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In the 1990s, the overnight sensation of grunge music and Nirvana rocked the music the world. Facing financial troubles in 1991, Charlton Publications inevitably sold Hit Parader in an attempt to raise money and declining readership demanded the guardians of heavy music make a change. Print focus shifted to larger color photos and shorter features, but discovery and tactically direct expressions of the harder sides of rock remained at the forefront.
Speaking on the new Hit Parader approach former editor Andy Secher recalls "I always sensed that people like (Robert) Christgau had to justify their existence by promoting the artistic aesthetics of the rock form. I've never taken any of this that seriously. Hit Parader isn't the New York Times … it's a frikkin' fanzine, and proud to be exactly that."
After 66 impressive years, spanning 7 decades of popular culture and traversing an ever-expanding music landscape that influenced multiple generations of Americans, Hit Parader finally shuttered its doors for good following publication of the final December 2008 issue.