A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Jim Henke was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine for 16 years before being the vice president and chief curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum for 18 years. At Rolling Stone, he served as Los Angeles bureau chief, music editor and managing editor. He met U2 in 1981 and wrote the first profile on U2 for American audiences, and then a cover story on U2 in the late 1980s. Also while at Rolling Stone, Henke co-edited The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll and The Rolling Stone Album Guide.
While at the Rock Hall, Henke curated the 2003 major exhibition “In the Name of Love: Two Decades of U2.” and numerous special exhibits for the museum, including “I Want to Take You Higher,” an exhibit about the psychedelic era; “Roots, Rhymes and Rage: The Hip-Hop Story,” the first major museum exhibit devoted to hip-hop; “Rock Style,” a look at rock and roll fashion that was a joint venture with New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and “Lennon: His Life and Work,” a major exhibit on the life and career of John Lennon. While at the Rock Hall, Henke edited two books, I Want to Take You Higher and Lennon: His Life and Work. He also wrote The Rock Pack, a three-dimensional book about the history of rock and roll, as well as three biographies: Lennon Legend, a biography of John Lennon that was published in the fall of 2003; Bob Marley Legend, a biography of Bob Marley that was published in 2006, and The Jim Morrison Scrapbook, which was released in fall 2007.
In 1988, Henke was asked by Amnesty International to write a book about the Human Rights Now concert tour. This tour featured Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel and others and was organized to call attention to the International Declaration of Human Rights. The tour went around the world, with stops in India, Argentina, Brazil, the Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, France, Italy, Japan, England, Costa Rica and America. Henke’s book was published in December 1988.
Henke has also been the vice president of product development for Elektra Records. In 1992, Henke won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music journalism. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University, where he has been honored with a Distinguished Alumni award.