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NME Magazine: 15 Of The Publication's Most Memorable Covers

HuffPost UK logo HuffPost UK 07/03/2018 Rachel McGrath
Alex Turner et al. posing for a photo in front of a newspaper © NME

After 66 years, NME Magazine has announced that it will no longer be a print magazine. 

As of next week, the brand will exist online only and - whether you’ve always been a fan of the New Musical Express or not - the decision marks the end of an era. 

During the six decades it’s been in print, the magazine has chronicled the highs and lows of British music and played its own part in writing history, namely by pioneering the British Singles Chart. 

As its printers slow to a stop, look back at 15 of the most memorable covers... 

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1952: The First Issue

It all began with this issue more than 60 years ago.

That same year, the magazine launched the UK's first ever single chart, inspired by the US's Billboard Hot 100. 

Each week, record shops up and down the country would help create the chart by sending their sales figures to the magazine. NME

a close up of text on a black background © Provided by Huffington Post

August 1979: Joy Division

Joy Division's Ian Curtis and Bernard Sumner graced the cover in 1979.

'Unknown Pleasures' had been out for just four months and the industry was excited to see what the Manchester band could achieve. Sadly, just nine months after this issue was released, Ian ended his life. NME

a close up of a sign © Provided by Huffington Post

December 1986: Madonna

Proving that it's not just indie upstarts who could grace the cover, Madonna made the first of her four appearances on NME's front page in the mid-eighties, supporting the release of her single, 'Open Your Heart'. NME

a close up of a newspaper © Provided by Huffington Post

November 1989: The Stone Roses

One of the most well-remembered covers of all time saw Ian Brown and his band making a splash with a Jackson Pollock-inspired shoot. NME

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April 1994: Kurt Cobain Tribute

The magazine's editors stripped the front page back to pay tribute to the Nirvana frontman, opting for a simple black-and-white cover. NME

a close up of a newspaper © Provided by Huffington Post

August 1995: Britpop's Stars Go Head-To-Head

It was the chart battle that defined 1995, and NME added fuel to the fire with this cheeky cover. 

The release of 'Country House' was brought forward, and the track triumphed over 'Roll With It' in the charts, which led to... NME

a close up of a newspaper © Provided by Huffington Post

September 1995: Blur's Victory Cover

The magazine's publishers prepared two versions of this front page, one with Oasis and this one featuring a suitably smug-looking Damon Albarn. NME

a man in a newspaper © Provided by Huffington Post

June 2002: The Libertines' Debut

Pete Doherty and Carl Barat's band were already causing havoc on the London music scene, when they landed their first ever cover the week 'What A Waster' was released. NME

Alex Turner et al. on a newspaper © Provided by Huffington Post

October 2005: Arctic Monkeys Kick Right Off

Still looking like scruffy Sheffield lads, the band made their NME debut with a cover feature, as the hype surrounding them was reaching dizzy new heights. 

Three months later, their debut album 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' was released, and became the fastest-selling debut by a British band. NME

Simon Cowell in a newspaper © Provided by Huffington Post

December 2009: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

In 2009, Simon Cowell spoke to the mag, as 'X Factor' winner Joe McElderry battled Rage Against The Machine for Christmas number one. 

'Killing In The Name' was climbing its way to the top following a charity campaign and the band gave their sales a final push by promising a free London gig if RATM won. Joe's fate was sealed and in June 2010, RATM performed at London's Finsbury Park. NME

Amy Winehouse posing for a picture © Provided by Huffington Post

July 2011: RIP Amy Winehouse

Tragically, Amy Winehouse's first ever cover appearance came after her death in 2007. 

NME's editor at Mike Williams later discussed the page's conception, stating: "After an hour of playing with cover lines we took them all off and it all made sense.

“NME’s picture director Marian Paterson described the lack of words as 'A minute’s silence.' She was right.” NME

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April 2013: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Karen O was back! The Yeah Yeah's made a triumphant return with 'Mosquito', and officially waged war on fans wielding smartphones and video cameras at gigs in the accompanying interview.  NME

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September 2015: Rihanna makes a statement

In a move that magazine editor's dreams are made of, NME bagged Rihanna for the cover of their relaunch in 2015. 

Setting a fresh tone - with no indie lads in sight - RiRi's issue was always going to be one for the history books. NME

a man wearing a hat © Provided by Huffington Post

March 2016: The Zayn Event

Exactly a year on from leaving One Direction, Zayn marked his solo album's release  with this front page. 

He didn't pull any punches in the interview either, happily revealing which of his bandmates he no longer spoke to and dishing the dirt on his final days in 1D. NME

a close up of a man © Provided by Huffington Post

January 2017: Wiley Takes His Rightful Place

The Godfather of Grime never landed an NME cover back in the day but just over a year ago, he finally graced one, alongside the fitting cover line, 'Long Live The King'. NME

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