As someone who used to keep old issues of Rolling Stone magazine in the back of my closet for WAY too many years, I am so excited about my new (free) subscription to the Rolling Stone archives aka every issue ever published. Ever.
I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to sign up! I’m assuming my archive subscription was free because I subscribe to the magazine but even if it’s not free it’s worth it! All that rock & roll history at your fingertips and you don’t have to worry about magazine storage because it’s all online! Every page, every article, every hilarious advertisement – it’s all there and I love it!
A few sample gems I’ve discovered so far:
February 20 1992:
-The front cover headline read “Smells Like Teen Spirit – Beverly Hills 90210” and Jason Priestley, Shannen Doherty and Luke Perry on photographed together.
-Absolut ads were in full force with their killer ad campaign – we used to treat and trade these ads like baseball cards with plastic scrapbook pages and everything.
-Page 15 headline – “Nirvana Tops Album Chart: Nevermind bumps Dangerous out of number one position” – And so began grunge.
-Concert review – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and Pearl Jam all on the same bill. Wow.
-Winter Olympics preview – no snowboarding mentioned.
-Ads for video rentals and cigarettes prominently displayed.
August 10, 1989:
-Axl Rose on the cover looking young and very un-rock star wearing a double breasted blazer and lots of rings but no sunglasses or bandanna.
-Classic black and white Claudia Schiffer ads for Guess jeans in the first few pages.
-Fun headline: No Encore for Woodstock (10 years later there would be an encore – unfortunately).
-List of upcoming video releases: Who Framed Rodger Rabbit?, The Land Before Time, Major League and Fletch Lives.
-Axl quote: “I’m like the presidents of a company worth between $125 million and a quarter billion dollars.”
-Ad for the Batman soundtrack that was apparently produced, arranged, composed and performed by Prince. I had no idea.
October 4, 2007:
-Hunter S. Thompson on the cover with the headline “Growing Up Gonzo” – two years after his death.
-Q&A with KT Tunstall – love her.
-The VMAs still mattered – the event took up a two-page spread that included Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Courtney Love (yikes!), Dave Grohl and Jack White.
–Rolling Stone gives the new Foo Fighters album, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, only two and a half stars. The album ended up garnering five Grammy nominations and one win.
-Lots of ads for albums, upcoming tours, gum and booze.
What’s really fun about all of this is re-reading these articles in retrospect – seeing if the writers were right in their predictions or judgments and whether or not the interviewees were right about their albums, concerts, television shows, etc. It’s also interesting to see headlines like “the return of ___” or “____will never happen” and then years or decades later the person is doing their fourth return or what was never going to happen has happened twice.
I guess what it comes down to is that I find music history fascinating – actually I find pop culture history fascinating as a whole. I think archives like these provide a very interesting hindsight look at what was cool, what isn’t cool anymore and what’s cool again. And that goes for sports, television and politics in addition to music. Thank you Rolling Stone for deciding to put every magazine you’ve ever published starting on November 9, 1967 through the most recent issue. It means a lot to readers like me who are as much into what’s going on now as what went on then.