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 Top 5 Fashion Anti-Heroes of the '80s

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PostSubject: Top 5 Fashion Anti-Heroes of the '80s   22.11.08 20:09

In a decade linked closely to fashion trends, many '80s artists were nothing but image while others overshadowed their music with the way they looked. So I thought it would be enlightening to take a look at the ones that most ignored fashion despite the potentially lucrative lure of image overload. Quite a few artists dressed worse than the following musical figures, but not many were more carelessly unconcerned than these fearless souls. And I say accolades have been denied them far too long.

1. Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams & Phil Rudd of AC/DC
Well, I can't lump the entire band into this assessment, as singer Brian Johnson has his little hat and guitarist Angus Young has his unmistakable schoolboy uniform. But the rest of these guys, who filled out the best post-Bon Scott version of the band (which actually did put out some pretty solid music during the early '80s), look more like stoned dudes in shop class than stoned dudes in shop class. That goes for the au natural long hair as well as the ratty tee-shirts and jeans that look like the kind of thing you might wake up in after a bender. The refreshing thing about AC/DC in general, schoolboy outfit notwithstanding, is that the bandmembers clearly could not care less about the fashion statements they do or do not make.

2. Foreigner
In terms of not caring how they look, these guys have gone triple platinum a few times over. Of course, this was even more true during the late '70s, when the band first burst on the scene as arena rock stars. I mean, Lou Gramm's not-by-design poodle hair was always pretty cringeworthy, but have you seen some '70s photos, when he had it especially long? It's actually quite amazing that Foreigner was able to make such a long-running mark on pop music given the group's fiercely Everyman look, but I suppose it's true that arena rock did not enforce high fashion standards. Let's just say that the band's trademark tee-shirt and jeans get-up made it scarcely necessary for Gramm to declare himself a Dirty White Boy.

3. Bryan Adams
Well, you have to hand it to Canadian pop/rocker Bryan Adams in at least this respect, even if you're reluctant to admit that a lot of his '80s music was pretty damn good: he certainly overcame a number of cosmetic issues to become one of the decade's biggest superstars. That's not to say he's an ugly dude who dressed like an Australian's nightmare or anything. It's just that how many '80s artists became huge stars even when they seemed to be trying as hard as possible to look almost defiantly ordinary (if such a thing is even possible). Adams' patented white tee-shirt, jeans and sneakers may have lacked flair, but that never seemed to hurt his record sales.

4. Bruce Hornsby
Though Bruce Hornsby can be forgiven for embracing such an unabashedly blue-collar look living in the Watertown of northeast Virginia (a major American shipping center), the singer-songwriter and pianist certainly didn't spend much time on wardrobe back during his mid-'80s emergence. Of course, the organic, heartland sound of his music made empty appeals to image consciousness pretty much unnecessary. That's the refreshing thing about music; all rules about what sells or what's popular or what's cool are truly made to be broken. Plus, if you can write songs as rewarding as "Every Little Kiss" and "On the Western Skyline," then who the hell cares what you're wearing?

5. Juice Newton
If Adams' disinterest in sprucing up for the camera was unusual, then country-pop crossover hitmaker Juice Newton occupies an even more remarkable niche among '80s artists. After all, women of that era could rarely forsake fashion in favor of just making music, which of course remains an active double standard to this day. Again, it's not that Newton was unattractive in the least, just that she wore the attitude convincingly and gracefully of someone who doesn't need to spend much time and energy in the stylist's chair and doesn't care to scrutinize too much what she wears on stage. This phenomenon was more common than we think during the decade of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, but it's never been commonplace.

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