Sticky Fingers | Penguin Random House Canada
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Sticky Fingers

The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine

Publisher: Knopf Canada
A delicious romp through the heyday of rock and roll and a revealing portrait of the man at the helm of the iconic magazine that made it all possible, with candid look backs at the era from Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Elton John, Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and others.
The story of Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone's founder, editor, and publisher, and the pioneering era he helped curate, is told here for the first time in glittering, glorious detail. Joe Hagan provides readers with a backstage pass to storied concert venues and rock-star hotel rooms; he tells never before heard stories about the lives of rock stars and their handlers; he details the daring journalism (Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson, P.J. O’Rourke) and internecine office politics that accompanied the start-up; he animates the drug and sexual appetites of the era; and he reports on the politics of the last fifty years that were often chronicled in the pages of Rolling Stone magazine.
Supplemented by a cache of extraordinary documents and letters from Wenner's personal archives, Sticky Fingers depicts an ambitious, mercurial, wide-eyed rock and roll fan of who exalts in youth and beauty and learns how to package it, marketing late sixties counterculture as a testament to the power of American youth. The result is a fascinating and complex portrait of man and era, and an irresistible biography of popular culture, celebrity, music, and politics in America.  


“Hagan fully captures the coming of age of a musical form and the culture around it, and of one of the big characters at the centre of it.” —Toronto Star
“[W]ith Rolling Stone celebrating its fiftieth anniversary . . . and its future more uncertain than ever (it’s now up for sale), now feels like the perfect time for a book such as Sticky Fingers to take that deep—and sometimes critical—look back on everything Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone have accomplished. And no matter what other conclusions may be drawn, the overriding impression is ultimately a positive one—Wenner is, without a doubt, one of the most important tastemakers in pop-culture history.” —Winnipeg Free Press

“[A]n extravagantly critical, deeply salacious biography that offers up a gold mine of gossip.” —Maclean’s
“[A] comprehensive and eye-popping biography.” —CBC Radio’s Day 6
“[A] delectable peek behind the curtain of one of the most influential outlets in pop-culture history.” —The Globe and Mail
Sticky Fingers [has a] novelistic, character-driven structure [that] owes a lot to [Mad Men], another darkly nostalgic story of the era.” —Metro

“Hagan’s portrait of Wenner is crisp and cutting. . . . Though Sticky Fingers is, at five hundred and forty-two pages, a formidable read, it’s also terrifically smart and full of anecdotes that anyone remotely interested in rock and roll, publishing, or the legacy of the nineteen-sixties will find engrossing.” —The New Yorker

“Hagan has written a barn burner, fast and funny and gossip-filled (he names names) and also big—so big that it can stand as a case study of the entire era. The Boomers’ experience was Wenner’s experience, and it all showed up in his magazine, and now shows up here: the Beatles and the Stones; hallucinogens and cocaine; sex, sanctioned and illicit, open and hidden (Wenner lived a closeted life until he was nearly fifty); politics and protests, the war; the lifestyles of the ever more rich and famous; infirmity and old age.” —The Atlantic

“[A] thumpingly good read. . . . [T]he book is nuanced, and while it is doubtless tawdry—this is rock ’n’ roll, after all—it is nothing if not substantial.” —Charlie Burton, GQ

“It’s a commanding, thorough, and—amazingly, at 560 pages—consistently enthralling biography; an examination of sexuality, celebrity, power, fame, ego, and yearning, and what happens over time when they all meet, combust, and go sideways. It’s juicy and gossipy, but not in a way that feels tawdry. . . . [Hagan] deftly chronicles a story of rock ’n’ roll and free love and the once-mighty business of magazine publishing, and along the way reveals a deeply troubled and often troubling man who you somehow can’t look away from.” —Shondaland