Jann Wenner, the iconic founder of Rolling Stone magazine, has found himself expelled from the esteemed Board of Directors of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, as confirmed by a representative from the Hall of Fame in a statement to Newsound. This dramatic development follows a firestorm of criticism ignited by Wenner’s recent remarks about Black and female musicians during an interview featured in The New York Times. In that same interview, Wenner made a startling revelation that he had allowed interview subjects to edit their own transcripts during his tenure at Rolling Stone.
The contentious interview with The Times’ David Marchese primarily revolved around Wenner’s latest literary endeavor, “The Masters,” a collection of dialogues he conducted with seven legendary figures whom he dubs “the philosophers of rock.” These luminaries include Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend, and U2’s charismatic frontman, Bono. However, it was Marchese’s pointed question about the conspicuous absence of non-white and female artists in “The Masters” that ignited the controversy.
Wenner defended his choice, dubbing it “intuitive” while asserting that none of the female artists he encountered during his stewardship of Rolling Stone possessed the requisite articulation to merit inclusion in his prestigious collection of conversations. He elaborated further, singling out Grace Slick and Janis Joplin and suggesting that Joni Mitchell, despite her undeniable musical brilliance, didn’t qualify as a “philosopher of rock.”
Regarding Black artists, Wenner mentioned luminaries such as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Curtis Mayfield but contended that they didn’t reach the level of articulation he deemed necessary for inclusion.
The fallout from Wenner’s remarks was swift and severe. Hours after his removal from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Board was announced, he issued a formal apology. He acknowledged that his comments had unjustly belittled the contributions and genius of Black and women artists, expressing heartfelt remorse. Wenner clarified that “The Masters” was intended to represent the highlights of his career and interviews that he believed showcased the essence of rock ‘n’ roll’s impact on his life, rather than an exhaustive account of the genre’s diverse and significant contributors.
In his statement, Wenner conveyed profound appreciation and admiration for the multitude of transformative artists whose music and ideas he holds in high regard. He pledged to continue celebrating and promoting their work as long as he lives.
Jann Wenner’s journey in the realm of rock and journalism has been nothing short of remarkable. He relinquished his role as the Chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019, having held the position since 2006. Previously, in 2004, he received the prestigious Ahmet Ertegun Award and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His departure from Rolling Stone in 2019 marked the end of an era, more than half a century after he founded the iconic magazine in 1967.
This article was originally published on Saturday, September 16 at 9:48 p.m. Eastern and was last updated on Saturday, September 16 at 11:06 p.m. Eastern.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about rock hall controversy
Why was Jann Wenner removed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s Board of Directors?
Jann Wenner was removed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s Board of Directors following controversial remarks he made about Black and female musicians during an interview with The New York Times. His comments were widely criticized for belittling the contributions of these artists, leading to his removal.
What were the controversial comments made by Jann Wenner?
During the interview, Jann Wenner defended his decision to feature only white male artists in his book, “The Masters,” which compiled conversations with iconic musicians. He referred to this choice as “intuitive” and stated that he didn’t believe any of the female artists he encountered during his tenure at Rolling Stone were “articulate enough” to be included as “philosophers of rock.” He also made similar remarks about Black artists, suggesting that they didn’t articulate at the level he deemed necessary for inclusion.
How did Jann Wenner respond to the controversy?
After his removal was announced, Jann Wenner issued a formal apology. He acknowledged that his comments had unfairly diminished the contributions and genius of Black and women artists. He clarified that “The Masters” was meant to represent the highlights of his career and interviews that illustrated the impact of rock ‘n’ roll on his life, rather than being a comprehensive account of the genre’s diverse contributors. Wenner expressed deep appreciation for a wide range of artists and pledged to continue celebrating and promoting their work.
What is the significance of Jann Wenner’s departure from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Board?
Jann Wenner’s departure from the Board of Directors is significant because he played a pivotal role in the world of music journalism and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He served as Chairman of the Board from 2006 until his removal in the wake of this controversy. Wenner is also the founder of Rolling Stone magazine, a publication that has had a profound influence on music and popular culture. His departure marks the end of an era in the music industry.
When and where was this article originally published?
This article was originally published on Saturday, September 16 at 9:48 p.m. Eastern. It was last updated on Saturday, September 16 at 11:06 p.m. Eastern.
More about rock hall controversy
- The New York Times Interview with Jann Wenner: The original interview in The New York Times where Jann Wenner made the controversial remarks about Black and female musicians.
- Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: The official website of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where you can find information about its Board of Directors and its mission.
- Rolling Stone Magazine: The iconic music and pop culture magazine founded by Jann Wenner in 1967, which played a significant role in the music industry.
- Jann Wenner’s Apology Statement: The statement released by Jann Wenner apologizing for his controversial comments and providing context for his book, “The Masters.”
- Ahmet Ertegun Award: Information about the Ahmet Ertegun Award, which Jann Wenner received when he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.