On Monday, the American Society of Magazine Editors announced their pick of the best magazine cover of the past 40 years. Their choice: John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the cover of Rolling Stone.
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."
According to the Times, the contest was designed as a way to revive interest in magazines, which have been under constant pressures in recent years from other media sources, namely the Internet. " The association allowed any consumer magazine in the country to nominate its four "best" covers, using their own subjective criteria. The association received 444 nominations from 136 magazines and named 52 top editors to judge them. The only rule was that the judges could not vote for a cover with which they had been involved."