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How Will Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Be Remembered?


Joe Hagan’s “Sticky Fingers” traces the life and times of the Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner. Mr. Wenner does not like the book.

Suzanne Vlamis/Associated Press

The Popcast is hosted by Jon Caramanica, a pop music critic for The New York Times. It covers the latest in pop music criticism, trends and news.

“Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine” is a book the Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner asked the journalist Joe Hagan to write about his life. At first, Mr. Hagan resisted the offer, but Mr. Wenner ultimately persuaded him to take the assignment.

Now the book is here, Mr. Wenner does not like it and we have convened a Popcast to discuss it.

How Will Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Be Remembered?

Joe Coscarelli, a pop music reporter for The New York Times, guest hosts this week, speaking with Dwight Garner, the Times book critic who reviewed “Sticky Fingers,” and Sydney Ember, the Times media reporter who covers Rolling Stone magazine and who with Mr. Coscarelli wrote a story tracing Mr. Wenner’s disapproval of the 547-page tome published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Mr. Garner, who enjoys the book more than Mr. Wenner does, says he thinks it’s a mistake for its subject to come down on it so hard. (Mr. Wenner has called it “deeply flawed and tawdry.”) “He comes off in his own way as kind of lovable in it,” he said, later noting the skill with which Mr. Hagan conducted and edited his interviews: “Every quote is either like a pie in the face or an arrow.”

Up for discussion: the line the book draws between Mr. Wenner and President Trump; the current state of Rolling Stone magazine, which is now up for sale; Mr. Wenner’s legacy; and some of the high-profile interviews in the book, from Caroline Kennedy to Mick Jagger.

Email your questions, thoughts and ideas about what’s happening in pop music to popcast@nytimes.com.

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