American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) came out with its Top 40 Magazine Covers list. It highlights a number of very interesting and timeless covers that have captures history and American culture. Some of my favorites include:
#4 The New Yorker (March 29, 1976)Commenting on the wealthy’s perspective of the world, this not only comments on how “big” and “important” New York is to the rest of the world but how small the rest of the world is to New York. Having been on 5th Avenue, I can relate slightly to this depiction of 9th Avenue.
#10 National Geographic (June 1985) I’m actually surprised this was so far down on the list. This classic shot of the unknown girl with the captivating eyes depicted the life of an Afghan refugee. Seventeen years later, Sharbat Gula was tracked down. Read her story: http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/afghangirl/.
#22 George (Oct/Nov 1995) Cindy Crawford in a George Washington getup? As the premiere issue of the John F. Kennedy Jr.-founded magazine, it certainly struck a chord. The famed founder later died in a plane crash, maybe further solidifying this cover’s standing on this list. The magazine had only a six year lifespan.
#27 Entertainment Weekly (May 2, 2003) Who couldn’t love the Chicks and their soulful, foot-tapping songs? Even better? Painting powerful insults and criticisms they received after their famed comments about President George W. Bush. What started as a downward career spiral, the Chicks turned into a triumph commentary of American culture: it’s quick reaction to unpopular viewpoints, the wishy-washy approach to the first amendment, the ideals of patriotism and leadership loyalty. This cover is my favorite from the list.
#36 People (September 15, 1997) Just like my parents’ generation remembers JFK’s assassination, I remember exactly where I was when Princess Diana died. Not only that, I was like thousands around the world watching all of the coverage and who got up early to watch her sons mournfully follow her casket blocks to the church. To this day, I can’t listen to either version of Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind” without feeling compelled to cry.
#37 National Geographic (October 1978) This cover of Koko the gorilla taking a picture of her reflection captures development psychologist Francine Patterson’s work. After spending six years with Koko, Patterson finally taught the gorilla sign language leading other professionals to believe the animal had linguistic capabilities. This cover also reminds me of Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey, another researcher who studied the habits of gorillas and lobbied for their protection.