Hair, Leather, And Rock And Roll: What Bad-Boy Legends Look Like Today

Idolator Staff | December 17, 2019 6:02 pm

Rock gods of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s attracted millions of screaming fans. Even today those loyal will still line up to see a performance. It wasn’t just the music that attracted them. It was also the musicians’ bad-boy personas and good looks. Did rockin’ out so hard night after night affect their looks?

Consider Cure singer Robert Smith. He went from being a Gothic teddy bear to a frightening version of Edward Scissorhands. And David Lee Roth still thinks its 1970, even though he should have hung up the mic a long time ago. Take a look at these rock legends to see how their looks fared over the years.

Axl Rose Welcomed Everyone To The Jungle

Axl Rose Welcomed Everyone To The Jungle
Paul Natkin/Getty Images
Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Guns N’ Roses is arguably one of the most popular hard rock bands to come out of the ’80s. Leading the charge with his powerful vocals was none other than Axl Rose, co-founder and dream-boat of the band. Their first album, Appetite for Destruction, still holds the record for the best-selling debut album of all time, selling more than 18 million copies.

After you get over the angst behind the lyrics and the many guitar riffs, you’re left watching a ridiculously attractive guy on stage doing what he did best. It definitely didn’t hurt that Axl had the long-hair rock-legend thing going for him! Too bad he couldn’t stay young forever.

Someone Should Tell Axl Rose It’s No Longer The ’80s

Someone Should Tell Axl Rose It's No Longer The 80s
Jeffrey A. Camarati/Getty Images
Jeffrey A. Camarati/Getty Images

Axl Rose, along with the original Guns N’ Roses lineup, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 but did not attend the ceremony. Rose even went as far as writing that the ceremony “doesn’t appear to be somewhere I’m actually wanted or respect,” speaking of his falling out with his former bandmates.

Thankfully, all of the bad blood was forgotten, and in 2016 it was announced that the band was getting back together for a 21-city North American tour. Too bad that Rose thought it was a good idea to dress the same as he did in the ’80s. Sigh.

U2 Was Lucky to Have Bono

U2 Was Lucky to Have Bono
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Peter Noble/Redferns

The powerful lyrics and vocals of Bono helped make U2 one of the biggest rock bands in the world. When the Irish band first started off, they typically sang about political and social injustices while using religious imagery. The themes reflected Bono and the other band members as people, as they are well known for their activism as well as their rebellious yet spiritual beliefs.

It’s no surprise that Bono was considered to be one of the most attractive rock gods of the ’70s and ’80s. He had the Lost Boys vampire hairstyle going on, along with his smolder while singing. It was a deadly combination.

Now, Bono Looks Like The Evil Guy From Oliver Twist

Now, Bono Looks Like The Evil Guy From Oliver Twist
Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images
Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images

After landing in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and winning 22 Grammy Awards, Bono didn’t slow down. U2 is still going strong, with Bono doing some project on the side, including the establishment of EDUN, a socially responsible clothing line, with his wife Ali Hewson. In 2007, Bono was even made an honorary knight of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

Unfortunately, nowadays, Bono looks a bit more like a rock dad who has one too many stories for his kids. But as long as he keeps making music and gracing us with his brilliance, he’ll always look like the rock legend of his younger years.

With the ’60s Came Mick Jagger

The 60s Brought Us Mick Jagger
Michael Putland/Getty Images
Michael Putland/Getty Images

Rolling Stones lead singer, Mick Jagger, has been described as “one of the most popular and influential frontmen in the history of rock & roll.” Jagger has one of those distinctive voices that allowed him to climb the ladder in the entertainment industry.

Put Keith Richards next to him, and you have an unstoppable rock band that owned the ’60s music scene. Then, tack on the long hair and the British accent, and you have a heartthrob rock legend! It’s too bad the band look didn’t follow him into his later years.

