Magazine covers featuring musical artists are inherently cool, whether the reader is a tween or a boomer. They come loaded with style, after all. (How many different looks - including varieties-not-found-in-nature of hair color - have Madonna and Bowie rocked on their many covers over the decades?) The result: memorable, provocative and sometimes flat-out crazy images of the stars.
But beyond the superficial, they also have chronicled the changes in the culture and the sounds of the times - consider Bob Dylan’s various transformations across 24 (!) Rolling Stone covers. Not only have covers become part of music history and culture at large, but they also remain a potent tool for marketing artists.
Musicians have a way of grabbing our attention - often, it’s while peering out from a newsstand shelf, be it Time, Playboy, Vanity Fair or GQ. Recent controversial covers include a naked Miley Cyrus on Rolling Stone and Pharrell Williams sporting a 10-gallon hat on Billboard. But the single most talked about of late is the current Vogue, featuring hip-hop star Kanye West and his reality-TV personality spouse Kim Kardashian ("Kimye"). Music covers have the power to provoke, to inspire - and to fascinate. There is no doubt they have given us some of the most iconic images in the history of pop culture.