Circus (magazine)

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CircusMag logo.png
EditorGerald Rothberg
First issueOctober 1966 (Hullabaloo);
March 1969 (Circus)[1]
Final issueMay 2006[2]
CountryUnited States

Circus was a monthly American magazine devoted to rock music. It was published from 1966 to 2006. In its heyday the magazine had a full-time editorial staff that included some of the biggest names in rock journalism, such as Paul Nelson, Judy Wieder, David Fricke, and Kurt Loder, and rivaled Rolling Stone in sales and surpassed Creem. In 1974, a sister publication was launched, titled Circus Raves,[3] and by 1977 that venture had been merged into Circus magazine, making Circus a biweekly publication.[4]

Gerald Rothberg originally put together the magazine under the name Hullabaloo in 1966 (23 issues), before changing the name to Circus in 1969.[1] In its early years it covered hard rock acts like The Doors and Grand Funk Railroad. Later, Circus began to cater to teenage boys focusing mainly on the popular rock acts of the time, such as Kiss.

In 1971 Howard Bloom joined CIRCUS as editor, his tenure lasted until August 1973.

In the late 1970s, the magazine started focusing on pop culture as a weekly in the vein of People Magazine, which caused a drop in sales. The magazine gradually shifted to Heavy Metal acts in the early and mid-1980s, then began focusing coverage on glam metal groups like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard in the mid-to-late 1980s. Until the arrival of grunge, Circus prospered in this style. When grunge did arrive, however, the magazine lost focus and sales again dropped.

As the 1990s progressed, Rothberg changed the longtime design and logo of the magazine, pared the staff down to a bare minimum, and started using stories from freelancers. It was during this period that Rothberg was attacked in the Guns N' Roses song "Get in the Ring".

Before the magazine was shut down in May 2006,[5] Circus covered contemporary heavy metal, competing against magazines like Kerrang and Hit Parader.


  1. ^ a b "20 Top Music Magazine Histories". CBUB Productions & Archives. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  2. ^ "CIRCUS Magazine Is No More – May 18, 2006". 18 May 2006. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  3. ^ "Circus Raves". Rock's Backpages. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  4. ^ Raup, Avo (April 14, 2012). "Circus Raves". afka (at) Archived from the original on July 1, 2006. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  5. ^ John David Ebert (September 2, 2011). The New Media Invasion: Digital Technologies and the World They Unmake. McFarland. p. 198. ISBN 978-0-7864-8818-6. Retrieved October 31, 2015.

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