The publishers over at Creem Magazine must be a brave bunch—despite everything you hear about the impending death of print journalism, the iconic Detriot-based rock mag, which was founded in 1969 but has been published online only since 2001, is making a return to print. We’re pretty pumped to hear that the magazine credited with coining phrases like “punk rock” and “heavy metal” is making a comeback, so we thought we’d take a look at some other famous rock ‘zines and their impact on music history.
First published in March 1952, NME (originally New Musical Express) was the first British paper to include a singles chart. The rag ran cover features on British bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones throughout the sixties, and as NME writer Ian MacDonald so modestly points out: “I think all the other papers knew by 1974 that NME had become the best music paper in Britain. We had most of the best writers and photographers, the best layouts, that sense of style of humor and a feeling of real adventure.” Although some have criticized the magazine in recent years for its lack of diversity, NME’s Web site boasts an impressive 5.3 million monthly unique users, making it the UK’s most popular magazine Web site today.
Whether you love it or you love to hate it, there’s no denying RS‘s impact on music, pop culture and even politics. Remember that little incident with General McChrystal last year? And even if you can’t believe they put Snookie on their cover or agree with the critics who think the mag is run by old geezers, let’s not forget that this is the publication that was home to some of Hunter S. Thompson’s most famous work and showed us how crazy John Mayer really is. (We just never thought we’d hear someone use the phrase “Joshua Tree of vaginas.”) As founder and current editor and publisher Jann Wenner wrote in the mag’s first issue in 1967, RS is “not just about the music, but about the things and attitudes that music embraces.” We can get behind that.
Founded in 1985, Spin acted as the anti-Rolling Stone. While they profiled rock legends like Aeorosmith and jazz legends like Miles Davis, they also featured up-and-comers like Run DMC and the Beastie Boys, and were among the first to devote significant coverage to hip hop. The magazine was also groundbreaking in its decision to include editorial contributions from musicians like Henry Rollins and David Lee Roth, and many of its writers—including hipster favorite Chuck Klosterman—used their time at the magazine as a launching pad to success in other mediums.
You didn’t think we’d get through this feature without mentioning Billboard, did you? First published in 1894, the publication originally known as Billboard Advertising is one of the longest-running trade magazines in the world. What began as a paper for the bill posting industry soon began covering amusement parks and fairs, and in the ’20s started featuring movies. It wasn’t until the 1930′s, with the development of the jukebox, that Billboard began publishing music charts. And the rest, as they say, is history—Billboard has been publishing their “Hot 100″ since 1958, and today puts out more than 100 charts every week.
What are your favorite rock ‘zines? Let us know in the comments.