Guitar World Magazine Covers Gallery: Every Issue from 1987 to 1993
Last week, we shared a photo gallery of every Guitar World magazine cover from our first six (technically seven) years of publication — 1980 to 1986.
Today, we present the next chapter in the Guitar World story — every magazine cover from 1987 to 1993.
The biggest change? For starters, in 1987, Guitar World made the jump from six issues to eight — and things just kept escalating from there. There were plenty of new faces to add to the ever-growing list of Guitar World cover artists (Oddly, the omnipresent Eddie Van Halen was missing in '87).
As you'll see below, Yngwie Malmsteen ushered in this new era, but you'll also find a host of brand-new cover stars, including Steve Vai & Billy Sheehan, Chris Squire and Trevor Rabin, Mark Knopfler, The Edge, Joe Perry and — well, just check out the gallery below!
By the way, during our first six years, Van Halen appeared on the most Guitar World covers. Who do you think made the most cover appearances from 1987 to 1993?
Enjoy! The next gallery is coming soon!
NOTE: Remember, you can click on each photo to take a closer look.
NOVEMBER 1991: Pulled from the trenches, Guitar World's November issue featured three lost interviews with three guitar legends: Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman.
JULY 1988: Despite Yngwie's efforts, Eddie was still king of the covers in 1988. There was still much division among fans of the old Van Halen and those of the Sammy Hagar-fronted VH. Ed commented: "I don't think our first six albums were bad, but we have a different quarterback now, so we're running different plays."
SEPTEMBER 1988: The now clean and sober Stevie Ray Vaughan was full of life and optimism when he sat down with Bill Milkowski for a frank interview about the blues legend's past indiscretions. Said Vaughan, "Between the coke and the alcohol, it got to the point where I no longer had any idea what it would take to get drunk."
OCTOBER 1988: Jimmy Page had recently reunited Led Zeppelin for a reunion performance at Atlantic Records' 40th anniversary concert. He felt the performance went well, but was displeased with the sound, illustrating the iconic guitarist's constant concern for quality control.
NOVEMBER 1988: Rising from the ashes of near ruin after the death of bassist Cliff Burton, Metallica was ready to forge ahead in 1988 with ... and Justice for All. In his first cover issue, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett talks about his band and what separates them from those other metal acts.
DECEMBER 1988: With the animosity between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger an ever-growing concern throughout the eighties, Richards went solo and released Talk is Cheap, but the guitarist expressed reservations about working without the band he'd led for the past 25 years.
JANUARY 1989: Robert Cray reached critical and commercial success with 1986's Strong Persuader and followed it up with 1988's Don't Be Afraid Of the Dark. He talked to Bill Milkowski about bringing the blues to the MTV generation, but staying true to his musical roots.
FEBRUARY 1989: With 1988's Man in Motion, Night Ranger attempted to recapture the hard rock sound that brought them success in the earlier part of the decade. Their songwriting remained slick, but the twin guitar attack of Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson was as dynamic as ever.
MARCH 1989: Guns N' Roses had ushered in a new era of "bad boy" rock stardom, but guitarists Slash and Izzy Stradlin were, characteristically, not impressed. Said Stradlin: "While everyone's talkin' about what we did or supposedly did yesterday, we're already working today on the music they're gonna hear tomorrow."
APRIL 1989: Everyone likes a little bottom. In April, Guitar World talked with bass legends Jack Bruce and Billy Sheehan. Sheehan had begun working with shred-god Paul Gilbert in Mr. Big, creating one of the most virtuosic, if not underrated, string teams in rock and roll.
MAY 1989: It had been some time since a jazz fusion guitarist graced a Guitar World cover, but Allan Holdsworth earned his spot in the May issue, having impressed the likes of Eddie Van Halen and Frank Zappa with his fluid, legato-heavy style.
JUNE 1989: By 1989, Zakk Wylde's ship had landed. He'd gone from teaching guitar for ten dollars an hour to being Ozzy Osbourne's hottest axe-slinger since Randy Rhoads. It was the first time Guitar World readers got a cover feature of Wylde, who would go on to become one of the magazine's most popular attractions.
JULY 1989: Having overcome drug and alcohol addiction, Stevie Ray Vaughan was back in 1989 with a new lease on life and a new album, In Step. Sadly, this would be Stevie Ray's last interview with Guitar World. He died a year later in a helicopter crash outside the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Wisconsin.
