Top 10 Best Hairdos in Rock ‘n Roll
Since its onset, ye olde rock n’ roll has had a huge influence on how folks look, both fashionably and follicularly. Here, in no particular order, are some of rock’s finest hairdos.
Jerry Lee Lewis
Known as “The Killer” for his assaultive style of playing the piano (or perhaps because of the way some of his wives ended up mysteriously dying on him), old Jer’ had him some crazy hair. I mean, today he has a shellacked helmet of hair (perhaps not even his own) that doesn’t move at all no matter how hard he yells at his illegal servants. But back in the day, oh shit. Whether he was playing on/stomping on his piano or marrying his cousin, he had the ‘do. Check this clip of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” from the early ’60s — likely the first recorded instance of “head banging” to music.
Elvis may have had the mainstream losing their minds about his hair. And the cooler cats in school at that time may have dug the Little Richard style or the Gene Vincent-inspired, manta ray-lookin’ deal. But if you met someone with an Esquerita hairstyle, that person was probably Esquerita himself.
Born in South Carolina across the street from Jesse Jackson in 1935, Esquerita (real name: Eskew Reeder, Jr.) was an obvious influence on Little Richard, whompin’ and a rockin’ on both piano keys and young eardrums. And he not only had the fashion sense of a god, he had a pompadour that was undeniably the first hi-top fade, later made noteworthy by Larry Blackmon of Cameo fame.
Wait. Hold on. Did you just ask “Why?” If you did, go choke yourself.
That Flock of Seagulls Guy
During the 1980s, the music powers that be further watered down punk rock and made it more non-threatening, trading in the leather, studs, and rebellion for neon colors, styling mousse, and foppish mewling. Add in a key-tar, call it “New Wave,” and poof! Cash money.
Luckily for us, there were the folks who took this new fashion just a bit too far…like the iconic Mr. Mike Score of A Flock of Seagulls fame. Would you look at that awesome quaff? (And as an aside, what’s up with the li’l dude on the right in this photo puffing out his chest? Ain’t he cute, being all tough…in A Flock of Seagulls?
The country music diva, Ms. Parton is well known and well respected for three things: her beautifully scripted and poetic music depicting honest, rural living with all its triumphs and downfalls…and the left one and the right one. She is also known to have some of the greatest wigs ever assembled. But back in the day when she was a co-hort of country and Western legend Porter Wagoner (who himself had some damn fine hair), Ms. Dolly was kickin’ some huge hair. Damn, girl! That ‘do is so large it has it’s own weather system. I believe the correct beauty salon term for her hairstyle is “super fucking awesome.”
Billy Preston collaborated, wrote, and played with “the Fab Four,” often referred to as “the fifth Beatle.” There has been some speculation by some as to whether Preston’s ‘fro was real. To those people: shut up. Now sit back and simply marvel at this video of Billy doing his tune “Nothing From Nothing.” Preston died in 2006, but his hair reportedly resides in a beachfront house in Sausalito, California.
Kid of Kid ‘n Play
Christopher “Kid” Reid was 50 percent of posi-pop/hip-hop duo Kid ‘n Play. Their upbeat rhymes and tight dance steps in the late ’80s and early ’90s led to a series of House Party movies and a Saturday morning cartoon that featured their track “Rollin’ with Kid ‘n Play” in the intro. But it was Kid’s high-top fade that got big props. And rightly so. I mean, you can sculpt that shit like cheese. Too hype.
Marky Ramone (real name: Marc Bell) gets the dubious distinction of receiving a very noteworthy award.
Back when the Ramones first hit the scene, they had some hair, and they kept it for as long as they were together. Marky came along to play drums after Tommy Ramone quit. Marky had his neo-shag mullet-type ‘do, and slapped skins for the Ramones until he was canned in 1983. He came back to the fold in 1987 and stayed until the band dissolved in ’96. But over the years there appeared to be a natural occurrence: it appears that Mr. Mark lost a sizeable portion of his hair. He then replaced it with what looked, at times, like a $3.99 wicked witch wig from the Halloween costume aisle at Walgreens.
So, for having a distinct and recognizable hairdo that morphed into a wig of the same style, we salute you, Marky, with the “Marky Ramone Then-and-Now, Same-but-Different Hair Replacement Award.”
Any “Metal” Band From the ’80s
Although there were many ’80s bands that were metal, there were many more that were “metal”: those that were simply and wrongly labeled as such because of their hair length. There were so many of those bands: Poison. Nitro. Cinderella. Winger. Tigertailz. Britny Fox (weren’t they actually Cinderella on their off days?). Tuff. Stryper.
…And the list goes on and on.
The little guy who invented the “Wall of Sound” production styling is currently serving 19 years in the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson back in 2003. While he was on trial for the murder, he arrived in court with several different and outrageous heads of hair. Not until his mugshots were released did we get to see his actual head of almost-hair.
There are close to a billion noteworthy musician hairstyles that have existed since the birth of the term “rock ‘n roll.” Some were cool as hell and always will be. Some were cool during the three minutes the music video was on TV, only to never be seen again. Either way, they are all pretty great.
So what’s your call? Pick one I missed. I’ll be over here, waiting to grow back my devil lock.