Its fair to say that The Face changed the publishing industry forever. Launched 33 years ago this month by Nick Logan with Jerry Dammers of The Specials on the cover of the inaugural issue, the magazine covered topics that had previously been dismissed by the traditional UK music press as lightweight and inconsequential. More importantly, Logan and The Face took a high-minded approach to celebrating the style trends of early 80's youth culture, including 2-Tone. And while that might not seem particularly revolutionary in the digital age in which we live in now, it was during the early 1980's in the U.K.
After a bumpy start, the magazine was also hugely successful. By appealing to an emerging ‘aspirational’ market, The Face opened up the magazine industry to much broader audience. It also made an art-form of its covers which helped drive style trends throughout much of the '80s and early '90s. Logan (who also founded Smash Hits before launching The Face) was inspired to start the magazine by 2-Tone. He was quoted in a recent retrospective about the first issue of the magazine with Dammers on the cover in The Guardian:
"This was the launch issue. I had been advised that “The Face” was too abstract, and I should have the word monthly in the title, and I knew I could find something more current for a first cover than the Specials. But they embodied everything the magazine aspired to – they had a look, a passion, and great music – so there was never an alternative. In a sentimental way too, I owed 2 Tone a debt for the inspiration to pursue the idea. And, as it was my savings at risk, I could call it what I liked – after all, the Face was to be my escape from a career where too often I struggled to explain myself to publishers or committees. No focus groups here: I was purely, wholeheartedly, following instinct."Listen to an interview Logan did with The Guardian here and read a great interview Logan did about the founding of The Face here.
After the initial Dammers cover issue, Logan featured other stars from the 2-Tone stable on three covers alone in 1981 -- Suggs of Madness (January 1981 cover issue), Ranking Roger of The Beat (June 1981 cover issue) and Terry Hall of The Specials (July 1981 cover issue) as well as Fun Boy Three (April 1982 cover issue). See the covers below.