About Smash Hits
Back to the very beginning, Smash Hits the magazine, was founded in 1978 by Nick Logan, creator of The Face and a veteran editor from the halcyon years of the NME.
The first regular issue featured Blondie on the cover and after three issues, in response to massive sales, switched from a monthly to fortnightly publication. (In case this ever comes up on Trivial Pursuits, the first test issue, three months previous, featured Belgian one-hit-wonder Plastic Bertrand on the cover and Sham 69 as the centre spread.)
It was during the 1980s that Smash Hits attained ‘phenomenon’ status and helped to launch the careers of high-flying journalists including Heat editor Mark Frith, The Observer’s Miranda Sawyer and Mark Ellen who went on to launch Q, Mojo and The Word. Famously, Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys’ was assistant editor for a time.
During this period, appearing on the cover of Smash Hits was a sign that an act had finally ‘arrived’. Despite iconic status, the magazine never pandered to pop stars; instead editorial deployed an irreverent and witty style – hence references to Dame David Bowie, Sir Clifford of Richard and Fab Macca Wackythumbsaloft; hence too the trademark questioning of stars with questions from the biscuit tin, insightful enquiries such as, ‘Do you have smelly feet?’.
The 1990s were less kind and saw circulation figures drop away in spite of a variety of format redesigns and a change in editorial emphasis towards celebrity and entertainment icons. Even Kate Thornton’s editorial stewardship was unable to reverse decline.
In spite of this reversal in UK magazine fortune (abroad, licensed versions continued to sell strongly), the brand gained recognition and fame for its Poll Winners Party, while the business extended via compilation albums, TV and Digital Radio.
After 28 glorious years, the UK magazine folded in 2006, an era had ended. But Smash Hits on TV (Sky 362 and Virgin Media 337) and online lives on, giving fans the chance to indulge their pop gland with the UK’s no. 1 Pop Channel. Thank goodness for that. [Link to] Click here to see what’s on right now.