There is a great Flickr set of old (and I mean old) Kerrang! covers which you can find over here. What I find interesting when I'm browsing through them are not the ones featuring Heavy Metal Royalty like AC/DC or Iron Maiden, but the ones that have you squinting your eyes, leaning forward and going "who's that? Aldo .... Nova ....who?"
I sort of remember Aldo Nova. I remember Kerrang! in 1982 pushing him as the next big thing from the US. Until they realised that Motley Crue were the sort of big things the States were going to produce, upon which Aldo Nova already seemed dated. Which is kind of impressive when you think about it.
Other curious cover stars included Baron Rojo, who made it onto the cover of No. 27 in October 21 - November 3, 1982. A fact that makes you suspect that the release schedule was a bit light on big names in October 21 - November 3, 1982. British headbangers in 1982 just weren't ready for a Spanish Heavy Metal band (though they were probably more receptive to the centrefold of Lee Aaron showing off her knockers while dressed in hooker chic). You'll notice that both of these issues had free flex discs; they weren't stupid.
Or maybe they were, because just two issues later they put Budgie on their cover. Budgie! In 1982!
I always thought Budgie were silly. Think I'm being unfair? OK, have a look at this and then this and come back. There, I'm glad we've got that settled. Budgie were on their last legs in 1982, but, to be fair that's not unusual when you look at the acts that made the cover in Kerrang!'s first year. In 1982, bands like Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and Rainbow were breathing their last. While even newer bands like Saxon, Motorhead, Iron Maiden and AC/DC had made their best albums (though some of those went on to be successful all the same). Kerrang!'s first year was remarkably backwards-looking. It's interesting that the magazine has survived so long.