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Classic Rock is a British magazine dedicated to the radio format of classic rock, published by Future Publishing, who are also responsible for its "sister" publication Metal Hammer. Although firmly focusing on key bands from the 1960s through early 1990s, it also includes articles and reviews of contemporary and upcoming artists it deems worthy of note. Despite starting as a one-off project it has become one of the UK's best selling music magazines, and attracts much attention and respect of many of classic rock's biggest names . It recently published its 100th issue and now has a higher circulation than the NME.

Beginnings

Classic Rock was an idea formulated by ex-Metal Hammer Deputy Editor Jerry Ewing (subsequently Editor of Classic Rock), along with Metal Hammer colleague Dave Ling and art editor Andy Ryan at Dennis Publishing. They suggested a one-off title dedicated to classic rock. They felt it was neglected in publication and would attract a large audience. In 1998 original publishers Dennis Publishing allegedly begrudgingly authorised the first issue of Classic Rock featuring Guns N' Roses and including an article by Mick Wall, a journalist who became something of a renowned name when Axl Rose insulted him on the track "Get in the Ring" on Use Your Illusion II. It sold better than expected and was continued. Wall is one of six writers, along with Ewing and Ling who where involved in that publication and still write for the magazine today. The magazine attracted a niche audience initially but sales grew as Classic Rock featured artists such as Black Sabbath. Iron Maiden and Aerosmith on its cover in the first year. It attracted those who saw mainstream music publications such as Q and NME to be stale, and too focused on discovering the "next big thing". It also came at a time when the charts were even more dominated by pop bands than usual, as record companies seemed unwilling to risk money on bands who wrote their own material. Classic Rock soon became a regular fixture in newsagents the UK, Ireland and Europe, and now publishes 13 issues a year.

Address: 2 Balcombe Street, London, NW1 6NW UK


Key Acts

The magazine focuses on established bands with credentials dating back to the 1960s. Indeed, many of the artists who have appeared on its cover are deceased (Jimi Hendrix and Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy featured on early covers, as did bands with deceased members such as Queen and The Who).Acts to have appeared on the front cover 3 times or more to date include Queen, Guns N' Roses, Black Sabbath / Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page has been on the cover on his own right 3 times), Metallica, Thin Lizzy, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Genesis, AC/DC, and Mötley Crüe. More recent acts to have been on the cover include The Darkness and Velvet Revolver have been on it twice.Despite the dominating nature of acts undeniably falling into the category of classic rock, the magazine also includes heavy metal, prog rock, blues and grunge acts. Recent features have included thrash metal band Slayer, and it has reviewed acts as diverse as Porcupine Tree, Buckcherry and Rodrigo y Gabriela. Monthly updates on 'sleaze' and prog rock releases are a regular feature.

Contemporary Acts

Classic Rock reviews any release that even comes close to being classified as rock, including albums, DVDs, concerts and books. It includes an annual award for best new band. Acts such as Rose Hill Drive, Muse, DragonForce, Wolfmother and The Answer have all been featured in recent months.

100 Greatest British Albums

For the 91st issue (April, 2006), the magazine presented 'The 100 Greatest Britishmarker Rock Albums Ever', which were voted for by Classic Rock staff and various people associated with rock music (including Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath fame, Lemmy of Motörhead and Francis Rossi of Status Quo). The magazine decided to let AC/DC be classed as a British act, although the band was formed in Australia. Two of the band's singers (Bon Scott and Brian Johnson) and guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young are of UK descent. Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin IV reached first place.

100th Issue

The 100th issue contained all the regular features, but only one article, in which 100 names in rock were asked to write a piece on their nomination for a "rock icon". Contributors included Brian May, Lemmy (who nominated Tina Turner, who was then himself nominated by Ian Camfield), Ian Gillan, Gary Moore, Angus Young, Phil Collins, Sebastian Bach, Peter Frampton, Jerry Cantrell, Chris Cornell, Paul Rodgers, Chad Smith, Jack Black, Zakk Wylde and Matt Bellamy.

Special Issues

Classic Rock has also published, in conjunction with Metal Hammer, special decade issues featuring 70s (Issue I), 80s (Issue II), and 90s (Issue III) hard rock and metal bands, throughout 2006. In 2007, three special editions were also published with bonus DVDs for £7.50. These each focussed on one genre of rock music - first blues rock (Issue I), then progressive rock (Issue II and has now become a magazine due to the popularity), and finally, heavy metal (Issue III). A special 2007 collectors edition bookazine was produced entitled "High Voltage", featuring stories by Mick Wall and photographs by Ross Halfin on Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Axl Rose et al.

Key Contributors

List of contributors as of December 2008:

  • Brett Callwood
  • Carol Clerk
  • Johnny Dee
  • Harry Doherty
  • Malcolm Dome
  • Jerry Ewing
  • Hugh Fielder
  • Paul Ging
  • Jon Hotten
  • Neil Jeffries
  • Jonathan Lewis
  • Dave Ling
  • Ken McIntyre
  • Peter Makowski
  • Grant Moon
  • BP Perry
  • Sleazegrinder
  • Joel McIver
  • Sid Smith
  • Angela Spillane
  • Lady Starlight
  • Martin Thorpe
  • Tommy Udo
  • Mick Wall
  • Philip Wilding
  • Simon Williams
  • Rich Wilson
  • Henry Yates


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