Guitar World's expansion was an irresistible force by 1989. The decade had brought a surge to the electric guitar, the likes of which hadn't been seen since the instrument's invention.
In the final days before Seattle's grunge scene would eclipse L.A.'s metal stronghold, the electric guitar was being pushed to the brink of its technical capabilities. As Guitar World reached near-monthly publication (August had to wait until the nineties to catch a break), the magazine stood at the forefront as a showcase for the talents pushing the guitar -- talents such as Allan Holdsworth, Zakk Wylde and Joe Satriani.
Before the nineties could redefine the utility of popular guitar, a wash of young blood found its way onto Guitar World's pages. Guns N' Roses and Zakk Wylde made their front page debuts, as did shred icon Joe Satriani.
But perhaps most pertinent was the July issue, which marked the last living appearance of one of the most celebrated guitarists of all time. Stevie Ray Vaughan's triumphant return from drug and alcohol addiction, detailed in Dan Forte's article, would be cut short when, a year later, he was killed in a helicopter accident. Posthumous tribute issues would follow in the years after Vaughan's death, but none could ever recapture the eloquence and vibrancy of a fresh interview with the blues legend.
To find out more about the first 30 years of Guitar World magazine, check out our 300-plus-page book, The Complete History of Guitar World,which is available only at the Guitar World Online Store.