Nobody's perfect. Over the course of 40 years, we've missed the target. Come along with us now, as we look back in agony at 11 of our most hare-brained covers -- the ones that were universally rejected by you, the readers. For whatever reason an issue failed to please you, we can only apologize with our standard line: "We must have been high!"
COW FLOP (August 1978)
Tom Forcade, the founder of HIGH TIMES, wanted to draw attention to alternative energy. Our cover was an image only a dairy farmer could love -- cattle and windmills. As for the alternative energy angle, you figure it out.
UNKNOWN SUPERSTAR (March 2004)
When the hottest comedian on the planet agrees to be on the cover, you celebrate. That is, until you decide to obscure Dave Chapelle's face with a flag and try to make the issue about race relations, rather than comedy and pot.
JAGGER'S ARMPIT (June 1980)
You set up a photo shoot with Mick Jagger. You spend a fortune on a photographer and a stylist and whatnot. Then, when you're all finished, you decide to put Mick's underarm on the cover. You can't always get what you want.
VIRTUAL BOMB (November 1991)
What kind of cover entices readers? How about a guy with a big, high-tech mask that covers half of his face? What's he looking at? We don't know; he's in cyberspace. But whatever it is, it's gotta be cool, right? Check out the psychedelic static. That's radical! Virtual reality is great! Look at that guy's face! He's having the time of his life! Wow. That looks really cool. Really, really cool. Yawn.
NO THANKS (July 1983)
This cover warned readers that if you buy pot, serious shit can happen. The terrifying prospect of getting 40 years for eight ounces is not the best advertisement for a magazine that celebrates marijuana use.
OUR WORST ENEMIES (June 1992)
To really score points, splash the two organizations that your readers fear most and announce that they covered up the knowledge of the bombing of PanAm Flight 103 over the skies of Lockerbie, Scotland. If you wanted to kill your buzz, this was the issue.
ADIOS! (August 1994)
HIGH TIMES has been covering the ongoing unrest in Mexico for years. But when a masked Subcommander Marcos, leader of the Zapatista revolution in Chiapas, appeared on our cover in full battle regalia, somehow readers knew that this story wasn't about cultivation.
SPENT DOCTORS (October 1994)
Rock'n'roll is a cruel world. You may have a monster, smash-hit album today, but chances are you'll be history tomorrow. The Spin Doctors weren't a bad group. Unfortunately, we caught them on their downward spiral, when they were already playing amusement parks.
FASHION MISTAKE (December 1984)
We chose two androgynous Japanese nerds in clothes that nobody wanted to wear and called the issue "Wild Style." Then we confounded our readers with the worst cover line in the history of the magazine: "Global Trends in Music Fashion Politics." Huh?
BRAIN DEAD (October 1991)
The cover read: "This Is Your Brain on Drugs. Any Questions?" Actually, yes. What is that thing? Maybe it's a brain. But it could be a squashed grape or a Kool-Aid spill. No one could tell.
THE TOILET ((January 1984)
We're in this business. We're supposed to know these things. A toilet on the cover of a magazine is not the most inviting image -- even if it is a grow niche. Guess where sales went.