SEPTEMBER 1989: White Lion's 1987 album, Pride, made the band a hair metal staple throughout the rest of the decade. Just before the release of their followup album, Big Game, guitarist Vito Bratta sat down with Brad Tolinkski to talk about the players who inspired the Staten Island guitar ace.
OCTOBER 1989: Having established himself firmly as Billy Idol's guitarist for the better half of the eighties, Steve Stevens released his first solo album, Atomic Playboys in 1989. The album failed to match the success Stevens saw with Idol, but if you want a taste, watch the opening credit roll in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. It's track two from Playboys, "Power of Suggestion."
NOVEMBER 1989: Joe Satriani was flying high in 1989. He'd just released Flying in a Blue Dream, which peaked at 23 on the Billboard Top 200 (Yes, there were days "guitar albums" could climb that high).
DECEMBER 1989: Guitar World paid tribute to a living legend in the last issue of '89. Eric Clapton had just released Journeyman, which featured a roster of talent including Robert Cray, Phil Collins and George Harrison. The album reestablished Clapton as the six-string king and earned him a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.
JANUARY 1990: By 1990 Steve Vai had parted ways with David Lee Roth and taken over lead guitar duties for Whitesnake. It would be a few months before Vai would release his seminal solo album, Passion & Warfare, further establishing himself as the measuring bar for virtuosic guitar playing.
FEBRUARY 1990: To Guitar World readers, it must have seemed as if Eddie Van Halen had fallen off the face of the earth. The exalted axe-man had not appeared on a GWcover in almost two years. That absence, however, did not deter Van Halen's influence; he was named Guitar World's Player of the Decade.
MARCH 1990: Perhaps no rise, fall and second rise will ever be as glorious -- or notorious -- as Aerosmith's. Sure, part of the Boston quintet's resurrection was thanks to their collaboration with rap group Run DMC, but it was 1987's Permanent Vacation and 1989's Pump that showed the world America's greatest rock band was back.
APRIL 1990:A Joe Satriani/Steve Vai collaboration had been on most guitar players' wish lists for years -- and a year later they would get it when the two appeared together on Alice Cooper's Hey Stoopid album. In this issue, Satch revealed how he came to be Vai's first guitar instructor.
MAY 1990: A shredder-elite trio of Nuno Bettencourt, Reb Beach and Richie Kotzen looked poised (and posed) to take over the rock world on the May cover, but check out the featured box below. It's a subtle, if not ominous, prelude of things to come.
JUNE 1990: By the time Zakk Wylde made his second Guitar World cover appearance, the New Jersey-born guitarist had finally stepped out of the shadow of his idol, Randy Rhoads, and established himself as Osbourne's most endearing guitarist since the late Rhoads.
JULY 1990: Guitar World turns ten and commemorates with this retrospective issue featuring a collection of popular past interviews and "Quote-a-rama," a selection of the editors' favorite quotes from over the years.
SEPTEMBER 1990: The September cover featured Canadian blues/rock great Jeff Healey, who was still riding on the success of his 1988 album, See the Light, and the 1989 cult classic film Road House, where Healey's band played the house cover band in the movie.
OCTOBER 1990: This was the second time in 1990 that Reb Beach was featured on the cover of GW. And for good reason. Winger's sophomore effort, In the Heart of the Young, was on its way to platinum status, and the band was nominated that same year for an American Music Award as "Best New Heavy Metal Band."
NOVEMBER 1990: George Lynch had split with Dokken and formed his own band, Lynch Mob -- along with Dokken drummer Mick Brown. The group's first album was 1990's Wicked Sensation. The guitar ace took an optimistic approach to his new project: "Dokken made some big mistakes, and I wanted to learn from them."
DECEMBER 1990: Sadly, 1990 had to end on the bitterest of notes. Guitar and music legend Stevie Ray Vaughan died on August 27. Guitar World's final issue of the year paid tribute to the blues giant. "As a bluesman, he was as good as anybody," said Buddy Guy. "Ever."
JANUARY 1991: Led Zeppelin got the royal treatment for the first issue of the year. In this tribute special, Jimmy Page talks about the evolution of Zeppelin's biggest song, "Stairway to Heaven." Said Page, "I remember we played it at the Los Angeles Forum before the record had even come out, and there was like this standing ovation."
FEBRUARY 1991: His time with Deep Purple was coming to a close, but back in '91 Ritchie Blackmore was still a much sought-after, albeit cryptic, subject. In his interview with Mordechai Kleidermacher, Blackmore shared his thoughts on Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Van Halen and their influence on virtuosic guitar.
MARCH 1991: Although their album Recycler, with its return to the band's earlier, bluesier roots, couldn't match the success of Eliminator or Afterburner, Top were still a force to be reckoned with in 1991. After all, they were in Back to the Future, Part III. 'Nuff said.
APRIL 1991: "Steve Vai: The Last Interview?" It may seem impossible now to think of a cover story with such a loaded question, considering the popularity of the guitar maestro. But this came in the wake of Passion & Warfare, an album so other-worldly it seemed possible Vai might disappear back into whatever realm of guitar genius he came from.
MAY 1991: They were two of rock's most talented technicians, defying the laws of dexterity and pushing the boundaries of the electric guitar and bass. But ironically guitarist Paul Gilbert and bassist Billy Sheehan were perfectly content to talk about a demure little ballad from Mr. Big's new album Lean Into It called "To Be With You."
JUNE 1991: If you're going to run a cover story of the 25 Greatest Rock Records, you need a cover artist to match such lofty contentions. There's little choice in the matter. Jimi Hendrix makes his third appearance of the front page of Guitar World.
JULY 1991: It was a good month to be a fan of the blues. July's issue was dedicated to blues power, with articles on B.B. and Albert King, a look at some of blues' rising stars and a joint interview with Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy, the latter of which was in the midst of a commercial comeback thanks to Damn Right, I've Got the Blues. Beck appears on the album, as well.
AUGUST 1991: Although grunge was moving in, Skid Row were still the talk of the modern rock world. Guitarists Snake Sabo and Scotti Hill talked about their new album, Slave to the Grind, which had a distinctly heavier sound then their eponymous debut. "All this energy started to build up," said Hill. "I sat home, listened to Pantera's Cowboys From Hell and literally went crazy."
SEPTEMBER 1991: The guitar juggernaut returned in 1991 as Van Halen released For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, an album that would earn the band a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. For Eddie, it was just another day at the office. "Whenever I try to plan something out, it never seems to work out. So why plan? It only seems to lead to disappointment."
OCTOBER 1991: Nirvana, Van Halen and Guns N' Roses all released classic albums in 1991. But perhaps no album from that year will be as well remembered, or as heavily disputed, as Metallica's "Black Album." Although it would become a hugely popular success, many Metallica fans weren't ready for the shorter, commercialized songs. Still, it wasn't like they cut their hair or anything crazy.
DECEMBER 1993: Jimmy Page's second Guitar World cover of the year was in honor of Led Zeppelin Box Set 2, released in September. In his typical polite English fashion, Page commented on all things Zeppelin, and offered instruction for the first time for many of the band's most popular songs.
NOVEMBER 1993: At the time, it was hard to tell -- but yes, by 1993 the golden age of shred was, in fact, dead. It is, however, difficult to see the forest through the trees, so Guitar World asked the foremost expert on all things shred, Joe Satriani, his thoughts on the then-current state of rock.
OCTOBER 1993: In case you haven't notice, Guitar World loves retrospection. In the October issue, we compiled a devoted history to classic rock. We also love lists, thus we included a list of the 25 most influential albums of all time. One might call this a "classic" Guitar World issue.
SEPTEMBER 1993: For many, Passion & Warfare seemed an insurmountable feat of electric guitar wizardry, but Steve Vai isn't one to rest on his laurels. In 1993 he was back with a new lead singer -- Devin Townsend, who appears on the cover with Vai -- and a new album Sex & Religion.
AUGUST 1993: Heroes have heroes, too. In this issue of Guitar World leading metal axemen Dave "The Snake" Sabo and Dimebag Darrell meet their inspiration, Ace Frehley. Although Frehley's disdain with his former Kiss bandmate's was reaching it's acme, he was gracious enough to acknowledge his influence. "It's flattering to know that I've had such an impact."
JULY 1993: Anthrax released Sound of White Noise in 1993. The album represented a first and last for the band's lineup. It was the first album with former Armored Saint lead singer John Bush, who'd replaced long-time vocalist Joey Belladonna. It was also their last studio album with lead guitarist Dan Spitz. Despite the personnel changes, Sound of White Noise was a hit for Anthrax, debuting at No. 7 on the Billboard 200.
JUNE 1993: MTV's Unplugged series was all the rage during the early to mid-nineties. Of course, classic rockers like Neil Young and Eric Clapton had been practicing and perfecting this art on their own for years. Guitar World caught up with the guitarists in this issue which also includes a list of the 35 Greatest Acoustic Albums.
MAY 1993: Some matches seems so perfect, one has to wonder why no one thought of them earlier ... or why they don't last. The later was such the case with Coverdale and Page. Their collaboration, Coverdale/Page, was a commercial and critical success when it came out in March of '93, but the duo fared less well on the road and the partnership dissolved by year's end.
MARCH 1993: Although grunge was at the forefront, industrial metal had etched out a notable spot in the ranks of alternative rock. In a roundtable discussion, Guitar World talked with industrial rock pioneers Helmet, Sepultura and Ministry.
APRIL 1993: Talking to musicians is not as easy as one may think -- just ask my girlfriend. And it's especially hard talking to one as outspoken as Living Colour's Vernon Reid. So Guitar World enlisted help from the father of progressive rock guitar, Robert Fripp, who conducted a provocative interview with the sensational Reid.
FEBRUARY 1993: After 25 years, Pink Floyd had pushed nearly every boundary a progressive rock band could. Guitarist David Gilmour took Guitar World's Alan Di Perna through an expansive history of the band, concept albums, concept films, elaborate stage productions and breakups all included.
JANUARY 1993: AC/DC had ceased being a band, and became an institution. Their live shows were the stuff of legend, although not without occasional folly. Said Angus Young, "I've had my pants fall off. All of a sudden my wedding tackle was out there for all to see. "
DECEMBER 1992: It ends as it begins, with Extreme's Nuno Bettencourt holding... well, court in the December issue as he had in the January issue. Extreme had released III Sides to Every Story in September, but were still riding high on the huge success of their previous album, Extreme II: Pornograffitti.
NOVEMBER 1992: In Slash's second appearance of the year, the GN'R guitar god gets over Izzy Stradlin's departure and talks with Guns' newest rhythm player, Gilby Clarke.
OCTOBER 1992: For those frustrated guitar players who ever wondered "why did I pick this thing up in the first place," the October issue had your answer. Eric Clapton, Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani and a cast of other guitar greats revealed the reasons they picked up, and still play, the guitar.
SEPTEMBER 1992: Jimi Hendrix's estate was on the eve of numerous long and bitter legal entanglements, but there was still plenty about the man himself to talk about. In this issue, Guitar World dishes the dirt on the recording of Axis: Bold as Love and Electric Ladyland.
AUGUST 1992: Metal collides as two of the genre's most innovative songwriters meet for the first time. Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Metallica's James Hetfield got along well, as evident by Iommi's exhibition of the fingertips he lost in a factory accident decades prior, a display by Iommi that left a profound affect on Hetfield.
JULY 1992: Satch was still doing the impossible in 1992, bringing instrumental guitar rock to the masses. He did it again, five years after Surfing With the Alien, with his most commercially successful album, The Extremist. The album got a bit help from "Summer Song," which featured prominently in a Sony add for the Discman. And we all remember the Discman.
JUNE 1992: Guitar World was embracing the new era of rock music sweeping the country. June featured a roundtable discussion with members of Soundgarden, Pantera and Skid Row. Kim Thayil commented on the elusiveness of his evolution as a player. "It's hard to trace where my lead playing comes from. My playing just evolved from experimentation."
MAY 1992: After Randy Rhoads' death in 1982, the guitarist left behind a small cache of work, but a huge legacy of influence. Almost as good as a lost recording, GW unearthed a pre-Ozzy private lesson with Rhoads.
APRIL 1992: Whether you were a fan of grunge or metal, 1992 was all about Tap! They were back with a new album, Break Like the Wind, and could be found rocking out Springfield Arena on The Simpsons and this cover of Guitar World, which featured an exclusive "ultimate" lesson with Nigel Tufnel.
MARCH 1992: Van Halen struck gold again with the previous year's Grammy-winning album, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. In this interview the entire band talks with Brad Tolinski about the rigors of playing live -- something the band has historically done quite well.
FEBRUARY 1992: Slash had good reason to be conflicted in 1992. Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion albums were chart-busting successes, but they cost the lead guitarist his six-string partner in crime, Izzy Stradlin. Said Slash, "I mean, the guy didn't want to tour or do videos; he hardly wanted to record. I just never thought he was one of those guys that this would happen with."