Mick Jagger Has a Few More Wrinkles Now

Mick Jagger Has a Few More Wrinkles Now
Rich Fury/Getty Images
Rich Fury/Getty Images

Mick Jagger has been rocking out since the ’60s, so a little over half a century! To say he doesn’t know the industry front and back would be a lie. This past decade has especially been hectic for the Rolling Stones frontman. He put together a new group, SuperHeavy, and even performed at the White House concert series in 2012.

Jagger is still rockin’ the socks off everyone who attends a Rolling Stones concert, so we can let it slide that he doesn’t look like he did way back when. At least he realized he’s not 20 and cut his long hair!

David Lee Roth Was A Dreamboat

David Lee Roth Was A Dreamboat
Chris Walter/WireImage
Chris Walter/WireImage

Lead singer, songwriter, and all-around bad-boy, David Lee Roth is best known for being the frontman of the hard rock group, Van Halen. The band found success in the late ’70s, after being signed by Warner Bros. producer Ted Templeman and releasing their debut album, Van Halen. With Roth’s vocals and Eddie Van Halen’s music, the band was unstoppable for nearly seven straight years.

That is, until their creative differences got in the way and Roth left. It was reported that while Van Halen wanted to write more in-depth songs, Roth wanted to keep their party image. He, along with his ’80s rock-god looks, ended up leaving the band in 1985.

At Least David Lee Roth Now Wears A Shirt

At Least David Lee Roth Now Wears A Shirt
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Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic

Roth had a solo career for almost a decade, briefly returning as the frontman of Van Halen in 1996 to record a few songs. That year, “Me Wise Magic,” a psychedelic-influenced rock sound with Roth on lead vocals, became a number one Billboard‘ Mainstream Rock hit. But he didn’t stay with the band. Instead, he continued on his own path.

Today, Roth has a nine-day solo residency at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino House in Las Vegas. It’s been reported that he will play all of the “big hits” but doesn’t mention who will back him. Is there a Van Halen reunion in the future?

David Coverdale Had The Ultimate Rocker Look

David Coverdale Had The Ultimate Rocker Look
Ebet Roberts/Redferns
Ebet Roberts/Redferns

If you look up “rock legend style of the ’70s and ’80s” in the dictionary, a picture of David Coverdale might be there. He had long, curly hair, paired with tight clothing — standard rocker attire. Coverdale started his music career with the band Deep Purple, moving on to the band he is most know for, Whitesnake, in 1978.

Ironically, Whitesnake was originally a touring band that helped promote Coverdale’s solo album. It later turned into a full-fledged band, with the release of their first EP Snakebite. In 1991,Coverdale disbanded the group indefinitely, saying he wanted “private time to reflect.”

David Coverdale Is Almost Unrecognizable As A Rock God

David Coverdale Looks More
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

As most famous rock bands end up doing, the group got back together. They reunited for an American and European tour in December 2002, led by Coverdale. Afterward, the band continued to tour, even as musicians continuously rotated in and out of the lineup there was one person that stayed constant, Coverdale.

Apparently no one told him that he should think about cutting his hair. Even though he can still belt as if he were a 20-year-old in an old man suit, the rock legend hairstyle is doing nothing for him. Embrace your age, David! You’d think someone at his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction would say something!

Mick Taylor Was The Blonde Haired Boy Next Door

Mick Taylor Was The Blonde Haired Boy Next Door
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Oh, Mick Taylor, the dreamy guitarist of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, had it all going for him. He had the rock god look, the talent, and the recognition to have the Rolling Stones come after him once his other band broke up.

That’s right, this rocker played with the Bluesbreakers until 1969, quickly jumping at the chance to join the Rolling Stones on some of their more classic albums, including Let It Bleed, Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert, Sticky Fingers, and Exile on Main St. Guns N’ Roses guitarist, Slash, has even stated that Taylor was a huge influence on his style!

Mick Taylor Has Seen Better Days

Mick Taylor Could Think about Cutting Back On The Donuts
Hairball/iorr.org
Hairball/iorr.org

Today, Mick Taylor has unfortunately grown up, and with it, his looks. But that doesn’t mean his talents gone! Since leaving the Rolling Stones in 1974, Taylor has worked with various other artists, such as Bob Dylan, and released solo albums. But the Stones weren’t quite finished with his magical guitar skills.

