Often I have pondered, when watching bands like Styx, Boston or Queen, just when rock musicians were at their ugliest. Certainly there was a moment when hair (both atop the head and facial) and clothes hit their simultaneous nadir, and rock stars looked as bad as they ever possibly could.
Chances were always good, I felt, that that point had occurred in the 1970s. MTV hadn’t launched yet, and use of hair products was limited to, at best, an occasional shampoo.
Well I’ve always felt that the 1980s really didn’t start until about 1982, or at least not until that fateful moment on August 1, 1981, when MTV launched with the Buggles’ (who were none too telegenic themselves) “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Therefore, according to my logic (plus the logic of math, if you happen to be one of those who celebrated the millennium a year later than everyone else), 1980 was, technically, still a part of the era known as “the ’70s.”
And now, with the recent release of some 1980 concert footage in a special CD/DVD repackaging of the Genesis classic, Duke, I have photographic proof that the fateful year that signified the dawn of a new and perhaps even more frightening decade (what with the election of one Ronald Wilson Reagan) was also the year at which rock star fashion truly reached its lowest imaginable point. Continue if you dare…
Exhibit A is one Phil Collins. As you can tell by his demeanor, he realizes how bad he looks. He’s not actually singing here; he’s desperately pleading with the audience for someone to, for the love of God, call a barber.
Here we have Exhibit B, the band’s touring guitarist, Daryl Stuermer. Judging by his ‘stache-n-‘fro combo, blinding yellow shirt, pleated white pants and the obligatory suspenders, he would fit in equally well as a sub with Kansas, Boston, Chicago, Asia, or any other band named after a place.
Exhibit C actually has nothing to do with my case for 1980 as the worst year in rock fashion, although I guess now that I stop to look at it, Phil’s Hawaiian shirt is rather loud. Mainly I just wanted to post this photo because I was in utter disbelief when I saw the mutilated head of his tambourine. How do you do that?!