When LIFE magazine's premiere issue hit newsstands on November 23, 1936, a star was born. With a simple red-and-white logo and distinctive, bold band anchoring its bottom edge, LIFE's cover was soon as recognizable an American icon as the spire of the Empire State Building. Across seven decades, LIFE's 2,000-plus covers not only captured pivotal people and momentous events, but again and again defined and even, in some cases, helped shape the times. Here, on the 75th anniversary of the magazine's debut, LIFE.com presents, in chronological order, the 75 most moving, most striking, most beautiful LIFE covers of all time, as chosen by the site's editors. (At the end of this gallery, you can dive into every single LIFE cover ever published -- all 2,237 of them -- and weigh in with your own favorites in the comments section below.) Above: LIFE's very first cover featured this heroic Margaret Bourke-White photograph of Montana's Fort Peck Dam.
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