Magazines — March 16, 2010 at 6:19 am

Spin in the ’80s: The Cure, R.E.M., Morrissey, The Replacements, U2 and much more

Earlier this month, Spin dropped a goldmine into Google Books: scans of nearly every issue of the music magazine, from its May 1985 debut up through October 2009. And you can read it all for free, nerding out, page by page, through nearly 25 years of music history.

With that in mind, we here at Slicing Up Eyeballs World HQ spent a good chunk of last weekend perusing the magazine’s late-’80s years, marveling at the ridiculously dated ads (mainly for beer, cigarettes and lots of blank cassettes, plus the occasional Kenny G-pitched Casio “digital horn” or MTV “Remote Control” full-pagers), but also being reminded of how much space Spin bravely devoted to chronicling the AIDS epidemic and bashing the PMRC’s war on music.

Still, the main attraction was the ability to revisit Spin’s music coverage, which touched quite a bit on what, at the time, were the increasingly mainstream sounds of college rock and the indie underground, from American heroes The Replacements, Hüsker Dü and R.E.M. to Brit imports such as The Cure and Morrissey.

Below we’ve assembled links to some of the highlights of the key ’85-’90 era (plus just a few later pieces), sticking to cover stories and features, but not yet delving into record reviews, to keep things somewhat simple. Just for fun, we’ve also thrown in links to many of the full-page ads for albums and tours (The Cure was perhaps Spin’s greatest musical advertiser of the era, with Elektra shelling out for everything from “The Cure in Orange” to the band’s little-remembered Integration box set).

Dive in yourself at Google Books, or just check out the direct links below.


The B-52s, Spin, March 1990

The B-52s
[March 1990 cover], [March 1990 cover story]

Bad Brains
[April 1987 feature]

Big Audio Dynamite
[March 1986 feature], [December 1986 No. 10, Upping St. ad]

Black Flag
[April 1986 feature], [July 1987 discography ad]

David Bowie
[March 1987 feature], [October 1989 Sound + Vision ad], [May 1990 Changesbowie ad], [August 1990 feature]

Billy Bragg
[August 1985 feature], [July 1989 feature]

Kate Bush
[February 1987 The Whole Story ad]

Butthole Surfers
[June 1986 feature], [July 1990 feature]

David Byrne
[July 1989 feature], [January 1990 feature]

Cabaret Voltaire
[February 1988 feature]

Camper Van Beethoven
[May 1987 feature]


Nick Cave, Spin, February 1989

Nick Cave
[July 1985 feature], [February 1989 cover], [February 1989 cover story]

Lloyd Cole
[July 1990 feature]

Concrete Blonde
[September 1990 feature]

Julian Cope
[May 1987 feature], [March 1989 feature]

Elvis Costello
[November 1986 feature], [May 1989 cover], [May 1989 cover story]

The Cramps
[April 1990 Stay Sick ad], [August 1990 feature]

Crowded House
[June 1987 feature], [August 1988 Temple of Low Men ad], [November 1988 feature]

The Cult
[May 1987 feature], [July 1987 Electric ad], [September 1989 feature]

The Cure
[July 1986 Standing on a Beach ad], [July 1987 feature], [August 1987 Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me ad], [March 1988 cover], [March 1988 cover story], [April 1988 ‘The Cure in Orange’ ad], [July 1989 Disintegration ad], [July 1989 feature], [September 1990 Integration box set ad], [December 1990 feature], [December 1990 Mixed Up ad], [June 1992 cover], [June 1992 cover story]

Dead Kennedys
[February 1986 feature]

The Dead Milkmen
[March 1989 Beelzebubba ad], [June 1990 feature]


Depeche Mode, Spin, July 1990

Depeche Mode
[August 1988 feature], [May 1989 101 ad], [July 1990 cover], [July 1990 cover story], [December 1990 feature]

[October 1988 feature]

Dinosaur Jr
[August 1989 feature]

Duran Duran
[February 1987 cover], [February 1987 cover story]

Echo & The Bunnymen
[September 1987 Echo & The Bunnymen ad], [April 1988 feature]

Brian Eno
[May 1989 feature], [December 1990 feature]

[February 1989 feature]

Faith No More
[December 1990 cover], [December 1990 cover story]

The Feelies
[January 1989 feature]

Galaxie 500
[December 1989 feature]

Gene Loves Jezebel
[March 1987 feature]

Guadalcanal Diary
[November-December 1987 2×4 ad]

Happy Mondays
[August 1989 feature]

Robyn Hitchcock
[March 1986 feature], [February 1988 Globe of Frogs ad], [May 1988 feature]

Hoodoo Gurus
[June 1987 Blow Your Cool ad]

The House of Love
[March 1989 feature]

Hüsker Dü
[December 1985 feature], [March 1987 Warehouse: Songs and Stories ad], [February 1989 Grant Hart feature]


INXS' Michael Hutchence, Spin, February 1988

[June 1986 feature], [September 1986 Listen Like Thieves tour ad], [November-December 1987 Kick ad], [February 1988 cover], [February 1988 cover story], [November 1989 Michael Hutchence cover], [November 1989 Michael Hutchence cover story], [December 1990 X ad], [December 1990 feature]

Jane’s Addiction
[October 1988 Nothing’s Shocking ad], [Febraury 1989 feature], [September 1990 feature], [October 1990 Ritual de lo Habitual ad], [June 1991 cover], [June 1991 cover story]

Jesus and Mary Chain
[November 1985 feature], [December 1989 feature]

Living Colour
[May 1989 feature], [July 1989 Vivid ad], [October 1990 feature], [November 1990 Time’s Up ad]

Love and Rockets
[August 1989 feature]

[January 1988 feature]

Ian McCulloch
[January 1989 feature]

Meat Puppets
[August 1986 feature]

