Photo Gallery: Guitar World Magazine Covers Through the Years — 1990
It was the dawn of a new decade. The excess of the eighties was about to awaken to a sobering musical evolution -- one that detested the indulgent guitarist who'd reigned king for so long.
But it wasn't over yet. The covers of Guitar World were still rampant with the top talent of the day, including Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde and Edward Van Halen. April saw the results of Guitar World's first ever Reader's Poll; in September, Guitar World ran its first special "blues" issue, featuring Jeff Healey on the cover.
Of course, nothing could top July's 10th-anniversary commemoration, with its comprehensive retrospective of the magazine's first decade of publication and a collection of quotes culled from ten years worth of interviews.
For fans of the intricate guitar work that defined the eighties, check out this gallery of covers from 1990. You'll never see so many wildly-colored axes again.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.