October 1966 (Hullabaloo);|
March 1969 (Circus)
|Final issue||May 2006|
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, but by 1977 that venture had been abandoned.
Gerald Rothberg originally put together the magazine under the name Hullabaloo in 1966 (23 issues), before changing the name to Circus in 1969. Since then he has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of the magazine. 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. 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 the magazine was attacked in the Guns n' Roses song "Get in the Ring".