In the 1980s, Star Hits magazine helped kids rock out to the best bands

Rock out with these old Star Hits magazine covers from the 80s

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Star Hits was a riff on the hugely popular British music magazine, Smash Hits… and in the ’80s, America’s teens loved it. Here’s a look at what bands were hot and featured in Star Hits magazine back in the day!

New! Star Hits magazine with Duran Duran (February 1984)

Plus Spandau Ballet, Culture Club, Rolling Stones, Pat Benatar & Stray Cats

Duran Duran on first issue of Star Hits - Feb 1984

The Police on Star Hits magazine cover (May 1984)

Plus Van Halen, Duran Duran, Culture Club, John Cougar Mellencamp, Thomas Dolby & Cyndi Lauper

Star Hits magazine cover - 1984 - The Police

Van Halen on Star Hits magazine (June 1984)

Also Thompson Twins, The Pretenders, Queen, & Lionel Richie

Star Hits magazine cover - 1984 - Van Halen

Vintage music magazine featuring The Cars (July 1984)

Plus Culture Club, Rockwell, R.E.M, & Paul Young

Star Hits magazine cover - July 1984 - The Cars

Star Hits magazine with The Go-Gos (August 1984)

Plus Micheal Jackson, The Alarm, Bruce Springsteen, & Steve Perry

Star Hits - GoGos 1984

Star Hits magazine: Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran (September 1984)

Plus Boy George, The Pretenders, Human League, Cars and Huey Lewis & The News (Image from our partner site,

Star Hits September 1984 Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran

Billy Idol on the cover of Star Hits magazine (October 1984)

Plus INXS, Tom Bailey, The Jacksons, The Human League, Prince, Duran Duran, & Madonna.

Star Hits magazine cover - 1984 - Billy Idol

Music from Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper, & Spandau Ballet (November 1984)

Plus Bananarama, Stray Cats, Corey Hart, & Huey Lewis

Star Hits magazine cover - November 1984

December 1984: Madonna

Plus David Bowie, U2, Wham, Duran Duran, Prince & Cyndi Lauper

Madonna - Vintage Star Hits magazine 1984

Holidays 1984: Wham! George Michael & Andrew Ridgeley

Plus Scandal, Hall & Oates, Prince, Boy George & U2

Star Hits magazine: Winter 1984: Wham!

March 1985: Andy Taylor & John Taylor of Duran Duran/Power Station

Plus Billy Idol, Wham!, Hall & Oates, String, Prince, Bryan Adams, & Eurythmics

Star Hits magazine cover - 1985 - Power Station Duran

ALSO SEE: Remember Dynamite magazine, with ’70s & ’80s stars kids loved? See 60 classic covers here!

April 1985: Bryan Adams on the cover of vintage Star Hits magazine

Plus UB40, Thompson Twins, Billy Idol, Frankie, Power Station & Wham!

Star Hits magazine cover - 1985 - Bryan Adams

May 1985: John Taylor of Duran Duran

Plus Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Wham & Madonna

Star Hits magazine: May 1985: John Taylor of Duran Duran

June 1985: Whamerica!

Plus Julian Lennon, Billy Idol, Madonna, Mick Jagger, & David Lee Roth

MORE: Live Aid concert videos (1985)

Star Hits magazine cover - 1985 - Wham

September 1985: Power Station

Plus Wham!, Tears for Fears, R.E.M, David Bowie, Prince, Sting, & Sade

Star Hits magazine cover - September 1985 - Duran Duran

November 1985: Duran Duran

Plus Thompson Twins, Madonna, Power Station, Wham!, Tears for Fears, UB40, Tina Turner, & Sting

Star Hits 1985 - Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran

December 1985: Tears for Fears

Plus Corey Hart, Dead or Alive, A-HA, Paul Young, ABC, Thompson Twins, & Arcadia

Star Hits magazine cover - 1985 - Tears for Fears

Vintage Star Hits magazine 2nd annual Readers’ Poll (March 1986)

Madonna – Duran Duran – A-ha – Tina Turner – John Taylor – Bob Geldof

Star Hits magazine cover - 1986 - Reader Poll 2

June 1986: John Taylor of Duran Duran on the cover

Plus Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Charlie Sexton, ABC, OMD, Nick Rhodes, Dream Academy, Scritti Politti, Michael J Fox, & The Bangles

Star Hits magazine cover - 1986 - John Taylor

November 1986: Aha! (Morten Harket)

Plus Belinda Carlisle, UB40, INXS, Glass Tiger, The Cure & The Smiths

Star Hits magazine cover - 1986 - A-ha

December 1986: Bananarama

Plus Max Headroom, Pet Shop Boys, Dr. Robert of the Blow Monkeys, Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, The Smiths, Don Johnson, & Talking Heads

