The Birth of NME…
Founded by Theodore Smythson, The
New Musical Express
, was first launched on the 7
of March 1952 and is set to celebrate its 61
anniversary this March. Originally starting out as a
music newspaper, NME had once become Britain‟
s best selling music newspaper, which in the1980s, took the form of a magazine. Since then, the music bible has achieved launching itsonline version (NME.com) in the late 90s and recently, introducing the print to places like India.
The 1960s was the „go
era‟ for NME
- selling, on average, 200,000 copies per week, NMEkept rival music magazine
at bay. Under the editorial rule of Andy Gray,circulation of the magazine was at its peak; often, cover-pages would don champion artists atthe time, such as The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Between 1959 and 1972, a yearly NMEPoll Winners Concert had taken place, supporting the then obsession with Brit Rock andpsychedelic music.The British newspaper almost faced closure, during the early 70s, as it failed to keep up with thegrowth of rock and psychedelic music. Competitors such as
had gainedpopularity, whilst NME was at its fall. Sales of the paper plummeted to only 60,000 copies soldper week. IPC, the owners of the print, had made Alan Smith the new editor and was burdenedto
revive the paper‟s name or to face permanent closure.
Smith had recruited now-legendary journalists such as Nick Logan, Nick Kent and Charles Murray, who, as a result rocketed itssales volume to 300,000 per week. Now standing a healthy chance of survival, NME outstrippedits rivals.The late 70s was doused with Punk Culture, and during the British elections in the late 70s thepaper took a stance in British politics at the time of the election of Margaret Thatcher, but thedecade was changing in music terms. Hip-
hop had arrived in Britain. The once “musicallyinventive” and “smart” paper,
was now engrossed heavily in politics, often using music heroessuch as Elvis as political tools. Due to this, the paper was set to close again. However, onceDanny Kelly was given the editorial throne, along came new music enthusiasts such as SteveLamacq and Andrew Collins and had given NME a new sense of appeal.This was enough to last till the 1990s and officially transition into becoming a magazine. It wasthe 90s when major bands such as Nirvana had made a breakthrough from The U.S. This newmovement was called Grunge. The magazine took an interest for this popular movement andmuch of its content featured the rise of American bands like Pearl Jam. Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana, was found dead in April 1994, this was seen not only a death to the singer himself,but a death to Grunge.Britpop was back in fashion with bands such as Oasis and Blur being the centre of NME and themedia. The born-again magazine saw a sales increase during this period, yet, after this peak itwas at an all time low. Steve Sutherland, editor between 1992- 2000 described this as a resultof "People grow old with the magazine and it constantly has to reinvent itself for each newgeneration," and adding "That is quite depressing until you discover that everybody's golden erais a different one, and it is part of the way people grow up,"