Rolling Stone magazine founder and influential editor Jann S. Wenner's memoir exudes Baby Boomer aspirations, arrogance and delusions.
"Like a Rolling Stone" gives a blow-by-blow account of Wenner's career in the rock and roll fast lane, from the founding of Rolling Stone on a shoestring in 1967 to his giving up control of his Internet-challenged media empire after Donald Trump's election shocked Wenner's cohort of celebrity progressives.
Like images flashing past in a video game, Wenner beams out a dizzying array of famous names, dinner parties, cruises, ski trips. concerts, power lunches and drug-drenched bacchanalias.
While Wenner gives an impressive roll call of of Rolling Stone's scoops and journalistic innovations, his hedonism, egoism and thirsting for celebrity validation exhibit the worst excesses of his generation.
He breathlessly chronicles what he characterizes as close friendships with superstars John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Bono, Bruce Springsteen and Pete Townshend, closely linking his magazine to promoting their careers. He also boasts of friendships with recording industry executives, a bit close for a music journalist.
Never resting from the social swirl, he also recalls close relationships with Jackie Onassis, John F. Kennedy Jr., Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Tom Wolfe, Bette Midler and Michael Douglas.
The rapid-fire collision of names, gossip and events makes for an exciting narrative, much more captivating than Joe Hagan's lackluster biography "Sticky Fingers."
As the magazine rises in power and influence, and he launches new magazines like "Us Weekly," Wenner veers further and further away from the modest communal values of co-founder Ralph J. Gleason.
Rolling Stone star writer Hunter S. Thompson's rise and sad decline is the book's tragic centerpiece. Fans of Rolling Stone's classic days will again thrill to Thompson's emergence in the magazine with "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and his coverage of presidential campaigns. Wenner poignantly expresses the despair and heartbreak of Thompson's mental and physical downfall, culminating in his suicide.
Wenner nearly met a similar fate. He recounts his recovery from a terrifying health crisis that almost caused his death. But he came back to write his memoirs.
On his last issue of Rolling Stone, he placed young environmental activist Greta Thunberg on the cover.
At 75, he's forever young.