With scores of contributors at Smash Hits in the 1980s it’s difficult to know which of them to single out. So, below are contributors to the first and final issues of the magazine in the 1980s, together with mention of some of the longer serving writers between those editions.
Staff at 1 January 1980
Editor Ian Cranna
Features Editor David Hepworth
Design Steve Bush, Andy Ingamells
Editorial Assistants Diane Church1, Bev Hillier2
1 First person appointed to the staff of Smash Hits in 1978 and stayed until 1980.
2 1979-1983: originally employed by to transcribe the lyrics for songs where there was no sheet music available; she became a permanent editorial assistant when the magazine went fortnightly. Later went on to edit Smash Hits’s “sister publication” Just Seventeen and was managing editor of Big! in the 1990s.
3 1979-1980: various roles in the music industry – from a sales assistant at HMV in the early 60s to a singer in beat group by the end of the decade; to a journalist for various titles including NME and Black Echoes in the 70s; before working for record companies as a reissue specialist in the 80s and 90s. More recently worked as a label boss for a distributor.
4 Veteran music journalist. Was an R&B and jazz fan from an early age; he wrote fanzines and contributed album sleeve notes part time before accepting a full time job writing for New Musical Express in 1972 where he later introduced his popular Fred Fact column. Thereafter working freelance he wrote for numerous music papers, and was a contributor at Smash Hits throughout the 1980s and well into the 1990s. He edited and wrote for a number of books and encyclopedias, and from 1996 has written regularly for Mojo.
5 1979-1981: award winning photographer famed for her pictures of pop stars; she collected some of her shots in the book The Moment: 25 Years Of Rock Photography (1995).
6 1979-1980: i.e. Mrs Nick Logan, later business manager and company secretary for his publishing company Wagadon.
7 1980-1982: mysterious name that also crops up occasionally in other music papers; in Smash Hits, his main contributions were reviews of indie singles/albums and a column called Independent Bitz. His encyclopaedic knowledge of bands signed to Postcard records indicates it might have been a pseudonym for Ian Cranna (who managed Edwyn Collins’ Orange Juice in addition to his journalism work).
8 1979-1981: American writer and broadcaster resident in the UK from the 70s until around 15 years; now lives in New Jersey. Wrote for just about every music paper in the UK while here: you can find her name in Record Mirror, Sounds, Disc, NME, Black Echoes …
Staff at 31 December 1989
Editor Richard Lowe
Features Editor Derrin Schlesinger1
Reviews Editor Alex Kadis News Editors Mike Soutar, Tom Doyle Film/TV Editor Lola Borg
Design Caroline Grimshaw, Ian Pollard
Editorial Assistant Vincent Vincent
Production Joanne Higgs
Reader Services Jo Collins
Picture research Harriet Bell
Staff Writer Sylvia Patterson2
John J Murphy
1 joined 1986 on the picture desk. Left to become a television producer for which she has numerous credits.
2 joined 1986, barely older than the audience she was writing for; she was senior staff writer at the start of the 1990s. Went freelance and regularly appears in the pages of the quality national papers (The Guardian, The Sunday Times). Her memoir What’s It All About, Kylie? – A Writer’s Life Lost In Music is due on 16 June 2016.
3 post-Smash Hits joined 1985. Later he was a staff writer at American titles like Rolling Stone, Details and GQ. Noted for rock biographies including one on Robbie Williams, and in particular for his close association with Pet Shop Boys, for whom he has edited fan club publications, provided DVD commentaries and written numerous sleeve notes.
4 resident cartoonist from 1984 onwards. His illustrations have appeared in countless publications over the past 35 years.
5 joined 1988. Prolific contributor to magazines and newspapers for the past 25 years, also a documentary filmmaker and radio broadcaster. Best known as an arts critic; she was on the judging panel for the 2007 Turner Prize.
6 joined 1988, journalism was her profession only briefly and she is now an illustrator, animator and author. In an extraordinarily packed career, this former child actor was even a pop star of sorts herself for a short time.
7 joined 1988; went freelance and wrote for women’s magazines, becoming an advice columnist. Now a psychotherapist.
Other long-serving staff
Linda Duff (1980-1985): a key figure in Smash Hits’s early years, Duff’s column Get Smart! answering readers’ questions became an essential feature of the magazine and led to creation of a permanent role known as ‘reader services’. Her career began in Ireland working for a magazine’s sales and advertising department, graduating to writing. Moving to London, she became an editorial assistant for Smash Hits and stayed for over five years, leaving for national newspapers Daily Mirror (1985-1989) and Daily Star (1989-1998). At the Star she ran the pop and showbiz desks; her approach for the Splash! (later, Rave) column was to focus on emerging artists rather than the traditional chasing of established stars. This paid off when she gave early press to Take That in 1990, who went on to be the most successful pop act of the decade. She ended her time at the Star as Features Editor and then worked for a television production company for a time before returning to Ireland. She died in September 2013.
Dave Rimmer (1981-1986): long-serving features writer for EMAP titles Smash Hits and The Face, he went on to write for various titles in the UK, US and Germany. He was resident in Berlin at the end of 1980s and witnessed the fall of the Wall. Two of his most notable works are the books Like Punk Never Happened: Culture Club and The New Pop (1986) and New Romantics: The Look (2003) which concern the music industry at the time of his employment at Smash Hits.
Dave Bostock (1981-1986): designer; had a 35 year career with EMAP (later Bauer Media) in various roles such as publishing director for music and youth titles.
Vici Macdonald (1984-1988): art director, editor and writer. Macdonald encountered Smash Hits when she was an art student: after hearing then editor Ian Cranna on the radio, she sought out a copy of the magazine, found she was impressed with the content, and applied to join the staff after finishing her studies. She left to pursue freelance journalism and has reunited with her former boss Steve Bush for a couple of book titles in more recent years. Formerly (2012) features her photographs of disappearing London alongside poetry from Tamar Yoseloff.
David Keeps (1984-1988): editor of the US version of Smash Hits, Star Hits, which was launched in February 1984. Content between the two titles was shared.
William Shaw (1985-1989): born in the UK, grew up in Nigeria, lived in Hackney in the 80s and LA in the 90s and now resides in Brighton. Was an editorial assistant for Zigzag and Blitz in the early 80s; at the latter, he interviewed Neil Tennant in the early days of Pet Shop Boys, who introduced him to Smash Hits. His colleague there Tom Hibbert was best man at his wedding in 1994. At the behest of another colleague, David A Keeps, Shaw wrote for Details during his time in America. He has written for numerous publications including regular pieces for New York Times and The Observer and is the author of several non-fiction and fiction books, the latter being his Breen and Tozer crime series.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Dec. 27
No release scheduled for this date.