In 2012 and 2013, Taylor agreed to tour with the Rolling Stones for their 50th-Anniversary shows in London and Newark as well as their 50 & Counting World Tour. In 2011, Rolling Stones magazine ranked Taylor as the 37th greatest guitarist of all time. Who needs long flowy locks to be a guitar god?!

Rick Springfield Had People Wanting To Be Jessie’s Girl

Rick Springfield Had People Wanting To Jessie's Girl
Paul Natkin/Getty Images
Paul Natkin/Getty Images

In the ’80s, Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” landed him a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. His melodic voice paired with his heartthrob rock legend good looks had fans wishing they were, in fact, Jessie’s girl (whoever that may be because he never says). He followed up with four more top 10 U.S. hits.

With his good looks, Springfield had everything going for him in the ’80s and ’90s, including acting jobs. He played Dr. Noah Drake on the daytime soap opera General Hospital and also starred in the television series High Tide. It seems as though the television networks knew what was “in style.”

Rick Springfield Is A Silver Fox

Rick Springfield Is A Silver Fox
Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Rick Springfield took care of himself, giving him a silver fox rock legend sort of vibe. He’s still going strong with his music and acting careers, releasing an album in 2018 called the Snake King. The track was a bit different from his previous country style, going for more of a blues sound.

Because he still has his dreamy good looks, Springfield has been gracing both the big and small screens. He’s been involved in a few critically acclaimed television shows, including True Detective, American Horror Story, and Supernatural. Most recently he played himself on a YouTube original series, Sideswiped.

The Prince Of Goth: Robert Smith

The Prince Of Goth: Robert Smith
Paul Natkin/Wire Image
Paul Natkin/Wire Image

Robert Smith was the lead singer of the Cure and pretty much the Gothic poster boy for every ’80s girl who wore black as a second skin. Smith’s on-stage persona consisted of heavy black eye-makeup, red lipstick, crazy hair, and, of course, the statement clothing that was part of ’80s goth subculture.

Ironically, Smith never intended to become to lead singer of the Cure. Instead, he was in the background playing the piano, guitar, and writing songs. It wasn’t until the band had gone through five different singers that Smith finally took a chance at the mic. The rest, as they say, is history.

Robert Smith Needs To Ditch The Crazy Hair And Makeup

Robert Smith Needs To Ditch The Crazy Hair And Makeup
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Today, Robert Smith looks more like a deranged Edward Scissorhands than a gothic rock legend. And that’s saying something, considering Edward is literally an animated human being. Ironically, Tim Burton actually approached the band regarding a soundtrack for the 1990 film Edward Scissorhands, even going as far as using Smith’s iconic look as inspiration for Edward.

Although he’s not touring anymore, Smith still contributes to other artists’ tracks, including “There’s a Girl in the Corner,” by the Twilight Sad. Because of his brilliance and contribution to the world of rock and roll, in 2019, Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

George Michael Had The Blow-Out Of Most Girls’ Dreams

George Michael Had The Blow Out Of Most Girls Dreams
Michael Putland/Getty Images
Michael Putland/Getty Images

George Michael had everything going for him: the looks, the smooth singing voice that caressed you, and the fame. Michael rose to popularity as one of two members of the English duo, Wham! The ’80s rock legend sold over 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of the time.

The 80s and 90s were the peaks of Michael’s music career. His first solo single “Careless Whisper” even reached number one in over 20 countries. He was even lucky enough to sing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” a duet with Sir Elton John.

George Michael’s Looks Followed Him Into Adulthood

George Michael's Looks Followed Him Into Adulthood
MJ Kim/Getty Images
MJ Kim/Getty Images

On December 25, 2016, George Michael passed away in his sleep at the young age of 53. Before his death, Michael was doing what he could to give back, particularly with philanthropic work within the LGBTQ community. But that doesn’t mean he gave up touring or playing music.

