Astounding Science Fiction was brought into being when the pulp-magazine publisher William Clayton suggested to one of his editors, Harry Bates, the idea of a new monthly magazine of period-adventure stories. Bates counter-proposed a magazine to be called Astounding Stories of Super-Science. The idea was accepted, and the first issue appeared in December 1929.

Whilst the few earlier sf magazines attempted a more austere respectability in response to Hugo Gernsback's desire to communicate an interest in science through Scientifiction, Astounding was unashamedly an action-adventure pulp magazine where "science" was present only to add a veneer of plausibility to its outrageous melodramas. The covers of the Clayton Astounding, all the work of H. W. Wesso, show, typically, men (or women) menaced by giant insects or giant apes.

In 1938, John W. Campbell, Jr became editor and Astounding's leadership of the field continued through the 1940s. Most of its regular authors had popular series to reinforce their appeal: Isaac Asimov's Robot and Foundation stories; A. E. van Vogt's Weapon Shops tales and his two Null-A novels; George O. Smith's Venus Equilateral stories; Jack Williamson's Seetee stories; Clifford D. Simak's City stories; and E. E. Smith's epic Lensman series.

Throughout his editorship of Astounding, Campbell felt the title of the magazine was too "sensational" or "juvenile" to reflect what it was actually doing. He addressed this as far back as 1946 by de-emphasizing the word "Astounding", printing it in narrow script above the bold words "SCIENCE FICTION". However, this was not enough, and he renamed the magazine Analog in 1960.

Sources: SFE and wikipedia