50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 27

Rolling Stone issue #27 had a cover date of February 15, 1969. 32 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of Karen Seltenreich by Baron Wolman.

Having learned a big lesson back in Issue 22 about the power of controversy and nudity, Jann Wenner came up with a 14,000-word, 15-page spread on the story of groupies “and other girls” including the GTOs, the Plaster Casters, Trixie Merkin, and various others. It featured lots of Baron Wolman’s photographs and scandalous tales of women who enjoy hanging out with rock stars.

It apparently achieved the desired result. According to Joe Hagan’s Sticky Fingers, Wenner spent $7,000 on an ad in the New York Times to promote the issue. “When we tell you what a Groupie is, will you really understand? This is the story only Rolling Stone can tell, because we are the musicians, we are the music, we are writing about ourselves.”

A few years ago, Wolman’s photos — and lots of outtakes — and the original text were published as a new book (Groupies and Other Electric Ladies) along with new interviews with several of the women and a foreword by Holly George-Warren. Amanda Petrusich reviewed it for the New Yorker: Reconsidering the Groupie. The Guardian posted some quotes and photos.

Features: “The Groupies and Other Girls” by Jerry Hopkins, John Burks, and Paul Nelson; “Beatles as Cinderella: A Soviet fairy tale” by A. Martynova; “The Motherfuckers: Fillmore East vs. The East Village” by Paul Nelson; “I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone” by Richard Brautigan.

News: “Tim Hardin’s Mom Blows Her Mind”; “2 New Yorkers”; “Arlo & Alice’s Restaurant Hit the Flicks”; “Nudity Gimmick for Bubblegum Music”; “Apple is Alive & Healthy in the UK”; “Stones USA Tour Still Uncertain”; “Who Finishing Rock Opera”; “Record Industry Ups LP and Single Prices”; “The Cream: Final Album and Farewell Film Due”; “Chess Does It Again – Electric Wolf: Man, It’s Dogshit.” Plus Random Notes on Tiny Tim, Grace Slick, Pat Boone, the Lovin’ Spoonful, and the Fugs.

Pamela Des Barres by Baron Wolman

Full-page ads: The Book of Taliesyn by Deep Purple on Tetragrammaton; Smooth Ball by T.I.M.E. on Liberty; Any Day Now by Joan Baez on Vanguard; Sunn Musical Equipment Company.

More ads: Music From “Lil Brown” by Africa on on Ode; The Gentle Soul on Epic; Kak on Epic; Touch on Coliseum; Heartbeat by Jimmie and Vella on Imperial; Spirit on Ode; The Electric Flag on Columbia.

Reviews: Who Knows Where the Time Goes by Judy Collins (by Stanley M. Jay); An American Music Band by the Electric Flag (by Barry Gifford); Tiny Tim’s Second Album by Tiny Tim (by Alec Dubro); Two Jews Blues by Barry Goldberg (by Barry Eichengreen); The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard and Clark (by Jim Bickhart); Memories by Richard and Mimi Farina (by Gary Von Tersch); Sooner or Later by John Hammond (by Stephen Gordon).

Poetry: “#122 (for Thomas)” by Gary Von Tersch.

Subscription offer: New subscribers could get a free copy of Jefferson Airplane’s Bless Its Pointed Head (with 50 cents for shipping and handling). $6 for 26 issues; $10 for 52.

Previously: Issue 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.

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