JANUARY 1992: Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt was named GW's Most Valuable Player. You'd think he'd be happy, but Nuno actually had some choice words for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who'd previously criticized Extreme's sound. "Oh yeah, those are the guys that had a hit with Stevie Wonder tune. I don't usually buy records by bands that aren't able to write their own material."
DECEMBER 1991: One of GW's most enduring hallmarks are the lessons, particularly the artists' lessons. The last issue of the year was devoted to instruction with guest teachers Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman, Johnny Winter, Zakk Wylde and Anthrax's Dan Spitz.
JUNE 1988: By now Yngwie Malmsteen had become a challenger to Eddie Van Halen's position as most dominant Guitar World cover artist. For the third year in a row, he'd been featured in the magazine's anchor story. In this issue, Yngwie opened up about his new album, Odyssey, and the near fatal car accident that almost ended his career.
MAY 1988: By 1988 Steve Vai had pretty much done it all. He'd worked with avant-garde extraordinaire Frank Zappa, replaced Yngwie Malmsteen in Alcatrazz and joined forces with Billy Sheehan to make up David Lee Roth's all-star post-Van Halen band. He was just a year away from joining Whitesnake when this issue hit newsstands.
APRIL 1988: The first of our April split covers. George Lynch was riding high on the success of Back for the Attack, which peaked at No. 13 on the US Billboard charts. Lynch and Dokken spent most of 1988 touring; their shows in Japan would later comprise the live release Beast from the East, further cementing the band's popularity.
MARCH 1988: It was the second time in three years a special issue was dedicated to Jimi Hendrix. Nearly 18 years after his death, the guitar community still could not get enough of the genius trailblazer. More commemorative issues were to follow -- and you can imagine even more are to come.
JANUARY 1988: Michael Schenker's career was anything if not turbulent in the eighties - or for its entirety, for that matter. In 1988 he was still working with Robin McAuley in the McAuley Schenker Group. Here Schenker talked candidly about his ups and down with bands and members, and his time apart from UFO.
DECEMBER 1987: Aerosmith were back in full force in 1987. The hard-partying band had been through drug-addled self-destruction yet managed to resurrect themselves and return to form with Permanent Vacation. Guitarist Joe Perry got clean and sober and reflected in his interview with Steve Rosen the joys of working drug and alcohol-free.
NOVEMBER 1987: Mark Knopfler was still riding high off the mega-success of Dire Straits' hit album Brothers In Arms. In his interview with Gene Santoro, Knopfler talked about his side projects, working with Eric Clapton and why he humbly never considered himself that special of a guitarist.
SEPTEMBER 1987: With Steve Howe out of the band, Trevor Rabin stepped into Yes' lead guitar role with big shoes to fill. Fortunately the South African-born Rabin proved a capable replacement. Rabin had penned Yes' biggest hit, 1983's "Owner of a Lonely Heart," and was the driving productive force behind 1987's Big Generator.
JULY 1987: The Joshua Tree elevated U2 to superstar status. No doubt much of the album's success was owed to the textured guitar work of The Edge. The Irishman's sparse, lyrical playing offered a respite from the barrage of notes coming out of L.A.'s Sunset Strip.
JUNE 1987: There wasn't much in the way of live material for the late Randy Rhoads. The trailblazing guitarist's career was cut too short for much to be captured to tape. A couple of shows, however, did make it to the mixing board, and in 1987 Tribute was released. Guitar World celebrated the occasion with this special commemorative issue.
JANUARY 1987: It had only been a year since Yngwie Malmsteen graced the cover of Guitar World, but the phenom was back to kick off 1987 with a candid interview with Joe Lalaina. Malmsteen talked gear, influences and his slow progression from solo-oriented material to more commercial songwriting.
MARCH 1987: By 1987 David Lee Roth was poised to strike back at Van Halen's success with new frontman Sammy Hagar. He recorded Eat 'em and Smile with the superstar duo of Steve Vai and Billy Sheehan. The two virtuosos talked shop about working with Diamond Dave in the March issue.
APRIL 1987: The Police had been defunct for three years, but Andy Summers managed to keep himself quite busy in that time. His work with Robert Fripp kept him at the forefront of avant-garde guitar, and he'd begun his foray into film scoring that preoccupied him for the remainder of the decade. Summers also released a book of his photography, Throb, which he talked about in the April issue of GW.