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Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana, MIA And Other Massive Artists' First Ever NME Covers

Here's a blast from the past. From Blur and Blondie to Madonna and MIA, here's 23 of the biggest names the world of music has had to offer these last 50 years as they appeared on their first ever NME cover - for a lot of these artists, milestone moments in incredible careers...

  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs – March 8 2003: Hip, moody, mysterious and goddam pretty, YYYs were born cover stars. They’d just delivered the finest American debut of that year, which made a new idol for arty punks everywhere out of frontwoman Karen O. “Girls in the front row were jumping up and grinding against Karen” guitarist Nick reported from an early gig "She seems to inspire that sort of thing.”

    Photo: NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • Nirvana – November 23 1991: Two months after the release of ‘Nevermind’, Nirvana had their first NME cover. Around the time, Cobain told NME that the album’s name came from his disgust in the face of apathy: “People just don’t do things very often anymore. I’m kinda disturbed by it.”

    Photo: AJ Barrett/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • Blur – July 20 1991: Two singles in and on the cusp of a third, Graham Coxon reveals the band’s schooldays. “There’s this idea that we were sort of arrogant weirdos who didn’t fit in at all, but that’s not really true. Damon was a bit like that! I was just strange in that… I wanted to wear cardigans and ties.”

    Photo: Ed Sirrs/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • Kasabian – December 4 2004: Three months after their acclaimed self-titled debut LP, Kasabian were staying admirably humble. Frontman Tom Meighan said: “Form wise you can’t touch us; no one comes near, no-ones on our planet, on our scale. Fuck the Americans. I’m sick of your fucking three-minute, scuzzy garage rock shit.”

    Photo: Sam Jones/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • Arctic Monkeys – October 29 2005: Arctic Monkeys earned their first cover just two weeks after the release of their debut single. Mid-interview they’re interrupted by a gang of 16-year-old fans, and Turner adds: “Noel Gallagher were talking about us on the radio,” said Turner. “We were pissing ourselves.” So young.

    Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • Florence + the Machine – January 10 2009: Six months prior to the release of Lungs, Florence Welch’s star was rising, apparently totally by accident. “I have no plan, no attention span and very little focus,” she said. She also spoke about her sweet sixteen – which was spent jumping out of trees. “It felt amazing hitting the ground.” Right.

    Photo: Tom Oxley/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • The Who – May 23 1970: In NME’s review of The Who’s ‘Live at Leeds’ album, they are named “just about the most exciting visual act in the world.” You wonder how they’d fare against their modern-day competitors – hopefully they’d come up with something better than light-up wristbands.

    Photo: NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • Amy Winehouse – July 26 2011: Amy’s first cover – a black-and-white tribute – came three days after her tragic death at the age of 27. Four months later came her second, in which Mark Ronson, Nas and Salaam Remi detailed her unreleased music, later released as ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’.

    Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • The Libertines – June 8 2002: The Libertines’ first cover came just after their first single ‘What A Waster’ was released. With hype engulfing the band at the time, Pete said: “I think two of us will be dead by Christmas. We’ll still meet you back here. The only difference is that we’ll be ghosts.” Didn’t they do well?

    Photo: Roger Sargent/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • Lily Allen –July 12 2006: ‘Smile’ was an instant chart-topper in July 2006, just before Allen’s candid album ‘Alright, Still’ was out. Allen was our cover star that week, for some reason taking the opportunity to knock The Libertines’ Carl Barat. He “just stood in front of the stage while I was rehearsing. He’s a bit of a weirdo, isn’t he?”

    Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • The Streets – March 16 2002: In 2001, out of nowhere came Mike Skinner, a cheeky garage fan from Brum who got a few of his mates together and duly made the UK’s first classic album of the new decade, ‘Original Pirate Material’. Skinner explained: “The album is not about drugs. It’s just the life that I know. Everyone I know takes drugs.”

    Photo: Ewan Spencer/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • Primal Scream – September 28 1991: When NME’s James Brown entered Bobby Gillespie’s Kentish Town lair, he was greeted by “a swirl of strangled bedsheets and old clothes,” with records all over the floor. “To a lot of people I think music's a commodity,” said Gillespie. “Whereas to us it's a holy thing, and none of us are even religious."

    Photo: Harry Borden/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • Madonna - December 13 1986: Madge strikes a pose.

    Photo: George Barber/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • MIA – May 15 2010: Politicised musical futurist cum fashion icon cum daughter of Tamil freedom fighter, who talked like Joe Strummer and looked like a rebel princess... yep, an NME cover was written in the stars for the impossibly compelling Mathangi Arulpragasm.

    Photo: Pamela Littky/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • David Bowie – July 15 1972: The first of 32 (!) appearances and counting by Dame Dave on the cover of NME. Here's to many more, eh?

    Photo: NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • The Smiths - February 2 1984: The start of a beautiful, at times troubled, friendship. Moz on the cover of NME, his bandmates brooding in the background lit in pink and blue.

    Photo: Anton Corbijn/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • Blondie - September 29 1979: Debbie Harry, some 35 years before being crowned an NME Godlike Genius, adorns the cover of NME for the first time. The revolution was indeed peroxide.

    Photo: Robert Bayley/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • Oasis, June 4 1994: Can't imagine Noel was best pleased by Oasis' first NME cover - Liam on his own, shot in stark black and white by Kevin Cummins. Still, he's had plenty of his own covers since then, so can't complain too much.

    Photo: Kevin Cummins/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • PJ Harvey – April 4 1992: Polly was just 22 when she released her debut ‘Dry’. “I’ve tried thinking of a man who’s singing similar lyrics - or trying to do the same things musically - and I can’t think of anyone,” she said. Over twenty years on and the same thing still applies. Another Kevin Cummins shot.

    Photo: Kevin Cummins/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015

  • Stone Roses – November 18 1989: Commenting on his peculiar choice of trousers, frontman Ian Brown said: “We’re obsessed with clothes. Always have been. With flares coming back people have got to realise that you can’t wear anything wider than 21-inch bottoms. Anything more looks ridiculous.” Good tip, that. Shot by Kevin Cummins.

    Photo: Kevin Cummins/NME

    Added: 14 Apr 2015