40 ASME-Kicking Covers

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Wow, they were busy in Puerto Rico! Not only were they busily squeezing the American Society of Magazine Editors advertising guidelines into an easy-to-skirt one-page document, they were also announcing the to 40 magazine covers of the past 40 years, creating quite a lot of press over an exercise that was essentially arbitrarily timed, though definitely fun.

The top 40 mag covers of the past 40 years are led by the classic Rolling Stone shot of a naked John Lennon curled around a clothed Yoko Ono, taken the day he died. Demi Moore’s pregnant nakedness gracing Vanity Fair came in second, Muhammad Ali as Saint Sebastian came in third, the New Yorker’s view from 9th street (and many a shower curtain, hmmm?) 4th, and Esquire’s iconic “Andy Warhol drowns in tomato soup” cover to illustrate the death of the avante garde movement. Other important covers: the “Era of Elegance” Harper’s Bazaar cover, featuring the glamorous, practical (“I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day”) and Canadian Linda Evangelista; Yep, Ellen’s Gay (dead last, tying at #37), Yep, Clinton Looks Cool Through A Fish-Eye Lens, and Yep, They Were Serious About Killing That Dog.

A few interesting points from the press release: Slate submitted an entry, which is the only on-line publication mentioned (I’d have to rule against a webpage being equivalent to a cover though – sorry, Slate, but it’s just a different art form); PC World submitted “How to Connect to the Internet” in 1995, which “reflected a watershed moment in connectivity” which I think is more germane than Nicole Kidman’s milky-white back; and an entry from The Advocate, who ASME says had a cover for February 1983 featuring “a little known epidemic among gay men,” which I’m assuming is AIDS, but why be so coy in mentioning it?

In any case, it’s cool to check out what they did pick; there really are some utterly classic covers and it’s cool to see them all side by side. Check out high-res versons here and what Jon Stewart has to say here. Kidding, you really think he was invited?

Yep, Ellen's a top magazine cover.jpgBlack on black.jpgNever trust girls with yellow hair.jpgFish-eyeClinton.jpgNational Geographic pin-up.jpg


1. Rolling Stone – Jan. 22, 1981 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono in bed
2. Vanity Fair – Aug. 1991 – Nude pregnant Demi Moore
3. Esquire – April 1968 – “The Passion of Muhammad Ali”
4. The New Yorker – March 29, 1976 – Drawing of New York from Hudson River and rest of the country to Pacific Ocean
5. Esquire – May 1969 – Andy Warhol drowning in Campbell’s soup can –”The decline and collapse of American avant-garde”
6. The New Yorker – Sept. 24, 2001 – 9/11 – Twin towers black on black
7. National Lampoon – January 1973 – “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog” – Man pointing gun at terrified dog
8. Esquire – October 1966 – “Oh my God – we hit a little girl.”
9. Harper’s Bazaar – Sept. 1992 – Canadian Linda Evangelista holding up the letter ‘A’ in magazine’s title: “Enter the Era of Elegance”
10. National Geographic – June 1985 – Afghan girl – “Haunted eyes of an Afghan refugee’s fears”
11. Life – April 30, 1965 – “Drama of life before birth” – fetus in womb drawing
12. Time – April 8, 1966 – “Is God Dead?”
13. Life – 1969 – Man on the moon: “To the moon & back”
14. The New Yorker – December 10, 2001 – “New Yorkistan” map: New York divided into Middle Eastern names
15. Harper’s Bazaar – April 1965 – Model’s face peering through pink cutout
16. The Economist – Sept. 10-16, 1994 – Two camels portraying: “The Trouble with Mergers”
17. Time – June 21, 1968 – Lichtenstein drawing: “The gun in America”
18. ESPN – June 29, 1998 – Michael Jordan jumping against all-white background
19. Esquire – December 2000 – smiling Bill Clinton photo; fisheye lens
20. Blue – October 1997 – Man diving
21. Life – November 26, 1965 – Vietcong prisoner with eyes and mouth taped shut: “The blunt reality of war in Vietnam”
22. George – Oct/Nov 1995 – Cindy Crawford dressed as George Washington
23. The Nation – November 13, 2000 – George Bush: What me, worry?
24. Interview – December 1972 – Andy Warhol photographing model for the Christmas issue
25. Time – September 14, 2001 – 9/11: Photo of twin towers terrorist bombing
26. People – March 4, 1974 – Young Mia Farrow biting a strand of pearls, set to star in Gatsby
27. Entertainment Weekly – May 2, 2003 – Nude Dixie Chicks – “Country”s controversial superstars take on their critics”
28. Life – April 16, 1965 – Black and white photo: “Vietcong zero in on vulnerable U.S. copters”
29. (tie) Playboy – October 1971 – African American woman posing on Playboy bunny chair
29. (tie) Fortune – Oct. 1, 2001 – “Up from the ashes”: Man covered in ashes after 9/11 terrorist attacks
31. Newsweek – November 20, 2000 – Half Bush, half Gore photo: “And the winner is…”
32. Vogue – May 2004 – Nicole Kidman’s back profile – dress in an elegant gown (Ed. Not wild about this choice; boring)
33. (tie) Newsweek – July 30, 1973 – “The Nixon Tapes”: Aerial view of the White House turned into a tape recorder
33. (tie) Wired – June 1997 – Apple symbol covered in barbed wire: “Pray”
35. New York – June 8, 1970 – “Free Leonard Bernstein”
36. People – September 15, 1997 – Black and white Princess Diana photo
37. Details – February 1989 – Cyndi Lauper photo
37. (tie) Fast Company – Aug/Sept 1997 – “The brand called You” – against a Tide background
37. (tie) Glamour – August 1968 – “Best Dressed College Girls” with a black woman as the cover model (first time a black woman appeared on the cover of a national women’s magazine)
37. (tie) National Geographic – October 1978 – Gorilla taking photograph: “Conversations with a gorilla”
37. (tie) Time – April 14, 1997 – Ellen DeGeneres: “Yep, I’m Gay”