Star Hits magazine cover - 1986 - Bananarama

ALSO REMEMBER Lip Smackers from Bonne Bell: The super trendy vintage lip balm from the ’70s & ’80s

March 1987: Howard Jones contest

Plus The Monkees, Madonna, Nick Kamen, Max Headroom, Paul Young, ‘Til Tuesday, & Dead or Alive

Star Hits cover - Howard Jones 1987

May 1987: Duran Duran, Beastie Boys & Billy Idol

Plus Hipsway, Bruce Willis, Dead Or Alive, Pseudo Echo, Bon Jovi, Monkees

Star Hits magazine cover - 1987 - Duran Duran

June 1987: Jon Bon Jovi

Plus Beastie Boys, Charlie Sheen, Psuedo Echo, Cutting Crew, Psychedelic Furs, & Robbie Nevil

Star Hits magazine cover - 1987 -Bon Jovi

July 1987: Beastie Boys

Plus Crowded House, INXS, Madonna, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Poison

Star Hits magazine cover - 1987 - Beastie Boys

October 1987: Madonna

Plus George Michael, Beastie Boys, Boy George, Fuzzbox Bowie, Nick Kamen, Suzanne Vega, Simon Le Bon, Simple Minds, ABC, The Smiths, & Echo and the Bunnymen

Star Hits magazine cover - 1987 - Madonna

NOW SEE THIS: Sixteen covers of 16 magazine from the ’80s

February 1988: INXS

Plus Depeche Mode, Swing Out Sister, Belinda Carlile, ABC, Love & Rockets, Debbie Gibson, The Cure, & U2

Vintage Star Hits magazine - Michael Hutchence of INXS 1988

MORE: Remember those mail-order record clubs that offered vinyl albums & tapes for a penny?

March 1988: George Michael

Plus Robert Smith/The Cure, U2, Billy Idol, INXS, Hurrah!, Depeche Mode & Bananarama

Star Hits magazine cover - 1988 - George Michael

April 1988: U2 + more

Plus Rick Astley, Eurythmics, Billy Idol, Duran Duran, Robert Smith (the Cure), Madonna, & Curiosity Killed the Cat

ALSO SEE: The OG Rickroll? Subscribe to Star Hits & get Rick Astley (1988)

Star Hits magazine cover - 1988 - Reader Poll

May 1988: The Cure (Robert Smith)

Plus INXS, Tiffany, Boy George (Culture Club), Curiosity, Simon F., The Bangles, ABC, & Terence Trent D’Arby

Star Hits magazine cover - 1988 - The Cure

June 1988: Rick Astley on the cover of Star Hits

Plus Sinead O’Connor, Depeche Mode, INXS, Pet Shop Boys, David Lee Roth, Gene Loves Jezebel, & Johnny Hates Jazz

Star Hits magazine cover - 1988 - Rick Astley

July 1988: Pet Shop Boys

Plus U2, Michael Jackson, Kingdom Come, Glass Tiger, & Poison

Star Hits magazine cover - Pet Shop Boys

MORE: See the top stars on these vintage Tiger Beat magazine covers from the 1970s, and relive all the breathless hype

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Comments on this story

6 Responses

  1. Wow, thanks for sharing. I definitely had that ’84 issue with Madonna and David Bowie on the cover. Star Hits was a godsend for teens like me who just couldn’t figure out some of the lyrics to awesome songs (whose LP/cassette liner notes didn’t include lyrics to either).

    But I remember Star Hits mostly for the ton of letters I received when I posted in the Pen Pals section, looking for fellow mods/rudies in the world. I got easily over a hundred responses in the mail, yet almost 99% of them from people who had absolutely no interest in the mod/ska scene but were thrilled that I was from L.A….wish I kept them all, nevertheless. Thanks for sharing.

    1. omg… I got hundreds of letters from all over.. I was 16 and would get bundles of mail every day, what a blast. just trying to remember what the name of that section was called

  2. I had packed up my Star Hits (later Smash Hits in the U.S. and U.K.) years ago and had forgotten about them until I saw this post. I’ve just unpacked them and I’m currently re-reading them, issue by issue (about 70 issues from 1984 to ’89). I’m glad that I hung onto them all these years!

    1. Could you please confirm if the February 1984 issue had an article about Madonna written by Neil Tennant and photos by Deborah Feingold?
      Thank you so much!

  3. I liked Star Hits because it was a lot like Creem. I was raised on Creem (and to a lesser degree, Circus and Rock Scene) before I encountered Star Hits and I was delighted that SH shared Creem’s waggish sense of humor (it even had funny captions under some of the photos like Creem did). I also made friends via pen-pal with a lovely Bananarama fan from Wisconsin thanks to Star Hits. SH might’ve looked very Tiger-Beat-ish just going by the covers but their record reviews were usually very intelligent and insightful (and often pretty funny too). Fun mag.

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