Michael released albums up until 2014, Symphonica being his last and seventh solo number one album in the UK. People will remember George Michael for his contributions to music, as well as his easy smile, activist ways, and the beautiful tributes that other artists have made in his name.

Tommy Lee Was All About The Girls, Girls, Girls

Tommy Lee Was All About The Girls, Girls, Girls
Icon and Image/Getty Images
Icon and Image/Getty Images

Mötley Crüe founder, drummer, and overall bad-boy, Tommy Lee, was a force to be reckoned with during the hard rock scene of the ’80s. Lee had that tattooed hard-rock vibe going for him, which made his female fanbase swoon. Nothing was stopping this band once they were signed. They were releasing hit albums one after the other throughout the entire decade, including Shout at the Devil; Girls, Girls, Girls; and Dr. Feelgood.

Known for his gimmicks while onstage, such as having his drum kit float above the crowd while he’s still playing, Lee had everything going for him. He was living his best life withMötley Crüe.

Tommy Lee’s Been In And Out Of Jail

Tommy Lee's Been In And Out Of Jail
Jim Dyson/Getty Images
Jim Dyson/Getty Images

Since his wild time withMötley Crüe, Tommy Lee has been in and out of courts and jails and has been in several marriages. It seems as though that rocker lifestyle caught up with him. Thankfully, he does have redeeming qualities. Lee is a supporter of PETA and animal rights, even going as far as writing a letter asking SeaWorld to release Tilikum.

Lee has also been joining other popular rock bands on tour, including the Smashing Pumpkins. In 2014, Lee joined the rest of his former band for a final farewell tour, with each of the members signing a legal document preventing them from touring underMötley Crüe moniker.

Billy Joel Is One Of The Best-Selling Musicians Of All Time

Billy Joel Is One Of The Best-Selling Musicians Of All Time
Frank Lennon/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Frank Lennon/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Billy Joel, aka “Piano Man,” has had everything going for him since the ’70s. He’s had a mega-successful solo career and is considered to be one of the best-selling music artists of all time, as well as the sixth best-selling recording artist and third best-selling solo artist in the U.S.

When you sell 150 million records worldwide, there is no stopping a tour schedule. The rock god has been on the road since his debut album in 1971 and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to be stopping anytime soon, even though he isn’t recording anymore.

No Matter His Looks, Billy Joel Will Always Be The Piano Man

No Matter His Looks, Billy Joel Will Always Be The Piano Man
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Even though he hasn’t released an album since 2001, Billy Joel is still on the move and touring around the world. Although he’s since lost his gorgeous ’70s hair, there is no shortage of talent. He can still play the piano with the best of them, and his voice will always be something to marvel over.

Aside from music, Joel has perused other ventures. In 2011, he was going to release an autobiography, detailing his life and failed marriage with Christie Brinkley. Ultimately, he canceled the book. But don’t worry, if you’re interested in the rocker’s life, look to Fred Schruers’ biography, Billy Joel.

Paul Stanley, AKA, The Starchild

Paul Stanley, AKA, The Starchild
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.com
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.com

The co-lead singer of the rock band KISS, Paul Stanley was quite a looker once all of the black and white Starchild face paint was washed off. He was the co-writer of many of the band’s hit singles and is considered to be one of the top metal vocalists of all time.

In his book, Gene Simmons says that Stanley was the driving force for KISS during the ’80s. He had an energy about him that made him magnetic, not to mention the vocals and stage presence to back it up!

Paul Stanley Had A Lot Of Plastic Surgery

Paul Stanley Should Have Laid Off The Plastic Surgery
John Parra/Getty Images)
John Parra/Getty Images)

Paul Stanley and the rest of KISS have been performing together since the ’70s, with their last concert coming up in a few years. Between recording new material and touring, Stanley has had many different surgeries. A few being for his hips, which Stanley chalks up to all the years he performed on platform shoes.

