeply flawed and tawdry, rather than substantial."

Hagan, for his part, says he didn't write a biased book.

"I like Jann," he tells Columbia Journalism Review in an extensive interview. "I have an affection for him, enough to write 500 pages about him. I understand Jann, I think, in some ways that he doesn’t even understand himself. But I knew I had to write a book that would make him live on the page. And this is the life he lived. Even his own sister, Merlyn, said she didn’t know how Jann would deal with the book, because part of his story is that he didn’t always treat people right. I had to contend with that and make him contend with it, to some degree."

The Rock Hall event was originally scheduled for Monday, Nov. 6.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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