Music Magazines of the 1960s

Updated November 21, 2016

The 1960s were one of the most prolific times for the magazine publishing industry, enabling niche publications to sell at high rates, including those that were geared toward different music genres. Some of the most successful magazines of this decade were "CREEM," "Rolling Stone," "Melody Maker," and "New Musical Express" (NME).


Although "CREEM" was founded in Detroit in the final year of the 1960s, it quickly picked up on the impending musical zeitgeist of glam rock and punk that started to form in the late '60s -- David Bowie and Lou Reed being the chief influencers of each respective genre. Right from the start, "CREEM" possessed a rogue, rebellious style that could have only been born in the wake of the '60s. The April 1969 issue alone showcased and praised Fleetwood Mac before the band exploded with the release of 1977's Rumours. And, this is just one example of how much CREEM trailblazed the path for as-yet unknown acts in the music world.

"Rolling Stone"

Perhaps viewed as the quintessential music magazine to exist in the 1960s, "Rolling Stone" was established in San Francisco in 1967. The magazine's premiere issue featured a film still of John Lennon from How I Won The War as its cover page, with other articles discussing the frontman of The Byrds kicking David Crosby out of the band, an interview with Donovan, and Jefferson Airplane's plans to release a new album. For the rest of the decade, "Rolling Stone" was pivotal in reflecting music trends on each of its covers, including performers Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton and The Beatles.

"Melody Maker"

"Melody Maker" was an influential British magazine that focused on chart rankings and polls. Already firmly established by the '60s (the magazine's first issue was published in the '50s), While its rival publication, "New Musical Express," was the first to take notice of the rock n' roll revolution, "Melody Maker" would later transition from its emphasis on jazz to showcase popular British acts, such as Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black and Cliff Richard.

"New Musical Express"

The go-to music magazine in Britain for several decades, "New Musical Express" (NME) was a pioneer for covering music news in England. NME was, in fact, at its most successful in the '60s because of its candid documentation of the psychedelic music movement. As the decade drew to a close, however, NME struggled to compete with "Melody Maker" as it failed to cover the rise of rock music acts.

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