Midnight Oil
[August 1985 feature], [November 1988 feature], [April 1990 feature], [April 1990 Blue Sky Mining ad]

Mighty Lemon Drops
[January 1990 feature]

[December 1985 feature]


<Morrissey, Spin, June 1988

[September 1986 feature], [May 1988 Viva Hate ad], [June 1988 cover], [June 1988 cover story], [April 1989 concert review], [April 1990 feature], [November 1992 cover], [November 1992 cover story]

Peter Murphy
[November 1988 feature]

My Bloody Valentine
[May 1989 feature]

New Order
[September 1985 feature], [May 1988 feature], [July 1990 Peter Hook feature]

Nine Inch Nails
[November 1989 Pretty Hate Machine ad], [February 1990 feature]

Mojo Nixon
[November-December 1987 feature]

Sinead O’Connor
[January 1988 The Lion and the Cobra ad], [January 1988 feature], [April 1990 cover], [April 1990 cover story], [April 1990 I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got ad], [December 1990 feature]

Oingo Boingo
[April 1990 Dark at the End of the Tunnel ad]

Pet Shop Boys
[February 1987 feature], [December 1990 feature]

[August 1988 feature], [October 1990 Bossanova ad]

[June 1986 feature]

Iggy Pop
[November 1986 feature], [August 1990 feature]

The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde
[December 1986 cover], [December 1986 cover story]

The Pursuit of Happiness
[July 1989 feature]

[August 1986 feature]

Red Hot Chili Peppers
[May 1985 feature], [October 1989 feature], [February 1990 cover], [February 1990 cover story]


R.E.M., Spin, October 1986

[October 1986 cover], [October 1986 cover story], [June 1987 Dead Letter Office ad], [December 1988 Green ad], [February 1989 feature], [June 1989 feature], [March 1991 cover]. [March 1991 cover story]

The Replacements
[May 1985 feature], [June 1987 feature], [July 1987 Pleased to Meet Me ad], [April 1989 feature], [December 1990 feature]

Screaming Blue Messiahs
[January 1988 Bikini Red ad]

Simple Minds
[August 1987 cover], [August 1987 cover story], [June 1989 Street Fighting Years ad], [August 1989 feature]

Siouxsie and the Banshees
[June 1986 feature]

The Sisters of Mercy
[April 1988 Floodland ad]

Skinny Puppy
[December 1988 feature]

The Smithereens
[May 1988 Green Thoughts ad], [August 1988 feature]

The Smiths
[June 1985 feature], [May 1987 Louder Than Bombs ad]

Sonic Youth
[August 1985 feature], [January 1989 feature], [September 1990 feature]

The Stone Roses
[October 1989 feature], [May 1990 feature]

The Style Council
[August 1988 Confessions of a Pop Group ad]

The Sugarcubes
[August 1988 feature]


Talking Heads, Spin, June 1985

Talking Heads
[June 1985 cover], [June 1985 cover story], [October 1986 True Stories ad], [March 1988 Jerry Harrison feature], [April 1988 feature]

10,000 Maniacs
[July 1989 Blind Man’s Zoo ad], [September 1989 cover], [September 1989 cover story]

That Petrol Emotion
[September 1987 feature]

The The
[April 1987 feature], [October 1989 Mind Bomb ad]

They Might Be Giants
[December 1988 feature], [March 1990 Flood ad]

Throwing Muses
[May 1989 feature], [May 1989 Hunkpapa ad]

Tin Machine
[July 1989 feature], [July 1989 Tin Machine ad]

[May 1985 feature], [July 1985 feature], [April 1987 The Joshua Tree ad], [June 1987 feature], [October 1988 ‘Rattle and Hum’ movie ad], [January 1989 cover], [January 1989 cover story], [July 1992 cover], [July 1992 cover story]

World Party
[March 1987 Private Revolution ad]

[April 1989 feature]



  1. this is so fucking cool! how am I suppose to do some work, when i was presented with this goldmine????

  2. Wow, thanks for that, must have taken an age to find all that

  3. Yep, this is so darn cool indeed. I love it when magazines put their whole archives on the Net. Wish the New Musical Express, Q, MOJO, Uncut, Record Collector and now sadly defunct Melody Maker and Record Mirror could do it as well. Billboard did it last year.

  4. How funny. I recently found my “Integration” box at the end of February after finding the mini-poster last year. I remember selling my separately-purchased CD singles just to get the box and poster. Still have the sticker that came on the shrinkwrap too – what a nerd!

  5. Oh, I forgot to say: THANK YOU for those links!

  6. That is great news I have all of those issues but haven’t had the time to dig through for them. Spin was truly was the alternative to that whore Rolling Stone. The graphic novel issue along with the Hip Hop tribute in 1988 were just incredible reads.

  7. Wow….this is amazing! I’m afraid to look too much cause it’s gonna suck all my time! I still have my Depeche Mode spin in my archives (the photo of Dave with ETS outfit in this article) and maybe a few others. I don’t even go near Spin now! Those were the days…..:)

  8. I had the Cure 88 and Morrissey 88 covers on my wall back in the days! Spin was a cool mag along with Star/Smash Hits. They were the go to mags for my young “new wave” years!

  9. You forgot someone on that list. Edie Brickell and New Bohemians. They got their start on college rock radio and on MTV’s 12O Minutes. Edie Brickell and New Bohemians was on cover on spin and had a cover story.

  10. Brandi Barton

    I had (have) many of those issues. I started out with a subscription to Rolling Stone and discovered Spin a couple of years later as my personal taste in alternative music was becoming defined. I still liked and listened to music that was influenced by my parents , hence the RS subscription, but RS couldn’t hold a candle to Spin’s alternative coverage.

  11. The Moz Wolverhampton concert review is exhilarating.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *