There are many great stories in Joe Hagan’s “Sticky Fingers,” the biography of Rolling Stone and Rock Hall founder Jann Wenner. Almost none of them are good, which is no surprise.
One thing Hagan really details is Wenner’s sycophantic sucking up to the memory of John Lennon, and his Velcro-ing to Yoko Ono to win her favor. In the process, however, Wenner made an enemy of Paul McCartney by lying to him about the Rock Hall.
According to Hagan, Wenner slithered around Paul and Linda McCartney in the Hamptons, buddying up to them.Hagan says that to get to Paul he’d go through Linda, but that the couple always kept their distance from him.
“We didn’t really wanna hang with him,” McCartney told Hagan. “We’d make fun of him.”
Eventually, Wenner asked McCartney to induct Lennon– who’d been dead for 14 years– into the Rock Hall at the annual Waldorf Astoria ceremony. Hagan writes:
Wenner told him that if he agreed to induct Lennon, the Hall of Fame would induct McCartney the following year. And so McCartney inducted John Lennon in 1994, reading an open letter to him that recounted the highlights of their lives together.
But Wenner’s promise was a lie.
The next year, McCartney discovered that he was not in fact being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “I rang Jann and said, ‘I’m getting all the papers; I don’t appear to be in it. You fucking bastard,’ ” said McCartney. “We had a deal. A verbal contract that was not worth the paper it was written on. So that didn’t endear me to him.” (Wenner said he didn’t remember making such a deal.)
Wenner, in fact, then made McCartney wait four more years for his solo induction. By then Linda McCartney had died of breast cancer. Paul said at his acceptance: “She really wanted this,” holding up the trophy. Stella McCartney, their daughter, wore a T shirt that read “It’s about fucking time!”