The American Society of Magazine Editors has voted on the best magazine cover of the last 40 years, and it’s this famous Annie Leibovitz photograph. From the New York Times:
The best magazine cover of the last 40 years was Rolling Stone’s January 1981 cover photograph of a naked John Lennon curled up in a fetal position around his wife, Yoko Ono. That is the judgment of editors and art directors from about 50 of the nation’s top magazines, who were asked to pick the 40 best covers of the last 40 years, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the National Magazine Awards. The picture was taken by Annie Leibovitz just hours before Mr. Lennon was shot and killed on Dec. 8, 1980.
George Lois, the man responsible for some of the better Esquire covers, bemoans the lack of interesting or creative covers on magazines these days.
“Magazines don’t even try to do covers with actual ideas any more,” he wrote in Radar. “You can’t just slap a picture of Nicole Kidman on your cover and expect people to say, ‘Wow! What a cover!’ It’s just another picture of Nicole.”
Other top covers included the Vanity Fair cover that featured a pregnant and nude Demi Moore. Like most of the top 40 covers, it is over 10 years old.