Humanities Lecturer Peter Richardson Recalls Ramparts, Influential 1960s Magazine

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

THE CONVERSATION -- Peter Richardson, a lecturer in Humanities at San Francisco State University, writes an article about Ramparts, the 1960s magazine that had a major influence on Rolling Stone.“Rolling Stone’s identity can also be traced to two other sources: Berkeley’s culture of dissent and Ramparts magazine, the legendary San Francisco muckraker,” Richardson writes.

“The Berkeley influence was strong and direct. The magazine’s early staff writers were steeped in Berkeley’s ardent campus activism, and their views on politics, drugs and music informed the magazine’s coverage. [Rolling Stone founder Jann] Wenner wrote a music column for the student newspaper and covered the free speech movement for a local radio station. Even more significant for Wenner, perhaps, was the example of Gleason, who combined an impressive body of music criticism with public support for student activists. Wenner spent hours at Gleason’s Berkeley home, soaking up his insights on music and journalism.

“Rolling Stone’s Berkeley roots were important, but the Ramparts influence ran even deeper. Ramparts was by no means a hippie magazine, but its rebellious spirit, flair for publicity and professional design would all leave their mark on Wenner and Gleason’s fledgling magazine.”