At work we have a pretty good library. I was in there the other day and on a shelf displaying their newly-purchased books I saw this nice little item:
Of course, it captured my attention, not only because this book celebrates one thousand covers of the famous “Rolling Stone” music magazine (one of my favourites over the years), but also because of the classic Annie Leibovitz cover photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, taken from the January 22, 1981 edition.
This book might have been new to our library, but it’s not a new publication. It actually came out back in 2006 and celebrates the publication of “Rolling Stone” over a span of almost four decades. From its humble beginnings in November 1967 to June 2006, making the cover of “Rolling Stone” meant something. And of course the Beatles (either as a group or as solo artists) feature more than a few times. This post features just a small selection of those covers.
I was surprised to learn in the book that John Lennon actually featured on the front cover of the very first “Rolling Stone” magazine ever – Volume 1, Number 1 – in a publicity shot from the 1967 film “How I Won The War“:
As you can see, back in the day “Rolling Stone” was more like a traditional newspaper.
Three years later the cover of the magazine had evolved somewhat and featured a solo Beatle in the form of Paul McCartney, who had just released his first, self-titled album “McCartney“:
In 1971 George Harrison had gathered together a fine coterie of musical friends to stage what would become the first big fund-raising concert of its kind, “The Concert for Bangladesh“, featuring Ringo Starr, members of Badfinger, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Ravi Shankar, Klaus Voormann, and of course Bob Dylan – appearing live in concert for the first time in many years. Funds raised went to UNICEF to provide milk, blankets, clothes and food to millions of starving refugees:
The photograph of George above is another one by Annie Leibovitz. In the rear of the book there is an index of photographers and Leibovitz is by far the most credited single photographer with over 140 “Rolling Stone” cover shots to her name out of the one thousand featured.
In February 1984 “Rolling Stone” marked the twentieth anniversary of the Beatles with this special edition:
“He left this world as he lived in it: conscious of God, fearless of death and at peace….” [from a statement by Olivia and Dhani Harrison].
In January, 2002 “Rolling Stone” dedicated an issue to the life of George Harrison, who had passed away after a battle with throat, lung and brain cancer. Bob Dylan wrote of him, “He was a giant, a great, great soul, with all the humanity, all the wit and humor, all the wisdom, the spirituality, the common sense of a man and compassion for people.” :
2005 saw another Paul McCartney cover shot. This time the angle was “….a new album, new tour, new life – and nothing left to prove“. That new album was “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard“, produced by Nigel Godrich.
By my count the Beatles as a group or solo appeared some 27 times as the cover image/story of “Rolling Stone” magazine between 1967 and 2006.
“Rolling Stone – 1000 Covers” was published in 2006 by Abrams Books, New York.
For some other covers of “Rolling Stone” see also: The Lost Lennon Tapes; Nine Copies of Rolling Stone; Rolling Stone Names Its Top 100 Beatles Songs; and for the Australian cover variation of the “Top 100 Beatles Songs” click here.