Today, Stanley looks a bit less like the Starchild of the ’70s and ’80s and more like he’s permanently startled. At least the band still uses all of the face makeup on tour.

Richie Sambora Was The 2nd Hottest Guy In Bon Jovi

Richie Sambora Was The 2nd Hottest Guy in Bon Jovi
Kevin.Mazur/INACTIVE/Getty Images
Kevin.Mazur/INACTIVE/Getty Images

When you’re the lead guitarist for Bon Jovi, there is nothing you can do but sit back and be labeled the second-hottest guy in the band. Richie Sambora joined Bon Jovi after attending one of their concerts and being impressed with their style. Soon after, Jovi hired him as their guitarist.

Sambora was part of one of THE prominent rock bands on the east coast during the ’80s, staying with Bon Jovi for 30 years. He was cool, good looking, had a charming smile, and played guitar in a band — what more could a guy ask for?

Now, Richie Sambora Is Trying To Rock His Guitar And A Mullet

Now, Richie Sambora Is Trying To Rock His Guitar And A Mullet
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Richie Sambora left Bon Jovi during their 2013 “Because We Can” tour, stating that he wanted to spend more time with his family and watch his daughter grow up. He has only played with Bon Jovi once after his resignation, at the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 2018.

Since leaving Bon Jovi, Sambora has released various solo records and even formed the duo RSO alongside Orianthi. Although he is still making waves in the music industry, someone needs to tell him that the weird mullet wannabe hair he’s got going on right now isn’t working these days.

Vince Neil Had That ‘Too Cool For School’ Persona

Vince Neil Had That Too Cool For School Persona
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

As the lead vocalist for the ’80s heavy metal band Mötley Crüe, Vince Neil had a lot going for him. And it didn’t hurt that he had the bad-boy, bleached hair, sleazy attitude thing going for him. Hey, it’s what worked back in the days of heavy rock music.

Neil joined the band in 1981, after Tommy Lee, the drummer, vouched for him — they were friends in high school. From there, Mötley Crüe took off, thanks to the vocals and frontman performance given by Neil. He went on to perform with the band as well as record some solo albums.

Vince Neil Might Want To Think About Ditching The Blonde Hair

Vince Neil Needs To Ditch The Blonde Hair
David Wolff – Patrick/Redferns via Getty Images
David Wolff – Patrick/Redferns via Getty Images

Stereotypically, when you’re a bad-boy rocker, you’re bound to get into some legal troubles. To say Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil has had some run-ins with the law throughout his life would be an understatement. The last time he was in a courtroom was 2019.

It doesn’t help his case that he now looks like a version of Kid Rock. It’s time to dye your hair a normal color, Vince. There’s something to be said about a famous musician who is almost as well-known for his hectic personal life and multiple arrest than his music.

Billy Idol Was Part Of The Second British Invasion

Billy Idol Was Part Of The Second British Invasion
Roberta Bayley/Redferns
Roberta Bayley/Redferns

Billy Idol first achieved fame as a member of Generation X, a punk rock band out of London during the 1970s. After leaving the band in 1981, Idol embarked on a solo career, leading him to international recognition during the “Second British Invasion” in the United States.

With his punk-like images and glam rock style, Idol was living it up in the U.S. rock scene. His popularity continued to grow in other countries, with the release of the album Rebel Yell. Needless to say, Idol had everything and more going for him during the ’80s, including spikey platinum blonde hair.

Today: Platnium Blonde Spikes And Fake Tan

Billy Idol Should Lose The Platinum Blonde Spikes And Fake Tan
Mike Windle/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
Mike Windle/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Even though he is in fairly decent shape for someone of his age, Billy Idol’s partying ways have definitely caught up to him. It might help if he laid off the spray tanning and boxed hair dye, considering he is still touring and making public appearances!

In 2018, along with former Generation X member Tony Jones and former Sex Pistols Steve Jones and Paul Cook, he performed a free concert at the Roxy in Hollywood, California. The four rockers used the name Generation Sex and played a combined set of the two bands’ material.