A magazine that you sometimes see in the waiting rooms of tire stores, Rolling Stone remains tirelessly dedicated to reporting on its own place in the history of the teensy sliver of music that its publisher enjoys. To that end, the august rag is forever publishing important lists ranking the best musicians and albums and Beatles songs, all of which mean the world to people who enjoy reading three times each year for the rest of their lives how important 1967 was.
But not even a great magazine can go it alone. In that spirit, we offer this list of our favorite special Rolling Stone issues. This was hard, because they all qualify! Seriously, this was like picking a junior-high school's best masturbator!
100 - 92: The chronological anniversary issue every five years or so, including the three they did in 2007 alone.
92- 81: The by-number anniversary issue every twenty-five issues or so.
80 - 70: The every-couple-years countdown issue where they rearrange their listings of the same 500 records recorded between '65 and '76 and then throw in Nevermind and maybe some Kanye if he's still a thing.
70 - 60: The semi-annual special issue looking back at the history of the Beatles, who changed everything so powerfully that there's no need for anything ever to change at all again.
59 - 50: Fear and Loathing '92. Fear and Loathing at Sbarro. Seriously, Fear and Loathing This Time Is As Good As It Was the First Two Times, We Swear. Fear and Loathing Guest-Loathed by Johnny Depp. Etc., etc.
49 - 40: The ones where Dylan breaks his silence and, for his trouble, receives a four-star review.
39 - 25: All those ones from the '90s where publisher Jann Wenner mixed up the magazine with Us.
24: The one where Carrie Fisher, Darth Vader, and an Ewok had a beach party with a ghetto blaster, all apparently captured by a Sears portrait studio photographer.
23 - 19: Women in rock! Women love rocking! And being lumped together and quarantined from real rock!
18: The fifty best records ever by women who rock, presented by Garnier Fructis. No. 50 is Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill; #1 is Aretha Franklin's I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You; in between is evidence that Joni Mitchell is quantifiably better than Sleater-Kinney, artists who of course were attempting exactly the same things.
17. The latest 500 best albums ever issue, where I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You is #84 and has its title misspelled because, ha, women! Let's put on the #1 best album ever and hear "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" again!
16 - 8: Here is a half-naked actress you might like to think about fucking while you listen to Paul Simon's Songs From The Capeman (four stars from Anthony DeCurtis, November 14, 1997.)
7. The one where Cameron Crowe learned that the true job of a journalist is not to tell the dark truths about the musicians he or she is covering.
6 - 2: Clapton explains his reverence for the blues greats Rolling Stone does not cover.
1. The one where Jann Wenner gave Mick Jagger's solo record Goddess in the Doorway five stars. That album's failure to appear in the current 500 best ever issue will doubtless be corrected soon.