Rolling Stone Fifty Years Special Exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rolling Stone: 50 Years

OPENED: May 5, 2017

CLOSED: April 17, 2018

As founding publisher Jann Wenner said at the time, “Rolling Stone is not just about music, but also about the things and attitudes that the music embraces.” 

In November of 1967, new magazine Rolling Stone burst onto the scene in San Francisco. 50 years later, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebrates its cultural impact in a special exhibition, Rolling Stone / 50 Years. Drawing upon the magazine’s vast archive, as well as interviews with people featured within its pages and on iconic covers, the exhibit conveys the story of the magazine. The catalytic effect Rolling Stone has had, to this day, on politics, popular culture, and on the careers of individual artists is brought to life at the Rock Hall. The exhibition, which occupies the top three floors (4-6) of the Museum, also highlights the magazine’s unique ability to give voice to the times through the brilliant writers, critics, visual artists and photographers contributing throughout its 50 years.

1967 to 2017 - 50 years of music, culture and politics

1967, the year Rolling Stone magazine debuted, was a pivotal year in rock and roll. It saw major releases from The Beatles, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, Cream, the Byrds, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Velvet Underground, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and so many others. It was also famous for its “Summer of Love” in San Francisco, the same city where Rolling Stone began publication. Since then, Rolling Stone has been at the epicenter of popular culture and politics. Many of its writers became key voices (and critics) of their generation.

From the “Summer of Love” and Woodstock to Coachella, and ‘Fear and Loathing’ to the financial crisis, the exhibit highlights rarely heard stories, original manuscripts, music reviews and audio interviews that spotlight the cast and talented crew – now numbering in the hundreds – of artists, writers, and more who shared a special partnership with the magazine. Visitors can also see new interview footage with artists including Lenny Kravitz, Mick Jagger, Taylor Swift, and others, specially shot for the exhibit.

Visitors can also check out letters written to the magazine by celebrities, including Mick Jagger, Hunter Thompson, Paul McCartney, and even Charles Manson. There is also a special section chronicling the magazine’s trademark “Rolling Stone Interview” -- the gold standard for in-depth profiles of significant artists and newsmakers – highlights include historic interviews with David Bowie, John Lennon, Madonna, President Barack Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda and others.

Highlights of iconic cover images, including John and Yoko, Miley Cyrus, Janis Joplin and Janet Jackson will be on display for visitors to debate their favorite. The magazine’s wide-ranging purview included covers reaching back to rock and roll pioneers such as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, along with jazz musicians like Miles Davis and Sun Ra. Original artwork and photographs featuring artists like Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Amy Winehouse, Prince, Nirvana, B.B. King, Adele, Tupac Shakur and others will also be on display.

50 years of rolling stone 

The exhibit opens in conjunction with the release of 50 Years of Rolling Stone (Abrams; May 16, 2017), a special book to coincide with the magazine’s 50th anniversary. The book offers a decade-by-decade exploration of the magazine from the 1960s to the present day and includes an introduction by Rolling Stone co-founder and publisher Jann S. Wenner. The book will be available for purchase in the Rock Hall store.

50 Years of Reporting

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