What are the Top 10 Magazine Covers of All Time?
Some photographs cease to be mere photos or illustrations and instead become a remarkable moment in history. To write this post, we have rummaged around in the attic of our memory and dusted off some of the best magazine covers that have become collector’s items over the years. These front pages have travelled the world that makes major and minor milestones in history.
Many popular magazines have been putting out some of the best contents possible since their incorporation. Some of the best and most eye-catching content can even be found right on the cover. Here is a look at the most iconic and top 10 magazine covers of all time in no particular order.
Top 10 Magazine Covers of All Time
1 Glamour, August 1968
An 18-year-old Harvard student and daughter of an Uganda diplomat, Katiti Kironde became the first black woman to ever appear on the cover of the magazine. Although black models are still in the minority presence in the late 60s it was completely unheard of to have a black woman on the cover of a major woman’s magazine. Katiti Kionde won Glamour’s Top 10 Best Dressed College Girls contest with the highest score.
Smiling and wearing a white shirt, a colorful scarf, and elegant peals earrings, Katiti Kironde became one of the symbols of racial integration in the US. Before this publication, no black woman before her had ever appeared in a fashion magazine.
That time, it was feared that the 18-year-old Harvard Graduate would affect the sales figures, but reassuringly, as it turned out the absolute opposite was true; the issue sold more than 200 million copies. Even today, this one remains among the top 10 magazines covers of all time.
2 Rolling Stone, January 1981
Rolling Stone’s cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono was named one of the top magazine covers to appear since 1965. The image was photographed by renowned celebrity portraitist Leibovitz mere hours before Lennon was shot on 8 December 1980.
This picture was eventually used on the cover of Rolling Stone’s tribute issue to Lennon 22 January 1981. Today, it is considered as one of the top 10 magazine covers of all time in the world.
3 Vanity Fair, August 1991
Vanity Fair’s provocative cover shot of naked and hugely pregnant Demi Moore projected the actress to even greater heights after the huge success of the movie Ghost the previous year. The cover effectively helps to establish Moore as a member of Hollywood’s A-List at the time.
Showing a pregnant woman’s body was considered taboo during that period, the American actress broke the mould, showing off proudly how pregnancy amazingly transformed her body. It was another little provocation addressed to the American conservatives that were still shaking after seeing, Indecent Proposal starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore.
This image spread across the world-changing the way of representing the female body with the message those women can be sexy even when they are pregnant. This cover has been imitated many times by a range of celebrities willing to bare all to gain a little publicity though few have been seen as brave as Moore, with extensive use of photo shopping to disguise the effects of the pregnancies.
4 Life, August 1964
Founded in the year 1936, Life is an American magazine started by Henry Luce. In February, an article was published presenting 4 emerging stars of the British music scene that wee in the US for their first international tour, the Beatles.
The editors did not give too much importance to the band, they basically ignored them. But after a few months, they had to change their minds when the Beatles returned to the US as the most famous brand in the world. Then, Life magazine threw the quartet onto the cover using a picture take by John Dominis, a famous war and sports photo reporter hired by the magazine to document the Korean War, the rise of the Kennedys and the Olympic Games.
5 National Geographic, June 1985
Another top magazine cover of all time was featured in the National Geographic on June 1985. An Afghan girl photographed by Steve McCurry was published on the cover of National Geographic magazine. This portrait became the symbol of the Afghan wars and conflicts that were devasting the nation during that time.
This image was taken in the Peshawar’s refugee camps. It portrays Sharbat Gula, a twelve-year-old orphan girl; her ice eye captured the world. Initially, the image was discarded by the magazine’s art director. Later, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, Bill Garrett understood the additional evocative power of the image and decided to publish it on the cover.
Although there are a number of covers feature on this list that create a real impression on the viewer without the use of powerful photographs, this candid image is perhaps the most likely to grab the eye and persuade the man on the stress to part with his hard-earned change. The subjective nature of the question makes it almost impossible to state that a magazine cover is the most definitively iconic, but this magazine cover has a pretty good claim to the title.
6 Vogue US, April 2008
The covers of the famous American magazine, Vogue US are among the most awaited in the world. And when the Bible of style announced in April 2008, a black man was going to end up on the cover for the first time in the magazine’s 116-year history, you can imagine readers’ excitement.
But once out, criticisms were not what Vogue helped for. On the cover, LeBron dribbles the ball with one hand while with other holds the waist of Giselle Bundchen, the popular Brazilian model. Despite Giselle’s smile, many accused the magazine of racism as the image seemed to recall King Kong while shaking a terrified Fay Wray in the movie filmed in the year 1933.
7 TIME, April 1966
In April 1966 the question, “Is God Dead?” appeared on the cover of TIME magazine in red letters against a black backdrop. It was the first time the magazine used a type-only cover. An article was written by the editors and entitled; Toward a Hidden God included the opinions of Christain theologians Gabriel Vahanian, Paul van Buren, Thomas J. Altizer, and Rabbi Richard Rubenstein.
They believed the death of God has come since God was no longer visible in public life and religion was dead. This article receives a lot of backlashes from readers, but the radical movement died out by the end of the decade. This one of two type-only covers in the Top 40 and among the 10 magazine covers of all time.
8 The New Yorker, September 2001
On September 2001 there was a tragic terrorist attack, it hit America badly. Due to it, the New Yorker came out with a total black cover where you could see just the silhouettes of the two towers that the morning collapsed in the heart of the Big Apple and where a lot of people lost their lives.
Realized by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly, this non-image becomes the perfect representation of the emptiness that the terrible attack left behind and of the lives that were stopped in a few minutes. In the NewYork, there were no photographs that could express the pain felt in the US, a world power that on that day had been stripped of its humanity.
9 Harper’s Bazaar, September 1992
Harper’s Bazaar was debuted in the year 1867 as the first fashion magazine of America. In 1992, it celebrated its 125th anniversary and the September 1992 issue under legendary Editor-in-Chief Liz Tilberis’s direction heralded one of the most dramatic magazine reinventions in the publication history.
Tilberise helped a lot for transforming the magazine from an also-run fashion magazine into the one of the most cutting-edge and experimental of the big fashion glossies- illustrated by the creative typeface and Avant-grade image of Linda Evangelista on the September cover.
10 Rolling Stones, January 1981
The Rolling Stones, a renowned American magazine commissioned to Annie Leibovitz, head of the magazine’s photography, a photo shooting of Yoko Ono and John Lennon. At the initial phase, the idea was to portray only the former Beatles but the singe wanted his partner to appear in the shooting also.
Leibovitz introduced the idea of taking a picture of the two completely naked. However, Yokoa was not comfortable to shoot naked and decided to keep her clothes on. Only Lennon appears naked in the picture, crouched next to his partner. This picture does not only present the in-depth love and bond between the two but this is also the last photo of Lennon. A few hours later, the singer was killed.
So these are the top 10 magazine covers of all time, ranging from as far back as the 60s, to as recently as the last few years. We hope you found this list interesting and now you have a good idea about the best magazine covers.
If you think we have missed mentioning any important magazine cover then feel free to comment below. We will be happy to include your suggestion in our life. Also, let us know if you have any doubt or questions. At last, don’t forget to subscribe to The CEO Magazine to get all the latest updates in your inbox.