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The magazine was originally started as a pop song lyric magazine by Charlton Publications in 1942. Charlton sold off the magazine before the company went under in 1991. It is mentioned in the Guns N' Roses song "Get in the Ring", where it is criticized for "printin' lies instead of the things we [Guns N' Roses] said" and "rippin' off the fuckin' kids while they be paying their hard earned money to read about the bands they wanna know about, printin' lies, startin' controversy."
Bands frequently mentioned in Hit Parader were Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, David Bowie, Blue Öyster Cult, The Kinks, Three Dog Night, The Who, Cheap Trick, Kiss, and Van Halen. The magazine always featured song lyrics, album reviews (done most notably in Spinaddict, the reviews written by James Spina) interviews (mostly done by Lisa Robinson), Rik Emmett's Rocktoons (cartoons drawn by the Triumph guitarist and singer) as well as articles on concerts for bands that would soon be coming to town,fan mail, bits of trivia on popular rock acts, and humorous stories written by its reporters.
Hit Parader also releases many "Top 100" lists issues, such as "Top 100 Metal Bands", "Top 100 Guitarists", "Top 100 Vocalists", "Top 100 Bassists & Drummers" and so on.
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