Music Express entered the US market as the in-store magazine 1986-9 of the Musicland retail record chain. It assumed the name Rock Express 1986-8 and had a combined Canadian and US circulation that averaged 700,000, reaching 1 million for the Christmas 1987 issue. Music Express was distributed in the USA by other means after 1989. By 1991, circulation was reduced to 215,000. Editorial coverage was given over largely to rock and pop stars of the day, with columns for jazz, soul, and heavy metal, news reports from various cities, and record, concert, video, and book reviews. The parent company, Rock Express Communications, established in 1984, published the heavy metal magazine Metallion 1984-5 and introduced HMV Magazine (prepared for the HMV retail chain) in 1990.
In April 1992, the publication's parent company, Wembley Productions, was taken over by Allan Gregg. The publication was renamed Impact in 1993, but folded in 1996. Meanwhile, former editor Sharp joined forces with Q-107's nationally syndicated Rock Radio Network to launch ACCESS (first issue May 1994), a bi-monthly music magazine with increased emphasis on lifestyle, movies, home entertainment, fashion, travel, and sports. In 1996 Sharp became the publisher of the new magazine (by this time operating under the aegis of Trafalgar Productions), and Sean Plummer became the editor. As of 2004, ACCESS had a per-issue circulation of 150,000 copies via retail outlets for music and clothing chains, including HMV.
Author Bruce F. Mowat
Sharp, Keith. 'This heart of rock 'n' roll is still beating,' Music Express, vol 16, Oct 1991